AISD

Education
4:44 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

AISD Board Adopts Facility Master Plan Framework

The Austin ISD school board
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

All but one of the nine members on the Austin school board voted in favor last night of adopting the Facility Master Plan framework – a document that will guide decision making over how to manage AISD’s more than 100 schools and 12 million square feet of space.

Trustee Vince Torres, the vice president of the school board, offered a full-throated defense of the document, which was brought to the board after a lengthy and at times combative two-year process.

“Is it going to need tweaking? Absolutely,” Torres said. “But we need to start somewhere. I encourage us to start with this particular document.”

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Education
1:07 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Austin ISD To Hold Public Meeting On Single-Sex Schools

Pearce Middle School could become one of two single-sex schools under a plan Austin school district officials will discuss with public tomorrow at LBJ High School
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin school district is considering an $11 million plan to open two single-sex middle schools at Pearce and Garcia Middle Schools, and on Saturday morning, district officials will be available at LBJ High School to explain their proposal.

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Education
12:51 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Study Questions Claims Of Charter School Seeking AISD Contract

Austin ISD is considering a deal with IDEA Public Schools that would create an in-district charter school, but one study questions how effective IDEA really is at educating disadvantaged kids.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is negotiating a deal with IDEA Public Schools, a charter school district based in the Rio Grande Valley, to run an in-district charter school in East Austin that targets AISD students classified as “economically disadvantaged.” But a new study suggests IDEA’s educational outcomes may not be much better than traditional public schools.

The study was conducted by Dr. Ed Fuller. He used to work as at the University of Texas’ College of Education. But earlier this year Fuller was hired by Penn State University to direct a research center.

Fuller examined student level data he obtained from the Texas Education Agency and published a study online that makes three critical claims.

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Education
4:29 pm
Tue November 8, 2011

AISD Board Discusses Tax Increase to Finance Staff Pay Raise

Austin ISD headquarters on W. 6th Street
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Teachers in Austin Independent School District have not received a raise since 2009, and some school board members are talking openly about the possibility of raising taxes to finance one. Such a tax rate increase would require approval of voters. 

At a meeting last night, AISD chief financial officer Nicole Conley-Abram explained how the district still expects a shortfall of around $20 million next school year. She presented board members with some options under consideration, including a pay raise for staff, without specifying how much that pay raise could cost.  

“Where were we going to get the money to do this?” Trustee Lori Moya asked.

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Education
11:28 am
Mon October 24, 2011

AISD Board To Get Some Specifics on Facilities Proposals

After the Austin Independent School District’s last attempt at adopting a ten year master plan for its 12 million square feet of property was derailed in the spring, the AISD school board is scheduled tonight to hear some of the most specific proposals yet from Superintendent Meria Carstarphen on how to address issues such as overcrowding.

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News Brief
4:56 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Top Morning Stories October 24, 2011

Bastrop County is hosting another open house Monday night to discuss wildfire recovery.
Photo by KUT News.

Bastrop County: On the Road Back

Bastrop County is holding its second open house to talk about wildfire recovery. Everyone affected by the Labor Day wildfires is invited to the come-and-go event. Local, state and federal officials will be on hand to answer questions about debris removal, utilities, FEMA aid and more. Bastrop County officials say more than 250 families attended the first open house. Tonight’s meeting is from 6-8 p.m. at the Smithville Recreation Center.

AISD Board Discussing Facilities Plan Tonight

The Austin Independent School District’s board has a full agenda tonight. The board will hear some possible scenarios about how facilities could be used during the 2012-2013 school year.

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News Brief
5:23 am
Fri October 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories October 21, 2011

Photo by Flickr user pantagrapher

Mexican Truck to Enter U.S. Today Under Trade Agreement

The first Mexican truck to deliver goods in the U.S. interior in the long-delayed portion of the NAFTA free-trade agreement is scheduled to cross the border at Laredo today. The Associated Press reports the truck, owned by Transportes Olympic, will be making a delivery to Garland, in the Dallas area.

This trucking agreement complies with a provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Some lawmakers and the Teamsters union are opposed, saying it will make U.S. highways more dangerous and cost American jobs. Here's KUT's reporting on when the deal was struck this summer. 

Autopsy Report Details Officer Involved Shooting

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News Brief
5:28 am
Thu October 20, 2011

Top Morning Stories October 20, 2011

Taylor Farms Retail Inc. has issued a voluntary recall for some bagged salads that could be contaminated with Salmonella.
Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration

Precautionary Recall for Bagged Salads

Taylor Farms Retail Inc., a California company, is voluntarily recalling over 3,000 cases of various bagged salad blends because they could be contaminated with salmonella. The salad products were distributed in several states including Texas.

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Austin
12:12 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

AISD Moves Elections to November

The Austin Independent School District's Board has voted to move elections from May to November.
Photo by KUT News

The Austin Independent School District’s board has voted unanimously to move trustee elections from May to November of even numbered years. Trustee Rob Schneider says the move will save the district money and increase the number of people voting in AISD elections, since they would coincide with state and federal elections.

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Education
10:01 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

AISD Superintendent Carstarphen's Contract Extended

Meria Carstarphen in a file photo from 2009, shortly before she was hired by the Austin ISD school board.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The superintendent who took the helm of the largest school district in Central Texas two years ago just had her contract extended for an additional year. Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen's contract now expires in June 2014. The extension did not include a pay raise or increase in benefits. 

