Austin ISD ends agreement with nonprofit running Mendez Middle School

If the school's rating from the state does not improve in the 2022-2023 school year, it could face closure or the school board could be replaced by the state. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
If the school's rating from the state does not improve in the 2022-2023 school year, it could face closure or the school board could be replaced by the state. (Courtesy Austin ISD)

If the school's rating from the state does not improve in the 2022-2023 school year, it could face closure or the school board could be replaced by the state. (Courtesy Austin ISD)

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.
By Maggie Quinlan

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Maggie joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July 2021 after a year spent covering crime, courts and politics at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, near the border with Idaho. In Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, Maggie covers education, business, healthcare, transportation, real estate development and nonprofits. Prior to CI, she graduated from Washington State University, where she was managing editor of the student newspaper and a section editor at her hometown newspaper based in Moscow, Idaho. Maggie dreamed of living in the Austin area for years and feels honored to serve the communities of Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs.