Naked City

Johnston Magnet Junked?

On Monday, Nov. 26, the Austin Independent School District board of trustees is expected to decide whether to move the Liberal Arts Academy from Johnston High School to LBJ, already home to the Math and Science Academy. Doing so would effectively merge the two programs and end the magnet program at Johnston. AISD staff, a community working group, and Superintendent Pat Forgione have recommended the change as a way of combining the advanced curricula in one school. Board President Kathy Rider, who supports the move, told "Naked City" she hopes the program transfer will be the first step in creating a stand-alone magnet school for the best students in the district. Rider didn't want to speak for the board as a whole, but said she believes it is "fairly evident" that the board will vote to approve the change.

Other trustees say that a number of issues still need to be addressed before they will vote for the move. District 1 Trustee Loretta Edelen says the board has received many letters and e-mails from Johnston students and parents who say their concerns -- which include potentially losing the unique qualities of the Liberal Arts magnet and its direct connection with a diverse neighborhood school -- have thus far been ignored. "A lot of these students are happy at Johnston, and they feel that a combined magnet at LBJ will not provide the same opportunities," she says. "I won't vote for the move until I am convinced that we are acting in the best interests of these students."

Monday's AISD meeting is at 7pm in the Board Auditorium of the Carruth Administration Center, 1111 West Sixth.

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