AISD

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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Austin
11:52 am
Fri April 22, 2011

AISD Board To Vote On Buying $4 Million Tract For Arts Center

A view of the sky from AISD headquarters. School board members will gather here on Monday to vote on a $4.1 million contract to buy land for a performing arts center.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin School Trustees have been grappling with a projected $94.4 million budget shortfall, forcing tough decisions like cuts to jobs and programs. But on Monday night, the school board will have an entirely different decision to make: whether to buy a $4.1 million tract of land on which to build a district-wide performing arts center.

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Politics
11:31 am
Thu April 21, 2011

Texas Senate Budget Spends Another $3 Billion From Rainy Day Fund

In an 11-4 vote, the Senate Finance Committee approved a spending plan that draws another $3 billion from the Rainy Day Fund.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Texas Senate Finance Committee has approved a budget that spends down an additional $3 billion from the state's Rainy Day fund, according to our political reporting partner the Texas Tribune.  The 11-4 vote came faster than expected this morning, and it sets up a showdown between House and Senate lawmakers.

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Education
4:53 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Austin ISD Expanding Dual Language Program To Six Schools

Photo by KUT News

Two more elementary schools will offer dual language programs in the Austin Independent School District this fall. Sunset Valley Elementary and Travis Heights Elementary will join Becker, Ridgetop, Perez and Wooten elementary schools. The program will be offered to Pre-K and first grade students only, and will expand as students age.

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Education
11:55 am
Wed April 20, 2011

Central Texas Superintendent Salaries Per Enrolled Student

With Central Texas superintendents shedding portions of their salaries to share the pain of public school cuts, we thought it would be interesting to compare their base salaries. We then broke it down on a dollar per student basis.  Continue reading for an interactive graph.

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News Brief
6:11 am
Tue April 19, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 19, 2011

Devastation from the 100-acre fire in Oak Hill on Sunday.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News

Monitoring Oak Hill Hot Spots

The Austin Fire Department says eight firefighters are still in Oak Hill looking out for any hot spots from Sunday’s 100-acre blaze.  Firefighters worked overnight and officials say the fire is around 90 percent contained this morning.

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Education
12:40 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Austin School Trustees To Discuss Advertising On School Buses

Austin ISD buses are currently devoid of any advertising, but that could change.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The nine elected men and women who govern the Austin school district will meet for a work session tonight aimed at tackling some of the options on the table for closing a projected budget gap of $94 million. One of those options would see advertising sold on the sides of school buses.

The proposal being investigated by AISD Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Fryer would split advertising revenue equally with the district and the vendor. AISD would retain full control over the content and type of advertising.

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Education
12:00 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Superintendent Carstarphen's KUT Interview Scrutinized By PolitiFact

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen in 2009, shortly before she was hired by the school board.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen sat down with KUT for a rare one-on-one interview this month covering a broad range of topics facing the school district as it grapples with a projected $94 million deficit. One statement Dr. Carstarphen made about Pease Elementary School caught the attention of eagle-eyed journalists at PolitiFact Texas.

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Arts and Culture
7:37 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Watch Reagan High School Band Peforming with Kanye West

This morning's Austin American-Statesman reports on what was likely a dream come true for kids in the Reagan High School band: performing with Kanye West at the Seaholm Power Plant during SXSW.

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Education
11:30 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Ask The AISD Superintendent About The Budget Tonight

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks to reporters with her CFO Nicole Conley-Abram in the background. The two will be answering questions about the budget tonight at Bowie High School.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen will be out in public again this evening with her financial chief, Nicole Conley-Abram, trying to explain the school district's budget situation and take input from the public.

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Education
4:24 pm
Mon March 28, 2011

Austin School Trustees To Vote On Job Cuts, Facilities Master Plan

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school board president Mark Williams at a board meeting in February.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The pink slips have already been sent to hundreds of employees in the Austin Independent School District. Tonight, the nine men and women on the AISD board of trustees will vote on whether to officially enact those job cuts. At the same time, a year-long process to develop a master plan for school district facilities will reach its culmination when board members are asked to approve the 10-year plan.

Both issues are highly contentious because of their broad implications for employees, students, and parents.

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Education
2:34 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

East Austin Charter School Wants To Lease Eastside Memorial High

Southwest Key operates a charter school in East Austin and wants to lease the Eastside Memorial High building to expand its prep academy.
Photo by KUT News

Southwest Key, a national non-profit that operates a charter school in East Austin, is offering to lease Eastside Memorial High School and operate a prep academy in the building. Eastside Memorial currently houses a Global Tech High School and a Green Tech High School.  The Green Tech High was the only school in Austin ISD to be ranked "academically unacceptable" last year by the Texas Education Agency.

