AISD

Education
5:31 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Did Austin ISD Arrest and Ticket Too Many Students?

Photo by KUT News

A year-old report on “Texas’ School-to-Prison” pipeline is spreading across the Web, due to a report in The Guardian looking critically at police arrests and citations in Texas (and Austin) schools, and follows recent efforts within AISD to change the way it disciplines students. 

The Guardian describes the story of Sarah Bustamante, a 12-year old student at Austin’s Fulmore Middle School. She was issued a criminal misdemeanor citation by a campus police officer for what she describes as spraying herself with two bursts of perfume during class.

This phenomenon – issuing criminal citations for student behavior that, in the past, wouldn’t earn offenders much more than a trip to the principal’s office – is examined at length in a report from Texas Appleseed.

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Education
12:29 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

AISD Board To Discuss Two Year Teacher Pay Raise

The Austin ISD board will hold a work session tonight.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Teacher salaries have not budged for the last two years in Austin ISD. And it was that way for a lot of districts across the state in the wake of last year’s $5 billion in cuts to public education.

But now some school districts, including several around Austin, are thinking about raising salaries next school year. And AISD may not want to be left behind.

According to one analysis that will be presented to board members tonight, Austin ISD ranks 15th in teacher pay, compared to other Texas school districts. That’s only if you include employees' social security contributions paid by the district. Otherwise, AISD is 18th.

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Education
3:34 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

AISD Joins New School Finance Lawsuit Against State

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin and Round Rock school districts have joined more than sixty school districts responsible for educating 1.5 million children in the fourth recent lawsuit against the state over its school finance system. With one-third of Texas’ student population, it’s the largest group of school districts ever to file suit against the state over how it funds education, according to plaintiff attorneys Thompson and Horton.

“The group represents rural, big town, small town, suburban, urban, fast growth, property poor, property wealthy, and average wealth districts,” the law firm wrote in a news release.

AISD trustees voted to join the lawsuit in October. The suit says the state has increased the academic requirements for school districts, but failed to provide funding to pay for it.

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Education
4:27 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Video of Contentious AISD Board Meeting Posted Online

Rarely do Austin school board meetings get this heated. But a marathon session on Monday drew more than a hundred people, most of them disgruntled over the elected body’s push to bring a charter school into the district to operate college prep programs at two East Austin schools.

After a public input session in which opponents of the IDEA charter school plan lambasted board members for moving quickly to adopt the proposal, trustees held a lengthy debate and ultimately approved the plan in a 6-3 vote.

In case you missed the meeting or wish to relive it again, the AISD board has posted the full six hours on YouTube. Check out part one above. You can also watch part two and part three.

Education
11:07 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Who Voted For and Against IDEA Charter School Deal

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

We received a few emails from people asking to know specifically which members of the Austin school board voted for and against a proposal to establish an in-district charter school program at Allan Elementary and Eastside Memorial High School.

We neglected to list the specific trustees in our story on the 6-3 vote to contract with South Texas-based IDEA Public Schools, so here’s how the vote panned out:

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Top Stories
9:17 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Top Stories for 12/19/11: AISD Charter Vote, More Holiday Travel

Photo by KUT News

AISD Board to Vote on IDEA Charter School

A few dozen people lined up early this morning for a chance to speak about a controversial proposal for in-district charter programs that the Austin school board will vote on tonight.

The measure would contract with IDEA Public Schools, a private charter company, to run two charter programs in East Austin schools.

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Education
3:25 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

AISD Board Adopts Major Changes For 2012-13 School Year

The AISD board adopted several proposal last night, including one $5.5 million plan intended to reduce overcrowding at north central Austin elementary schools.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

So much community and media attention was focused last night on Austin ISD’s controversial proposal to outsource an East Austin college prep program to a South Texas charter school operator that we didn’t have time to tell you about other sweeping overhauls the school board approved for next year.

Here’s a recap of what the board approved.

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Education
8:04 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Carstarphen Unsure If She Has Votes To Pass Charter School Deal

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says she doesn't know if enough school board members will support her controversial proposal to create an in-district charter school program. The board is scheduled to vote tonight on the deal.

"I actually probably don't spend a lot of time trying to count votes or influence our trustees in that kind of way," Carstarphen said in a press briefing with reporters. You can see her full response by watching the video above.  

Board members appeared split on whether to adopt the issue at a work session last Monday. Board members Robert Schneider, Annette LoVoi and Tamala Barksdale were as vocal in their reservations as they were in prior meetings.

Carstarphen needs at least five of the board’s nine members to vote in favor of the IDEA charter school proposal for it to pass. All board members are present for tonight's meeting. 

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Education
10:11 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Tonight’s AISD Board Meeting: What to Expect

Tonight's meeting is scheduled to start at 7 at AISD Headquarters at 1111 West Sixth Street.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

As far as school board meetings go, tonight's should be among the most exciting of the year. Trustees are set to vote on a roster of plans that could bring significant changes to the school district in 2012-13. Here’s a quick guide to the evening:

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Education
4:52 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Texas Charter Schools Get a Pass On Some Requirements

The San Juan Campus of Idea Public Schools
Photo by Joel Martinez, The Texas Tribune

A crucial vote is scheduled for Monday by the Austin ISD school board. Trustees will decide whether to contract with a charter school operator from the Rio Grande Valley to develop an in-district charter school for children in East Austin.

Some school board members have expressed hesitation about a partnership with IDEA Public Schools. One of Trustee Annette LoVoi’s concerns focused on the transparency of governance at IDEA compared to the Austin ISD.

“We are a school board. We are transparent. We hold open meetings. We disclose all sorts of things,” LoVoi said. “I’d like to see a version of that undertaken by any entity that we contract with.”

