Austin ISD to hold special meeting on TEA oversight of special education

Austin ISD decided during Thursday's regular vote meeting that they need more time before the board votes on TEA's proposed order to provide more oversight of special education. 

"We will schedule a special board meeting here next Tuesday, Sept. 26 to tentatively consider the proposed order from TEA," Austin ISD board president Arati Singh said.

The alternative plan, which falls short of a conservatorship, includes monitors from TEA, which will make recommendations and report back to TEA.

If approved by the board, the district would also bring on board so-called "Lone Star Governance coaches" sent by the TEA to improve student outcomes.

Under the agreement, the superintendent and the board must also focus 50 percent of board meetings on discussing those outcomes. 

"I'm concerned about the oversight from Lone Star Governance," said Leah Kelly, an Austin ISD parent. "I'm concerned about the limitations of what the board will be allowed to speak about and the time restraints that they'll have."

Austin ISD officials insist this scenario is very different from the all-out takeover that happened in Houston ISD. Instead, it is more of a partnership between the district and TEA.

"It’s very difficult, and I’m sorry you’re having to face this," Education Austin president Ken Zarafis said. "However, I want you to know that, even though this is difficult, a more difficult pill would be conservator, and a more difficult pill than that is a state takeover."


 TEA's new proposal requires a board vote by this Friday, Sept. 29.

Austin ISD president Singh posted on X that the community will have the chance to speak with trustees about TEA's proposal for special education. 

The Austin ISD Special Education Board Ad Hoc Committee will hold a Special Education Question and Answer Session at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 via Zoom. Click here to join the meeting.