Austin ISD looks for help solving overcrowding problems

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District is kicking off a series of meetings this week to help them figure out how to tackle a series of topics, including overcrowded, under enrolled and aging schools.

“This will allow us to start reacting to questions we have around areas to shape our facilities master plan,” said Paul Turner, Austin ISD executive director of facilities.

One of the issues at hand: overcrowding at South Austin schools.

Akins and Bowie High Schools are the largest high schools in the district. Each one serves more than 2,400 students.

“It’s incredibly packed,” said Emily Serrano, a junior at Bowie High School. “In our junior class I think there’s about 707 [students].”

She said her classes average 35 students, but her largest class has 45 students. Serrano, 17, said one-on-one attention does not come easy.

“If you need to go into tutoring sessions or something there’s crazy amounts of people in there,” said Serrano. “You can’t even have time to ask your questions because your teacher is always with someone.”

It is not the educational experience Erin Haug wants for her two kids who are slated to go to Bowie in a few years.

“We would consider private schools if AISD doesn’t expand the high school options and middle schools,” she said, “and that’s around the corner for my eldest.”

The mom voted for the failed bond package that would have paid for a new South Austin high school.

From 2000 to 2010, two neighborhoods that flow into Bowie — Circle C Ranch and Shady Hollow — were part of the third fastest growing areas in Travis County.

In the last four years, a large number of new homes and apartment complexes have popped up across South Austin.

City of Austin Demographer Ryan Robinson has been tracking it all.

“It’s attracting older students — middle schoolers and high schoolers,” said Robinson. “Other parts of town are surging in their elementary school enrollment.”

KXAN’s media partner Community Impact is also taking an in-depth look at the overcrowding issue in South Austin. Look for their coverage in the latest edition coming out Thursday.

AISD Facility Master Plan Community Meetings

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2014: Anderson High School, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014: Eastside Memorial High School, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 1: Akins High School, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 2: Bowie High School, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Austin ISD will host regional meetings to gather public input on Facility Master Plan (FMP) development in March and April.

Upcoming public Facility Meetings:

  •  Tuesday, March 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Anderson High School Cafeteria, 8403 Mesa Dr, Austin, TX 78702
  • Wednesday, March 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Eastside Memorial High School Cafeteria, 1012 Arthur Stiles Rd, Austin, TX 78721
  • Tuesday, April 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Akins High School Cafeteria, 10701 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78748
  • Wednesday, April 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Bowie High School Cafeteria, 4103 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78749
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