AISD Cancels IDEA Contract

Trustees split 5-4 but Allan heads back to community

Panther Pride: Eastside Memorial advocates win the night as AISD trustees vote 5-4 to terminate their contract with IDEA Public Schools
Panther Pride: Eastside Memorial advocates win the night as AISD trustees vote 5-4 to terminate their contract with IDEA Public Schools (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

Going into last night's Austin ISD Board of Trustees meeting, AISD had two in-district charters on the books for the 2013-14 school year: Responsive Education Solutions at Travis and Lanier, and IDEA Allan. Now they still have two, but IDEA Public Schools are out and the Travis Heights Elementary community gets autonomy next year.

The evening, compared to last year's brutal fight to approve the contract with IDEA Public Schools, was surprisingly calm. The vote to approve the Travis Heights neighborhood's proposal to run their elementary as a quasi-autonomous in-district charter went through unanimously, as was expected, and showed how well the new-look board - reshaped by the November elections - can co-exist. Surprisingly, even the IDEA vote was relatively non-confrontational.

First, five members of the board - Secretary Jayme Mathias, Ann Teich, Robert Schneider, and at-large trustees Tamala Barksdale and Gina Hinojosa - voted to reject Mathias' own proposal to leave IDEA at Allan for one more year and appraise the deal next Fall. Then, rather than let the division go on in the board and the community, they moved to a straight up-down vote. The same five voted to terminate the contract: However, even the four 'nay' votes - President Vince Torres, Lori Moya, Cheryl Bradley and Amber Elenz - seemed more interested in giving IDEA more time to build an exit strategy over the next year than signing an eternal compact.

We'll have more in this week's issue, out Thursday, but in the meantime, here's the night in Tweets, Storified.

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Austin ISD, AISD, Meria Carstarphen, IDEA Public Schools, Charter Schools, Travis Heights, Education Austin, Allan Elementary, Vince Torres, Jayme Mathias, Cheryl Bradley, Gina Hinojosa, Ann Teich, Lori Moya, Amber Elenz, Robert Schneider, Tamala Barksdale

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