AUSTIN EDITION - School policy criticized

School staff want own kids to attend their school

By Roxana Orellana

A policy change made by the Austin School Board in May is still drawing criticism from elementary school staff members.

They would like a "perk" of the open enrollment policy -- that children be allowed to attend the same school in which their parent works -- restored.


Lisa Deyo, a mother and teacher at Southgate Elementary, spoke at the school board meeting Thursday.

The board changed its policy two months ago, saying students must stay in their residential attendance area. Students previously enrolled in "out of attendance area" schools can stay at those schools until advancing to middle school, but only if their parents provide transportation.

Deyo told the board that job performance and morale of teachers and staff members would be affected because their children might not be in the same school.

"Just this year alone I needed to check on a cut near an eye to both determine whether it needed to be attended by a doctor and to comfort my distressed child," Deyo said. "This would have created a half-day loss had I been in another building."

Having their children in the same building also saves the district money, she said. Instead of having the district pay a substitute teacher while she attended to her child, Deyo said she was able to take care of the situation during her free time.

Board member Richard Lees said the board would like to know the exact number of the staff members being affected by the change.

Chairwoman Bev Nordby said the board will continue to look into the issue, but she was not making any promises.

"I feel I can't go along with this unless we go along with the public, too," Nordby said.

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