Rolling blackouts are affecting schools in the Austin Independent School District, which opted not to cancel classes today. The district currently has no plans to release students early this afternoon.
"Austin ISD, like the rest of the city, is affected by the rolling outages," AISD spokesperson Carmen Luevanos told KUT News. "At any one point, we have approximately 20 campuses that are out [of power]. We have approximately 120 campuses [total]."
"Buses ran a little late this morning because of the power outage," Luevanos said. "But there are classes and all students will be fed lunch."
So how do schools function when there's no electricity? Luevanos said most classes may be engaging in "art time," but that "they will try to go on as normal as possible given the circumstances."
With snow possibly forecast for Thursday night, Luevanos said the district would not make a decision on whether to cancel schools Friday until around 3 a.m. Friday morning. The decision would be made in coordination with the Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center. Austin ISD would announce any class cancellations on its website.
The school district, currently facing a projected budget deficit of $113 million, receives funding from the state through an average daily attendance formula. But the district would not lose money from closing school on Friday, because it has three make-up days built into the calendar. Students would simply attend an extra day later in the semester.
Update at 11:18 am: Austin ISD just sent us this statement.
Due to rolling power outages throughout the City of Austin, Austin Independent School District is facing facilities’ challenges today. Schools are open, although electrical power is intermittent on some of our campuses. We respect the wishes of parents who choose to keep their children at home or to pick them up at school. Students who remain at school will be fed lunch.
We are in contact with Austin Energy and the Austin-Travis County Emergency Management operation. We cannot predict which campuses will be without power or when. We will provide updates as they are available. As AISD communications may be affected, parents are advised to stay tuned to local media outlets.