AISD

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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Education
3:04 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Data App: Visual Breakdown Of AISD's Proposed 1,012 Job Cuts

Check out our data app below to see where Austin ISD plans to reduce its workforce.

Austin school district employees who may lose their jobs next school year will be notified by the end of today. A proposal by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen would eliminate 1,012 positions for an annual savings of $53.6 million.

The list of job cuts released by the district is difficult to read, so we have attempted to clarify what Carstarphen is proposing with this data app.  Click on "High School", "Middle School", "Elementary School", etc to see a breakdown by campus or department in the second box. This is an early attempt of ours to develop a data app, so please offer us your feedback in the comments.  

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Budgets
5:31 pm
Sat February 12, 2011

Joslin Elementary School Rally

Parents, children and staff members of Joslin Elementary in South Austin rallied Saturday to keep the school open.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Parents whose children attend Joslin Elementary marched around the school in South Austin Saturday to urge Austin school board members to keep it open.  Such rallies are becoming the norm for Austin weekends, at least since the AISD Facilities Task Force released initial options for closing schools. Thirteen schools were named, but the task force is doing things differently now. It's no longer naming schools.

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Education
4:38 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Austin ISD Superintendent Carstarphen Proposes More Than 1,000 Job Cuts

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen (file photo) is proposing the elimination of over 1,000 district jobs. Photo by KUT News.

 

Grappling with a budget deficit currently projected at $114 million, Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen will recommend school trustees eliminate 1,017 of its almost 12,000 positions.

Carstarphen was absent from an afternoon news conference to announce the proposal, because she was in New York City, according to district officials.  AISD human resources official Michael Houser spoke to the media in her absence.

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Education
12:02 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Read Preliminary Draft Of Austin ISD Facility Master Plan Task Force Report

An Austin school district task force will submit a draft report to school board members Monday. The report looks at how the district could use facilities more efficiently, and raises it includes the option of school closures Read the 320-page report for yourself below. You can also view fullscreen or download on this page (look for the Download button).

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Education
2:04 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

AISD Slates Make Up Day for May 30

Making up is hard to do. AISD sets their snow day make-good for May 30.
Image courtesy AISD

Last Friday found most Austin school children playing in a winter wonderland, enjoying a rare snow day.  But now comes the payback:  The Austin Independent School District has scheduled classes for Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, to make up for that lost curriculum day.

“Every single year, we build in bad weather days on the school calendars, so everybody knows what they are,” said Kathy Anthony, communication specialist at AISD. “But we don’t use them every year.” 

cold weather
11:13 am
Wed February 2, 2011

20 Of 124 Austin ISD Campuses Without Power At Any Given Time

Linder Elementary in warmer times.
Image by KUT News

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]."

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Education
11:31 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

AISD Task Force Won't Name Specific Campuses On Its List Of Closure Options

Image by KUT

No more naming schools names for possible closure. That's the decision of an Austin ISD task force responsible for coming up with options for the district's facilities.

This Facility Master Plan task force began meeting last Spring. It was supposed to develop a list of options for the district to manage its facilities: its schools, its offices, its warehouses, that kind of thing. But the process was quickly interrupted by parents last month who were traumatized when a draft list of options began naming specific schools as facilities that could be closed.

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Education
4:42 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Education Commissioner Urges Districts To Begin Making Hard Decisions About Cuts

Education Commissioner Robert Scott addressing school administrators at a conference in Austin said they need to start reducing their budgets now to show lawmakers they are willing to cooperate in helping to close the budget gap.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

With the state budget leaders proposing to cut as much as $10 billion from public education to help close a state budget gap of between $15 and $27 billion, Education Commissioner Robert Scott warned hundreds of school administrators gathered in Austin this afternoon that Texas is facing the most difficult legislative session for public education in his lifetime.

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Education
3:26 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

Zilker Parents Plan Protest Against School Closures Starting At 11:30 Tomorrow Morning

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Parents who have children in Zilker Elementary will march from their school to a lot next to Austin's Pizza on South Lamar Boulevard tomorrow. They are trying to raise awareness about a draft proposal by an Austin school district task force that could see Zilker closed and the children bussed to other facilities.

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