Austin ISD has announced two opportunities for the public to provide feedback on school namesakes and the possible renaming of campuses. The announcement, which was made Wednesday morning, follows a lively debate on Monday in which trustees debated the significance of community input in the process to rename five schools associated with Confederate soldiers and officials.
Trustee Ann Teich was particularly critical of verbiage in the district’s renaming policy that gives the board final authority on school name changes.
“If it is ultimately our decision, let’s just wipe out the community engagement piece,” she said during the meeting. “Does this board want to take full responsibility of naming and renaming schools? Do we want to dictate or collaborate?”
According to the press release, these two additional opportunities for input are part of an ongoing engagement process the district began last September when the possibility of renaming the campuses first surfaced. The “facilitated discussions” will allow participants to speak openly while also hearing diverse perspectives and concerns, the release said. The historical context behind school names will also be shared.
The meetings are not, however, meant to give feedback on specific campus names, the district said.
Here’s how to provide input:
- Feb. 20, 6-7:30 p.m. at Austin Community College Eastview Campus Auditorium, 3401 Webberville Road, Austin
- Feb. 22, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church Gymnasium, 200 W. Anderson Lane, Austin
Dinner will be served, and child care and interpretation service will be provided. Community members can also provide input online at www.austinisd.org/naming.