Austin ISD board approves $350K marketing contract to fight enrollment drop

FILE - School classroom (AP Photo)
FILE - School classroom (AP Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District will move forward with a $350,000 marketing plan to try to reverse the effects of a declining enrollment.

In a 7 to 4 vote, trustees approved the contract Monday night after a lengthy discussion about how it will get to the root of the problem, and change public perception about historically under performing schools.

District officials say the marketing campaign will have a hyper focus on 25 schools to help with retention and recruiting.

Crockett High School is one of the campuses. Principal Craig Shapiro told KXAN his school can handle 300 to 400 more students, and a marketing push could help fill those extra seats.

“The graduation rates, the programs that we have, the reduction in discipline, the increase in attendance –those things we’ve won national recognition for,” said Shapiro. “But yet I still think people within the community just don’t know.”

Shapiro said families Crockett’s boundary zone are transferring their children to other AISD high schools, and some are moving out to Hays CISD and Del Valle ISD because housing is more affordable.

Some have criticized the district for spending taxpayer money on marketing.

Karen Evertson addressed the board during citizen communication Monday night and told them why she believes families are leaving AISD.

“People are dissatisfied with the curriculum in schools,” Karen Evertson told the board. “What we don’t have is a good curriculum.”

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