Metro & State

School board con­sid­ers block­ing char­ter from ex­pand­ing into sec­ond East Austin cam­pus.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Melissa B. Taboada mtaboada@states­man.com

The Austin school district board room was stand­ing-room only as trustees dis­cussed the district’s part­ner­ship with the IDEA Al­lan char­ter school op­er­a­tor.

The Austin school district board room was stand­ing room only Mon­day night, with sup­port­ers and op­po­nents of IDEA Al­lan char­ter school ea­ger to hear the board’s de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of the district’s part­ner­ship with the char­ter op­er­a­tor. Po­lice es­ti­mated an­other 200 peo­ple gath­ered out­side, un­able to get into the board room.

Trustees had not de­ter­mined the fate of IDEA Al­lan by press time late Mon­day. The school board was con­sid­er­ing block­ing IDEA from ex­pand­ing into a sec­ond East Austin school. To do so, trustees would have to amend its con­tract with IDEA Pub­lic Schools.

Stu­dents, par­ents and com- mu­nity mem­bers on both sides of the is­sue camped out overnight Sun­day to nab one of 30 slots to speak to the board prior to the vote.

“I feel the chil­dren of the east side de­serve bet­ter choices than what they’re given,” said Christina Me­len­dez, par­ent of an IDEA Al­lan stu­dent and who lives in East Austin. “I really want to make sure this de­ci­sion isn’t based on pol­i­tics, but it’s based on the ed­u­ca­tion of our chil­dren.”

The ma­jor­ity spoke against IDEA, call­ing for an end to the part­ner­ship, in­clud­ing sev­eral stu­dents who slept out­side district head­quar­ters Sun­day for the chance to speak and stayed at Mon­day’s meet­ing late, de­spite hav­ing fi­nals Tues­day.

“It’s most un­for­tu­nate the pre­vi­ous board left a mess to clean up, shat­tered pub­lic trust and left our pub­lic schools open to IDEA’s

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