Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
×
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Hundreds of Austin ISD teachers reportedly pledge not to attend in-person instruction Monday
(Pexels)

Amid the potential for layoffs, hundreds of Austin ISD teachers plan not to attend in-person classes Monday despite district plans to end virtual learning for most students and staff.


About 850 AISD teachers have pledged not to perform on-site work Monday, opting instead to teach virtually only, The Austin American-Statesman reports. However, less than half of all staff has reportedly been approved for accommodations protecting against COVID-19.

Education Austin, the union representing AISD teachers and staff, is leading the organized walkout.

"Teachers will not knowingly lead their students into a harmful environment," said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, in an interview this week with The Austin Chronicle.

But plans to return to schools comes from a state-led directive, which granted districts the chance to delay in-person instruction until early October. Austin's own interim health director, Dr. Mark Escott, told AISD board members that he believes the school district's reopening plan is safe.

Zarifis acknowledged to The Chronicle that Education Austin's anticipated actions Monday are drastic and unprecedented so far in the state of Texas. However, the organization included the need for employee accommodations in its original list of demands for reopening mid-pandemic.

"It is not a strike, as people are suggesting," he told The Chronicle. "We are not refusing to work, we are not stopping work."

District officials have not said publicly what ramifications for staff who do not show up to work Monday might be. Multiple teachers told the Statesman they may lose their jobs because they weren't granted waivers to avoid in-person attendance.

AISD is already battling a $51.4 million shortfall because of reduced enrollment, potentially resulting in hundreds of staff layoffs. Chief Business Officer Larry Throm told the AISD board of trustees the district will have to consider laying off as many as 232 teachers—which would lead to about $30 million in savings—as well as cutting costs elsewhere.

"We cannot save our way by letting teachers go," he said.

More on schools:

Austin ISD enrollment decline could lead to 232 teacher layoffs

Popular

Songwriting, social media and hard work keys to success for post-pandemic Austin bands
Candy Riot

Jessica Arroyo

Everyone knows that Austin has built its reputation on being “the Live Music Capital of the World.”

Whether you’re being greeted by a guitar-laden crooner upon arrival at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport or enjoying breakfast tacos in the shadow of statue and mural tributes to legends like Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan, nods to the famous moniker are apparent throughout the city.

But following a pandemic that turned the entire world upside down, what’s it actually like to be a musician in Austin right now?


Keep ReadingShow less
Fall camping: Camp Fimfo Waco offers one-of-a-kind experiences in the heart of Texas
Camp Fimfo Waco

Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!

Keep ReadingShow less