The Austin school district soon will offer transportation to any middle school student who wants to attend Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, giving more access to students who want to attend the single-sex campus.
The move could boost student enrollment for the school of 400, which is well below capacity. Principal Sterlin McGruder said he receives regular interest from parents and students who want to transfer to the school, but they are unable because of transportation issue. He estimates between 120 and 160 students will transfer to the school when transportation begins this fall.
District officials estimate offering transportation to the school will cost $150,000.
“It’s a different opportunity to get more students in to this amazing school,” said Superintendent Paul Cruz.
The announcement came Wednesday during a press conference at the school, where district officials were celebrating National School Choice Week, typically touted by private schools and charter schools as alternatives to traditional public districts. But Austin officials in recent years began using the week to boast about their various speciality programs it offers, including the single-gender campuses.
Eighth-grade student Artist Tyson, 13, transfers into the school district from Pflugerville to attend the school, where he said he is surrounded by positive influences, particularly by men of color, and are taught to be leaders.
“The image portrayed in society is that we’re hoodlums,” Tyson said. “That’s something not even close to who we are. We are men. They’re teaching us to be beyond the statistics.”