KUT News

AISD's Chief Finance Officer, Nicole Conley, presented a revised proposed $879 million  budget for the next fiscal year Monday night.

She said although Texas public schools may be getting $3.9 billion dollars restored from the $5.4 billion state lawmakers cut in 2011, AISD isn’t expecting much of a benefit locally from the partial funding restoration. 

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District Board approved a plan last night for the elementary and middle schools that feed into Eastside Memorial High.

Eastside hasn’t been meeting academic standards and could be shut down. In an effort to keep it open, the board approved a partnership with Johns Hopkins last month.  But that program’s plan didn’t include an outline of what should happen at feeder schools.

Kate McGee, KUT News

More than 100 Austin parents, teachers and community members gathered at Mendez Middle School Saturday for an immigration forum sponsored by the teachers union, Education Austin. Advocacy groups and organizations provided information to undocumented immigrants about a pathway to citizenship and the latest on immigration reform.

It's a process that advocates say can stress out many parents. But it can be a stressor on children as well.

Expect traffic congestion around the Frank Erwin Center to pick up over the next couple of days as area schools celebrate high school graduations.

Westlake High School students will get their diplomas at the Erwin Center tonight. Three other high schools have graduations scheduled there on Saturday: Hendrickson High School (9 a.m.), Pflugerville High School (11 a.m.) and Connally High School (1 p.m.).

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Update: On Twitter, AISD officials say an attempted "acid bomb" was responsible for the evacuation. 

Original post (11:44 a.m.): The Austin Fire Department says five kids and three adults are being treated in a Hazmat situation at Burnet Middle School in Northwest Austin. The Austin Independent School District says the cause appears to be some sort of chemical substance found in a student restroom.

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

Alumni from Johnston High School, now known as Eastside Memorial High School, are voicing concern over the likely takeover of their former campus by John Hopkins University. Austin ISD signed a contract with Johns Hopkins as part of a state-mandated effort to revive sagging test scores at the school. But Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams still has to approve the plan, or shut down the campus.

The recent tornado in Oklahoma and the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last year have increased people’s awareness of emergency management at schools. 

At the University of Texas’s Police Building, the Emergency Operation Center is quiet right now. But David Cronk, UT’s Emergency Preparedness director, says when there’s a threat or major event, the room can get pretty crowded.

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Update: The lockdown at Webb Middle and primary schools has been lifted, according to AISD officials. Schools will resume a regular schedule. APD was not immediately available to confirm whether or not the suspect has been apprehended.

Original Story (12:18 p.m.): Webb Middle and primary schools are on lock down as Austin Police search for a possibly armed suspect in the St. Johns/I-35 area, according to Austin Independent School District.

The man is suspected to be connected to a woman who tried to cash a forged check this morning on the 6400 block of US-290.

KUT News

Preliminary standardized test scores for this school year show improvements in multiple subjects at Eastside Memorial High School – a school that has had a history of failure going back nearly a decade.

According to unofficial data presented to Eastside Memorial teachers this week, 90 percent of students passed the TAKS end of year exam in English and Language Arts. That’s a nearly 20 percent jump from last year. 

KUT News

The Austin School Board Monday night approved a contract with Johns Hopkins University to implement its program — Talent Development Secondary — at Eastside Memorial High School. The decision comes after AISD canceled a contract with a charter school company to run an elementary school that fed into the high school.

The contract now goes to the Texas Education Commissioner for final approval. Although the vote was unanimous, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen questioned if the commissioner would approve the contract.

Voices Empower with Alice Linahan/flickr

In a new statewide ranking of schools, Austin has some of the best grades and some of the worst.

The group – Children at Risk – grades schools on an A through F scale. Out of the four major metro areas in Texas, the Austin area has the highest percentage of campuses with A's.

KUT News

The Austin School Board tonight will consider contracting with a company to put advertisements on the side of school buses. 

Cynthia Calvert owns the company Steep Creek Media. AISD is recommending the board approve a three year contract with the company.

courtesy Austin ISD

The Austin school district is opening a district-wide outdoor learning center this evening next to Pleasant Hill Elementary school in South Austin. The quarter-acre center (PDF) includes 150 species of native plants, 22 habitat sites and a rainwater harvesting system.

Marya Fowler with the National Wildlife Federation says it’s the first of its kind in Central Texas.

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Some Austin school board members say the failure of bond Proposition 2 means the opening of a new high school in South Austin will most likely be delayed.

The proposition included $8 million for studies to design the new high school. Officials say now the district will have to wait until the next bond election.

This failure of AISD bond Proposition 4 means the district's two schools for disabled children won't be getting as many renovations and repairs as the district had proposed.

Prop 4 would've put $10 million toward the district's two schools for disabled children, the Rosedale School and the Clifton Career Development Center. It also would have earmarked money for Career and Technical and Fine Art programs.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin voters rejected two out of four school bonds on Saturday. At $892 million, it was the largest proposed bond in AISD history.

We spoke with local education reporter Laura Heinauer to learn more. Click the player above to hear our conversation as it aired on KUT. 

KUT News

Austin Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said voters sent a message to the school board in this Saturday’s bond election: Work with what you have.

Carstarphen said that the $490 million approved for Austin schools will help the district focus on what she called “critical needs.” But she added that voters’ rejection of Propositions 2 and 4 could mean that AISD will use cost-saving measures.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Residents at the Oak Creek Village apartments in south Austin are waiting to see if the state grants a developer tax incentives to construct a new, larger complex in its place.  The developer, Eureka Family Group, wants to keep 173 units as affordable housing — which would allow current residents to stay in their homes.

But, if the state doesn't approve the project, many residents might have to move.  Educators and parents at the nearby school — Travis Heights Elementary — are also concerned.

KUT News

Polls are now open across Austin for AISD's $892 million dollar bond election. 

Registered voters can vote with a voter registration card, driver’s license or official photo ID, birth certificate, United States citizenship papers or passport, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, or other official document that shows the name and address of the voter. There are many voting locations across Austin.

The bond is separated into four propositions. Each prop would use that money for different projects -everything from basic repairs to constructing new schools. 

Jason Brackins, Texas Tribune

Saturday is the last chance to vote in the Austin school district’s bond election. It’s the district’s largest bond proposition ever: $892 million.

Austin residents will four propositions to vote on. The propositions divide the nearly package by topics and projects.