AISD

Education
7:18 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

Mueller Advocates Challenge AISD Redistricting Maps

A two-minute countdown clock for people who address the school board during public hearings, such as tonight's on redistricting.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Ever since fresh US Census data revealed large population disparities in Austin ISD's seven trustee districts, AISD has been working to redraw those political boundaries.  One challenge is balancing voter influence without violating the Voting Rights Act by diluting the influence of protected minority groups.

Those sometimes conflicting goals may be tested around the Mueller redevelopment project, a planned mixed-use community being constructed on the site of what used to be a municipal airport.

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Education
10:55 am
Mon June 20, 2011

Austin ISD Makes TAKS Progress But More Schools Missed State Standards

Photo by KUT

Eighty percent of Austin ISD students passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills this year, an important state standardized test used to rank school districts. It’s the first time AISD met that benchmark.

School board members will hear from staff on the preliminary TAKS results during tonight’s school board meeting. The school district provided a faxed copy of the PowerPoint presentation to KUT News.

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Education
4:53 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Nine AISD Students Will Learn Mandarin in China This Summer

Shanghai is the largest city in China with more than 23 million residents.
Photo by tyler_haglund http://www.flickr.com/photos/haglundt/

With China poised to become the world’s economic leader within the next few decades, learning Mandarin might not be such a bad idea. And if you really want a jump start, try immersing yourself among the 23 million people who occupy China's largest city, Shanghai. That's what nine local high school students will be doing for six weeks this summer. 

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Education
1:11 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Austin School Board To Discuss Redistricting Process Monday

One of two proposed maps to redraw AISD Trustee boundaries in Austin. The red line shows existing boundaries and the colors reflected possible changes.
Image provided by Austin ISD

While it is unlikely to be as politically contentious as the Congressional redistricting process playing out at the State Capitol, the Austin Independent School District is nevertheless tasked with having to redraw boundaries for the seven regional seats on the school board.

The process has to happen before the 2012 general election, and it will not have any effect on school attendance zones.

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Education
1:28 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

AISD to Offer Paid Pre-K

For the first time this fall AISD will open up its pre-k program for parents willing to pay tuition.
Photo by KUT News.

This fall, for the first time ever, the Austin Independent School District is going to offer pre-kindergarten for those willing to pay tuition.  Right now free, full day pre-k is offered only for students who qualify.  

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Education
12:25 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

Austin ISD Will Close for a Week in July to Save Energy

A view from Austin ISD's headquarters on W. 6th St.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

No one really needs an excuse to take a week off in the summer, but the cash-strapped Austin Independent School District says it will save $471,000 by shutting schools and offices for five workdays in July.

All schools and offices will be closed from July 4-8. They will otherwise be on a four-day work week from June 27 to July 25. Employees will still have to put in their 40 hours during that time frame by working flexible ten-hour shifts.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Teacher Pay Cut Bill Advances In Texas Senate

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

A bill that would give school districts the power to furlough teachers and unilaterally cut their pay cleared a major hurdle in the Texas Senate today. SB 8 was approved on second reading 18-12.  The proposal will require a final vote to move out of the Senate.

Many Texas school districts have already been planning on such measures clearing the Senate to help them deal with $4 billion in cuts to public education.  Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley-Abram with the Austin Independent School District said in this budget presentation that enacting two unpaid furlough days would save the district about $4.2 million. 

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Education
12:30 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Now You Can Live Stream AISD High School Graduation Online

Photo of AISD's website by KUT News

For the first time ever, Austin ISD is live streaming this week’s graduation ceremonies on its website.

“We’re doing it for family members who may be out of town and can’t be present at the graduation,” AISD spokesperson Kathy Anthony told KUT News. “Or for teachers, for instance, who are back their campuses and not attending graduation and want to watch the proceedings.”

A link to the live stream is posted on AISD’s front page. Today's ceremonies got underway at noon at the Frank Erwin Center.

Here is the schedule:

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Education
11:13 am
Thu June 2, 2011

Austin ISD Gets $4.6 Million For All-Boys School

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

After months of talk about creating an all-boys version of the Anne Richards School for Young Women Leaders, the Austin Independent School District says it is getting $4.6 million over seven years from the Moody Foundation to help create a School for Young Men.

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Education
12:18 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

Who's Not Graduating From AISD This Week?

Austin ISD headquarters.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Hundreds of students in the Austin Independent School District will mark a major milestone this week when they walk down the aisle and receive their high school diplomas. Unfortunately, some teenagers won't get to participate because they failed to meet graduation requirements. 

