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Single Sex Schools On AISD's Agenda Again
Austin Independent School District trustees are reviving public discussions to create new single-sex schools within the district.
On Monday night they discussed the possibility of two plans in the works. One of them involves single-gender schools at two middle schools in East Austin -- Pearce and Garcia.
The second plan would turn the alternative learning center in East Austin into the district's proposed school for young men.
Turning Pearce and Garcia Middle School into single-gender schools would cost about $18 million.
"While there has been a lot of community input, it hasn't really settled neatly in a majority favoring or disfavoring this particular idea," says AISD Superintendent Meria Castarphen.
She says a recent survey of parents late last year shows them almost split down the middle. "So 45 percent were in favor of creating a single gender middle school design, 51 percent favored the traditional coeducational middle school design," Castarphen said.
Students who opt out would be assigned to one of several alternative middle schools.
Something trustees say is already happening. "When you look at the numbers, at least 300 students are choosing to go to other AISD schools," says AISD Trutee Amber Elenz.
The second proposal to turn the alternative learning center in East Austin into the district's proposed school for young men - requiring boys to apply and meet admissions criteria like at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders - would take $20 million in renovations and voter approval of a 2013 bond package election.
There was no vote to move forward with either proposal Monday tonight. Trustees are scheduled to vote on Monday, Jan 28.
By Angel Covarrubias