Carstarphen's Black Box
Carstarphen's approach to planning leaves plans unrevealed
Austin Independent School District parents and stakeholders have had their last chance to comment on Superintendent Meria Carstarphen's still-unseen annual facility recommendations. On Nov. 28, Carstarphen gave residents two hours for public comment. Previous meetings, including those on campuses, have been attended by hundreds of people, but this last time only roughly two dozen citizens could beat the Downtown traffic before the 6:30pm cutoff to sign up to talk.
The majority expressed great concern about many of the district's pending proposals, like handing three East Austin campuses over to the IDEA Public Schools charter group and creating two single-sex schools. The strongest resistance was against the proposal to turn Webb Middle School into a prekindergarten-through-eighth-grade center. Longtime Webb activist Allen Weeks told Carstarphen: "It just will not work. There's not room in a school that has increased 200 students in the last two years." This last blast of feedback now disappears into the same black box where Carstarphen has kept all her planning thus far. She will release her recommendations to the board and the community on Dec. 9, allowing all of 72 hours' public review before the board votes on them on Dec. 12.