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Education
12:03 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Tensions Develop Between Austin ISD and its Teachers Association

Photo courtesy laffy4k http://www.flickr.com/photos/laffy4k/

Education Austin has been the lone organization representing AISD staff for the past twelve years, but now Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is opening the door to changing that, and the teacher’s association is not happy about it.

"This is an attempt to marginalize our voice. And we're disappointed that the district is taking this path," Education Austin co-president Ken Zafaris told the Austin American-Statesman. He accuses Carstarphen of seeking to punish Education Austin for its opposition to a proposal to create an in-district charter school in East Austin.

But Carstarphen denies anything of the sort, telling the Statesman that most AISD staff chose not to be represented by Education Austin, and she wants an organization that will serve more employees.

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Education
11:48 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Report: AISD Scores Better In Math Than Other Urban Districts

AISD was among 21 districts tested in this report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Image courtesy NAEP

Students in the Austin Independent School District are outscoring other large urban districts – including Houston and Dallas – in one of the most-watched math tests in the country. The National Assessment of Educational Progress’s (NAEP) report tested fourth and eighth grade students in 21 urban districts across the United States.

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Education
12:11 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

AISD Trustee Bradley Frosty Towards “Pre-K Village” Proposal

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A plan by the Austin Independent School District to set up a pre-kindergarten program in a cluster of portable buildings at Webb Middle School – something the district calls a “Pre-K Village” – is receiving a cold shoulder from the Austin ISD board member whose district includes the campus.

“I just have difficulty with having four-year-olds in portables in inclement weather, the cafeteria being a portable, and the physical education space being a portable,” Trustee Cheryl Bradley said during last night’s school board meeting. “Even the design I’ve seen gives me heartburn.”

AISD is facing a district-wide problem of elementary school overcrowding. But this proposal focuses on the elementary schools in north central Austin – Barrington, Cook, Graham and Hart – that are overcrowded, even with portables. In some cases, lunch has to start at 10 a.m. and end at 1:30 p.m. just to give all the kids a chance to eat in the cafeteria.

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Education
4:42 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

AISD Board To Consider Revamp Of Disciplinary Schools

Tonight's board meeting starts at 7 p.m. at AISD headquarters.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News.

Austin school board members will meet tonight to talk about six major proposals for next school year. One plan would change how AISD operates its two disciplinary schools.

Students at Austin ISD’s disciplinary school for 6th to 12th graders, the Alternative Learning Center (ALC), are absent one out of every four days, on average.  The district average is one in 20.

ALC students are more likely to be black or Hispanic. They are more likely to be poor. And they tend to require more special education services.

AISD superintendent Meria Carstarphen says that needs to change. Her recommendation is for the district to contract with an outside provider to run the program. She also wants to reduce the number of students sent to disciplinary campuses, by providing more counseling and guidance services.

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Education
2:57 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Watch AISD State of the District Address

It's not everyday you see the superintendent of a large urban school district perform a song and dance routine in front of the city's education and business leaders, but that's what Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen did last Monday with the students at McCallum Fine Arts Academy as part of her State of the District address.

AISD just uploaded the video to YouTube, so you can watch the show and get Carstarphen's assessment of how well the district is educating its 86,000 students

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Education
12:35 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

AISD Superintendent Calls For End Of Financial Emergency

AISD superintendent Carstarphen delivered her 2011 State of the District address inside McCallum High School's new performing arts center.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District’s superintendent says there will be no layoffs this school year. Meria Carstarphen made the announcement this morning during her 2011 State of the District Address inside McCallum High School's new performing arts center.  Carstarphen said she will ask the school board to lift the financial emergency declaration made back in February.

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Education
11:57 am
Tue November 29, 2011

Carstarphen to Address State of the District Wednesday

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

If previous years are any indication, don’t expect big surprises during Austin schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s State of the District address tomorrow. She is likely to talk about AISD’s efforts to improve academic performance at struggling schools and how those endeavors align with the district’s desire to better manage its 12 million square feet of facilities. 

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Education
11:05 am
Tue November 29, 2011

Slim Turnout For AISD Facilities Hearing

Speakers were given two minutes each to address the Superintendent and board members Rob Schneider and Cheryl Bradley at last night's public hearing.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin parents had a chance to sound off last night on proposed changes to the school district, such as partnering with IDEA Public Schools to launch charter programs in East Austin and sending 6th graders in north central Austin to their feeder middle schools in an attempt to ease overcrowding.

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Education
10:52 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Tell AISD What You Think About School Proposals

How do you feel about the Austin school district’s proposal to open in-district charter schools in East Austin? What about reassigning North Central Austin sixth graders to their respective middle schools? Or expanding two-way dual language programs to four more schools?

If you have answers to any of those questions, the Austin Independent School District says it wants to hear from you tonight at a public hearing on its Facilities Master Plan.

A framework for the plan was adopted by the board last Monday. The Facility Master Plan creates a process for the school board to make major decisions about the district’s 12 million square feet of classrooms, office space, athletic facilities and other property.

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News Brief
7:29 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/28/11: AISD Public Hearing, Primary Ballot Filing Begins

AISD is holding a Public Hearing tonight from 6-8 p.m.
Photo by KUT News

AISD Public Hearing

The Austin Independent School District is holding a public hearing on its Facilities Master Plan tonight. Last week the AISD Board adopted the framework to guide how it manages its facilities, but the Board still hasn’t decided on a few key issues. There has been opposition to some parts of the plan, including a proposal to add in-district charter schools at some struggling campuses. Tonight’s hearing runs from 6 – 8 p.m. at AISD’s headquarters on West 6th Street. Speakers are limited to two minutes each, and can sign up in the Board Auditorium until 6:15 p.m.

Primary Ballot Filing Begins

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