AISD

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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

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

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.

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:

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

Image courtesy Jonathan Pobre http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnny/

The Texas Education Agency isn't the only organization bracing for cuts to education spending as lawmakers look to rein in a budget gap that could exceed $25 billion.  School districts are also girding for what they dread will be severe cuts to public education.

Round Rock ISD has enacted a hiring freeze, as we reported yesterday.  

AISD headquarters
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District began accepting transfer requests today, and for the first time, AISD is using a lottery system to award transfers. The end of the longstanding first-come-first-served system means parents no longer have to camp overnight outside school district headquarters to improve their child's odds of having the transfer request granted.

"This will be just a much more family friendly process," AISD spokesperson Carmen Luevanos told KUT News.

Sign at AISD headquarters
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

We already knew the Austin Independent School District missed federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards this year, but the district held out hope it could appeal and improve its ranking.

Logo courtesy of the Austin Independent School District.

AISD Changes Class Rank Calculation

Last night the Austin School Board approved changes to the way class rank is determined.  Class rank will now be calculated using a student's highest grades in 16 core classes such as math and science, plus two foreign languages.  That means electives such as home economics will no longer count for class rank. The

A Handful of Texas Teams are Going Bowling

crayons
flickr.com/laffy4k

The Austin teachers' association Education Austin is planning to stage a rally tonight outside Austin Independent School District headquarters. The local group, representing about 4,000 teachers and school staff, wants the Austin ISD school board to maintain full-day pre-kindergarten and not reduce planning time for high school teachers.

KUT’s Ben Philpott spoke with Rae Nwosu, co-president of Education Austin.

The Austin Independent School District will officially dedicate its newest elementary school on Sunday at 2 p.m. Ross F. Baldwin Elementary was constructed over the course of a year at 12200 Meridian Park Blvd.

AISD Carruth Administration Center
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

When the Austin Independent School District constructs a school, it doesn't always know how many children that building will have to serve in ten, twenty, or thirty years' time.

Hallway at Eastside Memorial High School
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin School Trustees are holding a special meeting tonight to discuss a personnel matter that pits some teachers at Eastside Global Tech High against the school's principal.

The latest documentary by the guy who made "An Inconvenient Truth" has been in theaters almost a month, but it is still sending reverberations throughout the local education community. The reaction has been most defensive among proponents of traditional public schools, which the filmmaker skewers.

"Waiting for Superman" follows several children, mostly in urban school districts, who are not getting the education they need and are trying to enroll in charter schools.

Dan Liu is a 16-year-old senior at Austin ISD's Liberal Arts and Science Academy at LBJ High School.  Yes, he's just 16 and going to graduate high school this Spring.  Liu and some of his friends at math camp won the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. It's a science competition for high school students.

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