AISD public hearing process frustrating for some
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It's been 30 years or more since Joan Bartz had children in Austin schools, but she's still fighting for local school children.
Bartz is one of a handful of people who spoke at a district public comment hearing Monday evening. The Austin Independent School District has a number of changes proposed for the 2013 school year, but activists and stakeholders say the biggest problem is the process.
"I've kept a real close watch on the schools and I speak up when it's necessary," Bartz said. "I'm not happy with the way our students are not getting served over here as they should be."
Education activist Vincent Tovar says the community should have been heard long before Monday’s meeting.
"It's not about having 15 community meetings and public hearings, like tonight, after you've made proposals,” he said. “It's about having community as part of the initial decision making."
School trustees say they understand the frustration.
"Perhaps we haven't heard their comments early enough in the process," AISD Board of Trustees President Vincent Torres said. "What do we need to do is change the process to make sure that more people feel comfortable with the process."
However, tough decisions can't always be avoided.
"At some point in the process, we have to make a decision,” Torres said. “Some people are going to be in agreement with our decision and some people are not."
In the end, everyone wants what is best for students
"We want everything as good for east of I-35 schools as they're doing for the other side, and right now that's not the case," Bartz said. "If they're not educated as they should be and given the opportunity to get the very best education in the world, we are in big trouble. We are in big trouble."
Trustees say no decisions have been made about a proposed all-boys middle school.
You still have a chance to chime in on that and other proposals at a series of public meetings this week.
A presentation on the expansion of the dual language program is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Garcia Middle School.
On Thursday, a meeting at Bowie High School will discuss plans for a future high school in South Austin.