Pease Elementary school, which closed after the 2019-20 school year, will be renovated to offer the community an early childhood education center at 1106 Rio Grande St., Austin.

Austin ISD will work with United Way for Greater Austin and enter into a 10-year lease, allowing the organization to utilize the former school and provide affordable child care for up to 120 students ages 6 months to 5 years old.

The board of trustees unanimously approved the agreement during a board meeting Aug. 31.

The district’s goals for repurposing the site, which was registered as a Texas Historic Landmark in 2013, include:
  • Honoring the history of the Pease site
  • Providing access to affordable child care to district staff
  • Preparing students for kindergarten
  • Supporting parents seeking and maintaining employment
  • Providing a need for employees due to a shortage
  • Supporting enrollment growth
Zooming in

The center will take families' needs into account and offer equity-based pricing. Students will be considered based upon:
  • Caregiver’s employment with AISD
  • Child’s likelihood of future AISD enrollment
  • Child’s age
  • Caregiver’s employment status
  • Caregiver’s income
  • Education attainment
  • Family residence
  • If the family is experiencing homelessness
Funding for renovating the school and reopening it as an early childhood education center is being raised by United Way. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin also secured initial approval for $3 million toward the facility.

The facility is anticipated to open in fall 2024, but the timeline is subject to change, said David Smith, CEO of United Way for Central Austin, at a press conference Sept 1.

Quote of note

“Somebody, particularly women, who bear most of the burden for child care, can't afford to go to work if it costs as much as they're earning to provide quality child care," Doggett said Sept. 1. “Here as a place to have affordable child care to add to the retention of teachers and staff AISD.”

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