"That school has been low-performing for 11 or 12 consecutive years," communications consultant Paul Saldaña told KUT News. Saldaña's firm, Brisa Communications, is advocating on behalf of Southwest Key.

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Education
11:05 pm
Thu March 24, 2011

Lawmakers Scale Back Education Cuts But AISD Still Troubled

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks to reporters school district financial chief Nicole Conley-Abram stands to the side, ready to answer more technical questions about the $94.4 million budget.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

State Senators writing a spending plan for Texas approved a measure yesterday that would soften the blow to public education.  The initial budget bill called for a cut of almost $10 billion. Senator Florence Shapiro said school districts cannot absorb that punch.

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Education
9:39 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Austin ISD Wants Your Answers To The Budget Crisis Tonight

AISD wants public input on how to close its estimated $94 million budget gap without drastically affecting the quality of education at schools like Linder Elementary, pictured above.
Photo by KUT News

School districts across Texas are in the sticky situation of trying to calibrate their spending for the next year without knowing exactly how deeply the state will cut public education. The largest school district in Central Texas, Austin ISD, will hold the first of two public hearings tonight to seek public input on how it should manage a projected $94 million shortfall, even though a large portion of that deficit has already been slashed through the elimination of more than 1,100 jobs.

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Education
4:05 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Hochberg Files Bill To Illustrate Education Cuts District-By-District

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/

It's not often that state lawmakers admit they don't like the bill they just filed, but that's exactly what State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) did today after filing HB 2485.  The bill is accompanied by a spreadsheet that shows how drastic cuts to public education would affect individual school districts.

"We'll be laying out a budget that cuts $9.8 billion out of the schools.  But that's a number that doesn't mean anything to a legislator unless they know that means you're taking between $500 and $2,500 dollars per WADA (weighted average daily attendance) out of their local district," Hochberg said.

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Education
6:51 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Austin School Trustees Reject $10,000 Resignation Incentive

The sun rises over AISD headquarters. Last night, trustees opted not to offer $10,000 incentives to teachers who resign voluntarily.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

 

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees last night opted not to adopt a plan to pay contract educators $10,000 for resigning voluntarily, reports Community Impact News.

According to Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, the board's recommendation stems from the possibility of AISD paying both incentive packages and unemployment insurance benefits, which would not save the district money.

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Education
12:32 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

AISD Board Votes Tonight On Paying Teachers $10,000 To Quit

Image courtesy AMagill http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/

In an effort to alleviate the pain inflicted by deleting more than 1,100 jobs, Austin School Trustees will consider a proposal tonight that would offer $10,000 lump sum payouts to teachers who resign voluntarily. The money would be provided in lieu of unemployment benefits of up to $10,790 per employee. A similar plan enacted in Dallas has proven popular, but AISD could be hindered by its advance notification of employees whose jobs are up for elimination.

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Education
11:43 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Austin School Trustees Receive Final Facilities Plan Monday Night

Austin School Trustees will receive a facilities master plan report Monday night that has stirred anxiety among parents worried it could result in their schools being closed.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

After a year of meetings and rancorous debate, the Austin ISD school board on Monday night will receive a ten year plan the recommends how it manage its buildings, athletic centers, and other facilities.

The Facility Master Plan Task Force's discussion about how the district could save money by closing and consolidating campuses sparked off a wave of protests, mostly by inner city parents flabbergasted that their high-performing schools would even be mentioned for closure.

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Education
1:43 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Austin School Board Declares Financial Exigency

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school board president Mark Williams during school board meeting Monday night.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

After a marathon board meeting, Austin School Trustees voted in the wee morning hours to declare the district to be in a state of financial exigency. The declaration will give Superintendent Meria Carstarphen more power to reduce AISD's projected budget deficit of $94 million.

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Education
11:28 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Austin School Trustees To Vote Monday On Financial Exigency

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen appears in a YouTube video posted by the district this week explaining the dire budget situation.

Austin school board members will be asked to vote Monday night on a resolution that would declare the district to be in a state of "financial exigency", or "financial emergency" in common English. Such a move would grant more flexible staffing powers to Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who has proposed laying off more than 1,000 people to help close the school district's budget deficit, currently estimated to be in the neighborhood of $94 million.

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