Single-gender campuses will soon become a reality in Austin schools.
Late Monday night, the AISD school board approved a plan for three new single-gender campuses starting in fall of 2014.
"The longer we resist making changes in our district and providing options for our families the more likely our school district will become a dinosaur," board member Lori Moya said.
The vote paved the way for Pearce and Garcia middle schools to become single-gender campuses. The district would also create an all-boys school, equivalent to the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.
Supporters say dividing boys and girls will allow students to focus on academics—an area Pearce and Garcia have struggled with over the years.
"We have to change the environment that the children are in so that it can be conducive to teaching and learning," board member Cheryl Bradley said.
The other same gender school the board approved will be a magnet school for boys in grades sixth through 12th. The site would take over what now the Alternative Learning Center in East Austin.
The transformation would cost up to $20 million, a price tag that board president Vincent Torres says is worth it.
"Provide opportunities to students that don't typically have these types of opportunities that we know could excel if they were provided additional support,” he said.
The money for the single-gender campuses will come from grants, private donations or a potential bond in May.