Deadline approaches for Austin ISD to appeal TEA conservatorship

Monday, April 17 is the deadline for Austin ISD to appeal a state conservatorship.

In late March, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced it planned to impose a conservatorship on the district, specifically for special education. The TEA released a final investigative report in which it concluded the AISD had "systemic issues" within special education.

The conservatorship aims to tackle a backlog of hundreds of Austin ISD students who have not been evaluated for special ed services.

The conservatorship would not be an all-out takeover of the district, like what is happening with Houston ISD, but instead a partnership between Austin ISD's special ed team and a team from the state. The trustees and interim superintendent Matias Segura would still be in place. 

The Austin school board has expressed support for the idea, however others have expressed concerns and are wary of it.

"My fear is that an outside agency that’s not my elected school board who I do trust would not have my student’s best interests in mind," said one commenter, a mother of a special education student, during the roughly 45 minutes of pre-recorded public comment at a recent board meeting.

Members of Education Austin held a press conference before that meeting to push back on TEA’s plans.

"It feels like steps have been jumped and skipped to the conservatorship before it is necessarily needed without giving the district a chance to finish fixing this on their own," said Eric Ramos, a special education teacher.

If the district does not appeal the conservatorship by Monday, it would take effect this summer.