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Education
10:15 am
Tue May 24, 2011

AISD Board Approves Facility Plan Timeline

Photo by KUT News

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees has approved a timeline for finishing the district’s controversial Facility Master Plan. At a meeting Monday night, the board okayed the timeline set out by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. 

A report presented to the board in March by a citizens’ task force suggested closing as many as nine schools.

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Education
4:36 pm
Mon May 23, 2011

School? On Memorial Day?!

A bus much like this one will take Austin ISD students to school this Memorial Day to make up for a snow day last February.
Photo by KUT News.

A note to those students (and maybe some teachers and staff) who were celebrating a snow day in Austin last February 4th: It's time to pay the piper.

Memorial Day, May 30th, is a "bad weather make-up day" for the Austin School District. All district schools will be open to make up for the day that was lost during the epic around-an-inch of snowfall that hit the area last February.

Education
4:22 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Austin’s LASA Scores High In National School Ranking

Students in the Liberal Arts and Science Program at LBJ High School
Photo by Austin ISD

The magnet program at LBJ High School, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), is the highest ranked Austin high school in a new national ranking.  LASA placed 29th out of more than 1,900 public schools nation-wide. 

The Washington Post’s Jay Matthews ranked high schools across the country using the so-called Challenge Index, which the Post says is a relatively simple measure.

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Education
3:32 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

New AISD Facilities Master Plan Would Include Dissenting Views

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is trying to resurrect a ten-year plan for managing school district facilities by including a wider range of input.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The woman in charge of the Austin Independent School District is trying to resurrect a ten-year grand strategy for managing the 12 million square feet of AISD buildings and other facilities.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen held a work session with the school board on Monday to try and hash out what changes should be made to the existing Facilities Master Plan to make it more politically palatable. The current plan, adopted by the board in March, was set aside by school board members in large part because it included an option to close nine schools.

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Education
12:23 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

AISD Takes Steps To Sell Downtown Headquarters and Baker Center

AISD's downtown headquarters sits on 2.75 acres of prime real estate off W. 6th St.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Facing a budget crisis, the Austin Independent School District is taking initial steps to sell two of its largest administrative properties: the 2.75 acre headquarters that sits on prime real estate on upscale W. 6th St., and the 4.4 acre Baker Center in trendy Hyde Park.

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Education
7:21 pm
Mon May 16, 2011

Austin ISD Superintendent Seeks To Revive Facilities Master Plan

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen (left) speaks with school board members Lori Moya and Vince Torres during tonight's meeting.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin public schools superintendent Meria Carstarphen is attempting to pick up and dust off a politically risky facilities master plan that was reluctantly accepted this spring by the nine elected volunteers who govern the largest school district in Central Texas.

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Education
12:53 pm
Mon May 9, 2011

Austin ISD Board To Mull Historic Tax Exemptions Tonight

This map shows the location of historic landmarks in Austin. The school board is getting ready to decide whether to reinstate a program that gives tax breaks to the owners of those properties.
Image courtesy Austin ISD

Until last summer, if you lived in a home that was deemed to be a historical landmark, you could get a big break on your school property tax bill. That came to an end in August 2010, when the Austin ISD school board decided to suspend those exemptions in the face of a looming fiscal crisis. Tonight, the board is scheduled to talk about whether to reinstate the program.

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Education
12:12 am
Tue April 26, 2011

AISD Board Buys Land For Performing Arts Center

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District took a big step last night toward building a district-wide performing arts center. They agreed to buy a 4.5 acre, $4 million plot of land near the Dell Children’s Medical Center to construct the building.  But that construction might not begin for several years.

The Austin ISD has been trying to build a performing arts center for decades.  But over the past few months, board members have been forced to grapple with a financial crisis.

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Austin
9:26 am
Mon April 25, 2011

Austin School Trustees To Hold Public Hearing On Budget

AISD has $690 million to spend on everything from school buses to teachers in the 2011-12 school year, but that's $94 million less than 2010-11.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The nine elected officials who govern the Austin school district want to hear from the public tonight on the largest financial challenge AISD has faced in recent memory: a $94.4 million projected budget gap.  The deficit has already been cut in half by the elimination of more than 1,000 positions, but board members still have a $46 million shortfall to confront.

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Education
3:16 pm
Fri April 22, 2011

State Education Boss Scraps Controversial Texas Projection Measure

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott at an event in February.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

A contentious calculation used by the state to measure academic performance at schools will be abandoned, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott announced today. The Texas Projection Measure (TPM) counted some students as passing, even if they failed, as long as they were algorithmically predicted to pass in the future. TPM had long drawn the ire of conservative business leaders, minority education activists and progressive policy groups.

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