‘Looking outside the district’: Teachers, staff wonder what’s next after SAISD school closures

San Antonio Alliance says district agreed to not cut teacher jobs

SAN ANTONIO – Thousands of San Antonio ISD students, teachers, and staff are asking what’s next after the board’s controversial decision to close schools.

“The number of schools is going to have a tremendous impact on generations to come in our community,” said Alejandra Lopez, president of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel.

The San Antonio Alliance is the union that oversees SAISD workers. Lopez said the alliance has been working with the district for months to protect their members’ jobs.

“School closures have a profound impact on staff, students, families. We have been working closely with district administration to ensure the transition on the staff side is as smooth as possible, recognizing it’s going to be very difficult and sad for many of our teachers and support staff to leave the campus that they know and they love,” said Lopez. “We came out early saying no one should lose their job because of the school closure process. In the fall, we got that commitment from district leadership, from the superintendent and his team. We stand here very encouraged by that win.”

Lopez said the district also agreed to offer bonuses to people impacted by school closures, but it may not be enough.

“In many cases, staff will get to follow the students to the campus that students are going to, but they will also get the opportunity to move on to other places,” said Lopez. “We definitely have had members who have said if the school that I’m at closes, I will be looking outside the district.”

At Monday night’s meeting, SAISD Superintendent Dr. Jaime Aquino said the district has a transition team meeting with staff and teachers this week. He said they don’t want to lose educators during a nationwide shortage.

“We know that our staff and our families have choices, but it’s up to us to work really hard to keep them,” said Aquino. “If you don’t want to go to the school, let us know if there’s any other school that you want.”

Kim Aston is a longtime counselor at Lamar Elementary. She doesn’t have a definitive answer for what’s next.

“I’m hurt because this was my home. I’ve been at Lamar since 1999,” said Aston. “It’s like a small town here. It’s a tight-knit community. We know each other. We’re a generational school, and it’s hard to see it go.”

Aston said she had not met with the transition team as of Monday afternoon, but the staff there will continue to do their best to stay informed about the changes ahead.

“We’re going to encourage the teachers and the students to embrace the change, and maybe it will brighten their futures. Hopefully, it comes out positively,” said Aston.


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About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.