State Education Agency Dogs AISD Over Special Education Backlog

Austin ISD gets a state monitor


Trustee Candace Hunter at a meeting asks "what is the point" of the district's new, state-mandated goals (Screenshot via Austin ISD)

September 26: The Texas Education Agency announced in March that it would send a conservator to take over Austin ISD's provision of special education services, citing the district's chronic failure to provide the services over the last two years. Through the summer, however, Interim Superintendent Matias Segura and Board of Trustees President Arati Singh kept the lines of communication open with TEA, seeking a less radical alternative.

TEA offered the district a deal on Aug. 30 that would require the district to erase its backlog in evaluations for special education services by Jan. 31 of next year. The deal also required the district to provide special education training to its staff, conduct an audit of its data systems, and change the way it conducts its public meetings to focus half of its discussions on "student outcomes" – TEA-speak for test results.

Many parents condemned the proposal as an infringement on local control of their kids' schools. They asked the board to reject the deal. But as AISD attorney Christine Badillo pointed out, "Everything in this proposed order, you can either agree to do it, or you can not agree to do it, and TEA will bring someone in and they will make you do it." The board voted 8-1 to accept the deal a month later, September 26.

“Everything in this proposed order, you can either agree to do it, or you can not agree to do it, and TEA will bring someone in and they will make you do it.” – AISD attorney Christine Badillo

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