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Education
9:21 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Austin School Board Approves New Voting Map

The new redistricting map approved by the Austin school board Monday night. See a larger version of this image here: http://archive.austinisd.org/inside/board/docs/AustinISD_TD_Yellow_Illustrative1.pdf

The Austin ISD school board gave a redrawn school district voting map the green light tonight in an 8-1 vote, clearing the way for the proposal to be sent to the US Justice Department for approval. Texas is among the jurisdictions that require federal approval to redraw voting boundaries under provisions of the Voting Rights Act intended to prevent minority groups from having their electoral influence reduced. 

Several members of the Mueller neighborhood, a mixed-use development just east of I-35, protested the changes during a public comment portion of the board meeting. At least three speakers said they wanted to be included in East Austin's District 1, an area that includes the highest proportion of African-American voters in the entire school district and the second largest percentage of Hispanic voters.

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Education
11:12 am
Mon September 26, 2011

AISD Withholds New Facility Master Plan Recommendation Until Tonight

Austin ISD headquarters downtown on West 6th Street.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District operates more than 100 schools in the city covering 12 million square feet. Some of those schools are overcrowded. Others that are way under-capacity.

A plan developed this year to deal with that was shelved, after school board members found the notion of school closures politically unpalatable.  A revised version of that facilities master plan will be unveiled tonight.

In an unusual move, the Austin Independent School District is refusing to release the proposed facility master plan to the public until immediately before it is presented to the school board.

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News Brief
7:39 am
Mon September 26, 2011

Top Morning Stories September 26, 2011

Texas A&M has officially left the Big 12. On Sunday the SEC announced A&M would join the conference beginning in fall 2012.
Photo courtesy of AggieAthletics.com

Tar Sand Pipeline Hearings

The U.S. Department of State will hold the first two of nine public hearings today to discuss the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. This afternoon there will be a hearing in Port Arthur from 4:30 - 10:00 p.m.  More information on the pipeline can be found here.

Texas A&M Officially Joins SEC

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Education
5:02 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

AISD Considers Process to Redraw School Boundaries

School trustee Lori Moya leans over to say something to school board president Mark Williams during a board meeting in June.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is about to begin a long and likely contentious process that could end in school attendance boundaries being redrawn.

Tonight, school board members will look at the district’s plan to develop a committee that would examine attendance zones. It’s all kind of dry at this point – but that could change if the district starts tinkering with which students go to what schools.

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Morning Update
8:39 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Monday Morning Headlines

Rebels in Libya appear to have control of most of the capital city, Tripoli. But the whereabouts of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are unknown this morning.
Image courtesy NPR

Libyan Rebels Enter Tripoli

The 42-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi may be in its final hours today, as rebel troops flowed into Tripoli, Libya Sunday and early this morning. NPR reports that scattered opposition forces are trying to maintain the capital city, as fighting between them and forces loyal to Gadhafi continues in some parts. No one seems to know where Gadhafi is, but two of his sons have reportedly been captured by rebel soldiers.

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Education
2:57 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Your Last Chance To Weigh In On AISD's 2011-12 Budget

People addressing the school board at tonight's budget hearing stand at this microphone and are given two minutes to speak.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin school board members are set to vote on an $838 million budget one week from today. But first, they want to hear from the public during a hearing tonight at AISD headquarters.

The state is cutting more than $35 million from Austin ISD’s budget. But one-time federal money through the so-called EduJobs program is adding $14 million to the district’s coffers.

Here are some of the items included in the budget:

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Education
2:02 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Texas “Very Unlikely” To Seek NCLB Waiver This Year

Texas Education Agency is headquartered in the William B. Travis Building in Austin.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Texas Education Agency is waiting until the federal government rolls out more details in September before deciding whether to seek a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.

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Education
4:03 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

AISD Misses AYP

Federal ratings, based in part by standardized test performance, for school districts and individual public schools were released today.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Texas Education Agency released preliminary results for the federal ratings of school districts today. Austin Independent School district did not meet federal standards, known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). It is a federal designation as part of the No Child Left Behind program.

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Education
4:56 pm
Fri July 29, 2011

Texas School Ratings Drop With Change in Formula

Education Commisioner Robert Scott gave Texas schools their ratings today.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The number of schools considered “academically unacceptable” by the state skyrocketed from 104 in 2010 to 569 this year. It was largely because the Texas Education Agency stopped using the Texas Projection Measure, a formula that gave credit to failing schools if they were mathematically predicted to pass in the future.

Commissioner Robert Scott says that’s still only 7 percent of all public schools in Texas.

“The system is designed to make campuses focus on their weaknesses and cause improvement,” Scott said. “One year academically unacceptable, most of those campuses will come off that list in a year.”

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Education
3:10 pm
Wed June 22, 2011

AISD Details Restructuring of Pearce and Garcia Middle Schools

A sign outside Pearce Middle School
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

As we reported earlier this week, Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carsatrphen said she plans to bring big changes to Pearce and Garcia Middle Schools. Today, she made the official announcement and provided additional details about the restructuring. You can read the full details below.

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