AISD

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.

flickr.com/cool.as.a.cucumber

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 for the 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.

whiteafrican via flickr

Update: Early voting ends today for the AISD bond election. 

Original post: Early voting starts today for the Austin Independent School District bond election.

Voters will make a decision on a $892 million bond for AISD. The bond is split into four parts and would go towards things such relieving overcrowded schoolsincreasing security, technology upgrades and more. You can view a sample ballot provided by the Travis County Clerk's Office listing each proposition.

Teodora Erbes/flickr

Update (10:14 p.m.): The Austin School Board Monday night unanimously approved a committee recommendation to partner with Johns Hopkins University to help run Eastside Memorial High School. The decision comes after years of debate between community and school board members over the future of Eastside, a school that has been underperforming for almost a decade.

"I think this is just the beginning," Trustee Gina Hinojosa said at Monday's meeting.

More than 15 community members spoke in support of Johns Hopkins University's Talent Development Secondary program. It was recommended by a committee of parents, teachers and AISD officials. The committee reviewed five proposals before making its recommendation.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Austin American-Statesman editorial board surprised local politics watchers this weekend by voicing opposition to the Austin Independent School District’s $892 million bond package. The daily recommended taxpayers vote against all four bond propositions.

The editorial board said while it’s a strong supporter of public education, it “cannot in good conscience recommend approval of a package that is riddled with questionable cost estimates and expenditures and rushed for inclusion on the May ballot.”

KUT News

Update:  If there’s one word that sums up Eastside Memorial High School’s recent history, it would be, “change.”

In 2008, its name was changed from Johnston High School to Eastside Memorial.  In 2011, the School Board changed the way the school functioned. It partnered with the charter school company—IDEA—to run the school. Then, in 2012, the School Board changed its mind and canceled that contract. On Monday, the board is expected to vote on another change: a new partner to help AISD run the school.  

flickr.com/Cinderellasg

A majority of Austin high schools are seeing increased attendance, according to an online data tool from the district. But only three of the district's high schools have attendance rates above the 2012 goal AISD laid out in its Strategic Plan.

Anderson, Bowie and the Liberal Arts and Science Academy are the only high schools in the district with attendance rates over 93 percent. In the district’s Strategic Plan, the goal was attendance rates for all students above that by 2012. 

KUT News

An online tool that measures attendance at Austin public schools shows attendance at most of the district’s high schools is up a little. And an increase by even half a percentage point can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars more in state funding.

In Texas, public education funding is linked to attendance rates: Fewer students attending class means less money from the state. 

Kate McGee, KUT News

By law, the Austin Independent School District can’t advocate for or against the $892 million bond it’s proposed to voters. But that doesn’t mean outside groups haven't expressed support or opposition – specifically with their checkbooks.

In its April campaign finance report, the Vote for Our Kids political action committee reported $30,796 in donations for the bond election. Almost all of the contributors are developers and construction companies, as well as private donors affiliated with those trades.

KUT News

Just over one percent of registered Travis County voters have cast a ballot in the May election so far. Early voting began Monday. The big item on the ballot is the Austin Independent School District’s bond.

Most of Austin ISD's $892 million in bond proposals would put money towards repairs and construction in schools district-wide. But Proposition 4 would allocate $168 million dollars towards academics and athletics, along with facility upgrades to implement those programs.

flickr.com/whiteafrican

Early voting is underway for the $892 million bond proposal from the Austin Independent School District. The district decided to hold the election in May – as it usually does. But now, the Austin City Council decided to move its general elections from May to November. 

With turnout expected to be extremely low, will AISD continue to keep its elections in May?

KUT News

Early voting for the Austin Independent School District $892 million bond begins Monday. The bond is split into four propositions, based on a variety of projects from systemic repairs to improvements to relieve overcrowding. 

AISD says enrollment has grown by about 1,000 students per year, two to three times faster than the state average. The district is hoping to relieve some of the overcrowding that's come with that growth. Prop 2 would borrow $234 million to do that. Some of it goes toward school security, but most of the money is earmarked for expanding existing schools and building new ones. 

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

An effort to derail the Austin school district’s bond election was unsuccessful Friday.

A Travis County Court judge refused a request for a temporary restraining order to stop the vote. The order was sought by the Travis County Taxpayer Union. The group contends the official ballot language doesn’t say anything about how much each proposition would cost voters. 

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