Residents ask Austin ISD for high school land purchase in Southwest Austin

Southwest Austin residents addressed the Austin ISD board of trustees at its May 28 meeting, asking trustees to move forward with a land purchase in Southwest Austin for the site of a new comprehensive high school.



In 2008, voters approved $32 million in bond funds for a land purchase for the site of a proposed high school in south Austin. In 2013 AISD held community meetings about academic programming for the school—a decision that must be made before the district can build a campus.



Currently, Bowie High School is operating with about 500 more students than it should have at its campus, said Dee Dee Wood, representing a new group called Southwest Austin Citizens for Education.



"I think we can all agree that there is one primary goal for the new south high school—to relieve overcrowding at both Bowie and Akins [High School]," she said. "A school placed west of Bowie will in fact relieve both schools. Anything east of Bowie will only provide relief to Akins due to only a very limited boundary east of Bowie that could feasibly be moved."



Wood also said choosing to build a multi-story school instead of the traditional sprawling campus would require less land to be purchased.



Fellow Southwest Austin resident Britta Kingsmore suggested a half-day career and technical education, or CTE, center could be established at the currently under-enrolled Crockett High School campus. Students from the surrounding south high schools could visit Crockett's campus for two of the eight courses they take each semester, with the other six core courses taken at their home campuses, she said.



"I believe this sharing model could be enacted very quickly and simply using the CTE programs already in place at Crockett, and additional programs could be phased in over time. This would be an excellent solution which could work quickly until the longer-term solution of a new southwest high school can occur," she said.



At the district's May 19 meeting, some Austinites said a high school should be built in southeast Austin instead, specifically in the Dove Springs area.



"We recognize that there are needs across South Austin; however, when you look at the [district's facility master plan], only the southwest is listed as having high school populations expected to rise at an accelerated rate—a much higher rate than any other high school in all of Austin," Wood said.



Interim Superintendent Paul Cruz said the district is preparing to establish a new website to keep community members updated on the south high school, per trustee Robert Schneider's suggestion earlier this month.



"We do have the information that we're going to upload; it will be up no later than Friday of this week," Cruz said. "What we will do is we will upload all of the information that we have. That will include the work of the south high school planning team and any information done around surveys and PowerPoints."



Cruz said the south high school page will be added to the main website, and a search for "South Austin high school" should bring up the page.



The south Austin high school is slated to be among the topics discussed at the board's next work session, scheduled for June 2. More information and materials, including the presentation and a demographic report, are at www.austinisd.org.

By Kelli Weldon
Kelli joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter and has been covering Southwest Austin news since July 2012. She was promoted to editor of the Southwest Austin edition in April 2015. In addition to covering local businesses, neighborhood development, events, transportation and education, she is also the beat reporter covering the Travis County Commissioners Court.


MOST RECENT

The mid-June East Sixth Street shooting has prompted responses from city police, EMS and government officials. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sixth Street fatal shooting leads to renewed discussions of public safety staffing, gun violence prevention in Austin

Increased police staffing, improved EMS availability, and state or federal action on gun violence prevention are among the proposals floated in the wake of the weekend shooting.

Plans to move forward with the design of a new Travis County women's jail have been postponed indefinitely. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County pauses plans to build new women's jail

Commissioners voted unanimously to postpone any design or construction of new jail facilities for at least a year while staff re-evaluate the Travis County correctional system's needs.

Joseph Chacon, interim chief of the Austin Police Department, gives an update on Austin's recent move into the second phase of Proposition B camping ban enforcement June 15 alongside Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey and City Manager Spencer Cronk. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Proposition B enforcement shifts from education to warnings

Austin officials on June 15 provided an update on enforcement and outreach work by city staff and the Austin Police Department with the second phase of Proposition B camping ban enforcement now underway.

Candlewood Suites Northwest Austin
Williamson County declines lawsuit against Austin over Candlewood Suites saga—for now

Williamson County did not hold a vote to file a lawsuit against the city of Austin over the contentious Candlewood Suites property in Northwest Austin.

Photo of Moderna vaccine vials on a table
50% of Travis County residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Travis County has reached a milestone in COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a call for Texans to conserve energy June 14. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy with generation outages 2.5 times higher than normal

"This is unusual for this early in the summer season," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, in a news release.

Austin moved into its second phase of Proposition B ordinance enforcement June 13 and began working to move some campers around City Hall on June 14. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Police Department clears tents around City Hall

The city began issuing written warnings June 13 in its second phase of enforcing criminal penalties for camping in public.

UT Austin football stadium filled with fans
In Austin and the rest of the nation, the business of college sports is changing

If Gov. Greg Abbott signs SB 1325 into law, Texas will join a number of other U.S. states in allowing college athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses.

Lingering symptoms, long-term impact of COVID-19 will take time to fully understand

Dr. Mary Katherine Theoktisto answers questions regarding the virus.

Salvation Pizza, opening in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport June 16, is one of several new pizza options in the Austin area. (Courtesy Salvation Pizza)
Pie chart: See a map of 11 new, coming-soon pizza options in the Austin area

New spots include Above Ground Pizza opening in New Bruanfels after several permitting delays and Salvation Pizza feeding travelers at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin City Council members finalized their spending plan for the federal stimulus dollars before adjourning for their summer recess that will stretch to late July. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin will dedicate $100M in federal stimulus funds to combating homelessness over two years

In one of their last detailed discussions before their summer break, council members secured funding for several of their individual priorities alongside homelessness allocations.