The Austin Chronicle

https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2009-07-22/813562/

Community Wants Pearce in '09

By Richard Whittaker, July 22, 2009, 12:31pm, Newsdesk

The Pearce Middle School community has spoken, and it overwhelmingly backs re-opening the school this year.

The results of the survey from last week's community meeting on the endangered school, plus the online response, show overwhelming support for re-opening Pearce this year. The plan that got the most backing was option two, which calls for Superintendent Meria Carstarphen to work on a new plan directly with Commissioner of Education Robert Scott. As Carstarphen herself said at last week's public forum, those kind of negotiations can look worryingly like secret deals to some people, but she hopes to have a working plan by the AISD Board of Trustees' August 3 meeting.

Here's the total stats:

Option 1 – Use the old refinement and realignment plan as a repurposing proposal: 13% (59 respondees)

Option 2 – Let Carstarphen start direct negotiations with TEA on a repurposing plan for 2009-10: 58% (262)

Option 3 – Leave Pearce closed this year, come back in 2010 with new plan: 21% (94)

Option 4 – Request a records review: 4% ( 17)

Option 5 – Look at other, community generated options: 4% (18)

Total respondees: 450

Full press release after the break.

Parents, Students, Staff, and Community Provided Survey Results on School’s Future — Survey Shows Strong Community Support for Discussions Between Superintendent and Education Commissioner on Repurposing Proposal for Pearce Middle School

Austin School District officials today released preliminary survey results from the Community Meeting that was held Wednesday, July 15, at Pearce Middle School. The survey was to poll parents, students, staff, community members and others on the five options available for the future of the campus. In addition, the survey was placed on the AISD Website to gain further community input. The online survey ran from Wednesday evening, July 15, through Monday morning, July 20.

Results of the survey of attendees at the Community Meeting are as follows:

215 people responded
127 people preferred Option 2 (Submit a repurposing proposal for 2009-2010 based on discussions between the Superintendent and Commissioner)
32 people preferred Option 1 (Submit Refinement and Realignment Plan as proposal to repurpose Pearce for 2009-2010)
32 people preferred Option 3 (Do not submit a repurposing proposal for 2009-2010; create a new instructional design for 2010-2011 and the future)
14 people preferred Option 5 (Pursue other ideas generated by the community)
10 people preferred Option 4 (Request a records review related to the closure of Pearce)
Of the 215 total respondents on the meeting survey, 171 completed the demographic item on the survey, as follows: Parent = 63; Student = 4; AISD Staff = 26; Community Member = 78.

Online Survey

Of the 235 persons responding to the survey online, following are the preference results:
135 people preferred Option 2 (Submit a repurposing proposal for 2009-2010 based on discussions between the Superintendent and Commissioner)
62 people preferred Option 3 (Do not submit a repurposing proposal for 2009-2010; create a new instructional design for 2010-2011 and the future)
27 people preferred Option 1 (Submit Refinement and Realignment Plan as proposal to repurpose Pearce for 2009-2010)
7 people preferred Option 4 (Request a records review related to the closure of Pearce)
4 people preferred Option 5 (Pursue other ideas generated by the community)
All of the 235 total respondents on the online survey completed the demographic item on the online survey, as follows: Parent = 11; Student = 3; AISD Staff = 155; Community Member = 66.

Combined survey responses from the Community Meeting and those submitted online show that a total of 262 respondents – or 58.2 percent – supported Option 2 – “Submit a repurposing proposal for 2009-2010 based on discussions between the Superintendent and Commissioner.”

“It is encouraging to see so many staff, parents and community leaders voice their opinions and offer suggestions on the future of Pearce Middle School,” said Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. “I considered these survey results as I formulated options on how we move forward to create a repurposing plan for Pearce. I see this as a huge step forward in rebuilding trust among the community, the Board and the Superintendent.”

Although the Texas Education Commissioner has ordered the campus closed, AISD projects that when final Accountability Ratings are released by the state on July 31, all student groups at Pearce will meet the 2009 standards for reading, math, social studies, and writing. The one subject area where Pearce students failed to meet the 2009 state standards is science, and even then, all student groups showed an increase over the 2008 passing rates.

When the federal No Child Left Behind accountability results are released in early August, AISD projects that Pearce will receive the Met Adequate Yearly Progress designation.

According to state law relating to school repurposing, the school board is required to hold a public hearing, approve the repurpose proposal, and formally submit the plan to TEA. Carstarphen said she expects to have her recommendations on Pearce, as appropriate, for a Special Board Meeting by Monday, August 3, at the latest.

The Superintendent said that additional community input is welcome. A comment telephone line and a comment box on the District Website have opened. Callers may leave a recorded message at 414-9101, and written comments online at www.austinisd.org

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