AISD

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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Education
4:05 pm
Thu January 27, 2011

AISD Proposes More School Closings

The Austin Independent School District is discussing four more options for possible school closures. Becker, Blackshear, Dawson and Govalle elementary schools have been added to the list of schools that could be considered for closure, and Garcia elementary could be re-purposed as school for 4th-8th graders.

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Education
1:05 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Think $113 Million AISD Deficit Is Bad? Consider This Armageddon Scenario

People gathered at an AISD board meeting last night to protest cuts to the budget. Those cuts could get a lot more severe if state lawmakers implement them under the under the additional state aid for tax reduction (ASATR) program.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin School Trustees acknowledged they were left with no easy choices last night as they voted 9-0 to approve a plan that would eliminate 485 jobs next school year, mostly teachers. The decision was based on a plan to reduce the $113 million projected budget gap without cutting full day pre-K.

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Education
1:34 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Austin School Board Approves 485 Job Cuts But Balanced Budget Still Distant

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school board president Mark Williams listen to angry parents during public comment period of last night's board meeting.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

January is School Board Recognition Month, and while board members received gift baskets and pictures drawn by children, the people who packed into last night’s school board meeting were in no mood to celebrate. During the public comment section of the board meeting, people responded to some of the most controversial budget reduction proposals – everything from laying off teachers and librarians to closing neighborhood schools.

But school closures were not on the menu last night. Board members were faced with a different set of unpleasant options. They involved changing staffing formulas to eliminate hundreds of teachers and dozens of librarians, among other employees.

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Education
11:27 am
Mon January 24, 2011

Austin School Board To Consider Axing 536 Jobs At Tonight's Meeting

The courtyard outside AISD board meeting room will be bustling tonight as trustees consider tough choices about how to close a budget gap.
Image by KUT News

It's going to be a busy night at Austin Independent School District headquarters as board members confront some of the toughest decisions they have been asked to make in their careers as school district leaders.

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News Brief
5:26 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 21, 2011

Fire expert Craig Beyler testifies before the Texas Forensic Science Commission at a meeting earlier this month. Today the Commission is reviewing testimony from Beyler and other fire experts on the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

Willingham Probe Continues

The Texas Forensic Science Commission will once again take up the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case today.  The panel will consider testimony it heard earlier this month from fire experts who differed on whether the original investigation was sound.  Some experts say investigators relied on flawed science and that the fire should not have been ruled arson. 

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Education
12:52 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

Schools Would Not Close In 2011 (And Other Misperceptions AISD Battles As It Seeks To Sell Closures)

About 700 people attended a public meeting at the Delco Center last night to discuss school closure options that could be considered by AISD.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Emotions ran high at the first of two public meetings last night intended to give people an opportunity to respond to school closure options developed by an Austin Independent School District task force

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Austin
8:59 am
Wed January 12, 2011

Wednesday Morning Update, January 12, 2011

With opening day pomp disposed of, both the Texas House and Senate get down to business today.
Photo by Dave Bernstein for KUT News

Senate Rules Vote

The Texas Senate will vote on the rules it will use for the 82nd Legislature today.  Key among the votes is the so-called "2/3rds Vote."  State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) is expected to lead a charge that eliminates the requirement that 2/3rds of senators voting can bring legislation to the floor.  Other Republican senators may try to exempt specific legislation, such as Voter ID, immigration, and some other legislation, exempt from the rule. 

AISD Facilities Input

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Education
11:55 am
Tue January 11, 2011

Austin ISD to Take Comments on Facilities Proposals

Image courtesy Austin Independent School District

The Austin Independent School District will take public input tomorrow and Thursday nights on a proposal that—as it's currently written—would close eight elementary schools and a middle school.

The schools on the block currently are Joslin, Pease, Brooke, Ortega, Oak Springs, Sanchez, Barton Springs and Zilker Elementary Schools and Pearce Middle School.

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Politics
1:59 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

How To Watch The 2011 Legislative Session From The Comfort Of Home

Image Courtesy StarMama http://www.flickr.com/photos/thestarmama/

Political junkies who don't have time to spend all day at the Capitol can watch the Texas legislative session unfold from behind a TV or computer monitor.

Here's how you can do it:

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Education
12:55 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Austin ISD Projects 31 Elementary Schools Will Be Over Capacity By 2015-16

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

A massive influx of young children to the Austin Independent School District will cause more than third of AISD elementary schools to be bursting at the seams by 2015-16 school year, according to a demographic projection and

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