Austin ISD has moved to end its partnership with a nonprofit that has been running Mendez Middle School in Southeast Austin since 2018.

The district’s board of trustees voted unanimously Dec. 16 to terminate the agreement with Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Coalition, or T-STEM Coalition, which has been managing the in-district charter.

The Texas Education Agency has consistently rated the school poorly. If Mendez Middle School receives another low rating from state for the 2022-2023 school year, the state could close Mendez or replace Austin ISD’s elected board with a board of managers selected by the state agency.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said during a community meeting Dec. 15 that the district will have a few options after the partnership with T-STEM ends at the end of the school year. Austin ISD could run the school itself or another partner could run it as an in-district charter.

The district could also turn the three-grade-level middle school into a junior high, serving only the seventh and eighth grades, Elizalde said Dec. 15. Elizalde wants the district to decide the path forward ahead of this year's spring break, she said at the community event.