austin isd

Austin ISD
5:12 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Austin Teachers Union Wants AISD to Reinstate Salary Bump

Education Austin President Ken Zarifis at a rally in support of three-year contracts for teachers. The union is asking AISD to reinstate a 1.5% bonus for teachers next year that is currently not included in the next budget.
Credit Kate McGee, KUT NEws

The local teacher's union is asking Austin ISD to reinstate a 1.5 percent bonus for all district employees for the 2014-2015 school year. The district and the union are expected to meet on the matter Wednesday.

For the past two years, the district has provided a 3 percent pay increase for employees. This academic year, it approved a one-time, 1.5 percent increase on top of that. But the 1.5 percent salary adjustment is not included in the FY 2015 preliminary budget assumptions.

Now, Education Austin is asking the district to change that.

"Our district looks a little different than it did a month ago," Zarifis says referring to the departure of Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. "We believe this is an opportunity to find out if we're going to do things different."

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Education
6:38 am
Fri April 18, 2014

It's Good Friday – But Some Area School Districts Are Holding Classes

Several area school districts have to make up classes missed due to bad weather this winter.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Most Austin area school districts are closed today for the Good Friday holiday. But some students will be attending class.

That’s because they’re making up days off for bad weather earlier in the school year.

DO have school:

  • Burnet ISD will have regular school hours today.
  • Del Valle ISD is holding classes today.
  • Dripping Springs ISD is holding classes today and on Memorial Day to make up for canceled classes.
  • Eanes ISD is holding classes today. The rest of the school year will continue as planned.
  • Lockhart ISD will hold regular school hours today and on Memorial Day.
  • Manor ISD is holding classes today as a make-up. There will not be classes on Memorial Day.
  • Texas School for the Deaf will have regular school hours today.
  • Wimberley ISD is also holding classes this Good Friday.

DO NOT have school:

  • Austin ISD is off today. AISD has no make-up days scheduled for the rest of the school year.
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Austin ISD
9:12 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Austin School Superintendent Carstarphen Leaving for Atlanta

AISD Supt. Carstarphen is leaving Austin ISD for Atlanta Public Schools.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has been named as the sole finalist for the superintendent job in Atlanta, Georgia.

She was chosen from a list of four candidates for the position.

Carstarphen came to Austin ISD in 2009. The district has faced significant challenges during her tenure, including $60 million in funding cuts after the 2011 Legislative session.

In a statement today, Carstarphen said Austin had risen to meet those challenges.

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AISD
11:50 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Austin School Board Approves Three-Year Teacher Contracts

The Austin School Board is scheduled to vote Monday whether to go from one-year to three-year teacher contracts
Nathan Bernier, KUT News.

Update:  The Austin School Board voted to reinstate three-year contracts for teachers and principals in a five to four vote Monday night. At the same meeting, school district officials also proposed to to close a projected $32 million budget gap for Fiscal Year 2015. 

The decision to move to three-year contracts comes after the school district and teacher's union, Education Austin, came to an impasse over the issue last month. Austin ISD went from three to one year contracts in 2011, when the state legislature cut billions in public education funding, also forcing the district to lay off more than 1,000 employees.

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Turning The Corner
8:18 am
Fri February 21, 2014

This Dove Springs Librarian Tells Austin Students to 'Get Mad' and Demand an Education

For the past 11 years, Ivan Cervantes has served as the librarian at Mendez Middle School. He began a program that allows students to use computers and play learning-oriented games before school each morning.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

This article is part of KUT's year-long series called Turning the Corner, which takes a look at Austin's Dove Springs neighborhood. For decades, the neighborhood has had a negative reputation. Now, many community members are trying to change the perception of the 78744 zip code. Listen to those stories here.

In low-income neighborhoods around Austin, 87 percent of children entering kindergarten are considered unprepared for school, which means many of them lack basic literacy skills. At Mendez Middle School in Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood, that struggle is obvious. Last year, less than half of Mendez sixth graders passed the state standardized test for reading. 

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Education
12:46 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Austin Drivers Should Slow Down in School Zones Today Though Lights May Not Flash

City crews are working to program lights to flash today.
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Lan56

Many area school kids are in class today despite the Presidents' Day holiday. They’re making up for a day missed due to winter weather.

City of Austin Transportation crews are working to manually re-program flashing school zone lights warning drivers to slow down. But only about one-sixth were ready before the start of school this morning.

“If a driver comes up to a school zone and they know that the school is in session and the flasher aren’t going, they should use that same level of caution, drive slower and be aware of students in the area," city spokesperson Samantha Park said.

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Education
4:27 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

How Do Austin Students Compare to Other Cities?

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen (right), praised Austin students for thieir scores on a national test.
Roy Varney KUT

Austin public school students in fourth and eighth grade scored higher in math and reading than students in other large cities, according to results from a new government study released Wednesday. 

The report looks at results from a national standardized test given to 21 urban school districts with populations of 250,000 people or more. It’s part of the National Center for Education Statistics' National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

While the results are positive, the scores remained relatively flat from 2011 –  the last time Austin students took the test.

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Education
10:36 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Austin School Board Shows Support for Superintendent Carstarphen

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen received a glowing evaluation from the Austin School Board last night. They praised her for improving graduation rates and keeping a balanced budget.
KUT News

If you attended your first Austin school board meeting Monday night, you would have never guessed Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has ever received criticism from school board members, the teachers union, Education Austin, or the Austin community.

Austin School Board President Vincent Torres commended the superintendent in the board's annual evaluation, recognizing the challenges the district faces and outlining the district's achievements over the last year. He highlighted improved graduation rates, dual language programs, early childhood education, and the superintendent's ability to balance the budget in the face of continued cuts from the state.

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Music
1:03 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

How Austin's Anderson High School Got Phoenix to Play Their Gym

Phoenix performing in the Anderson High School gym last night.
Jenna Macaroni http://instagram.com/p/fMOLxAjT29/

When you were in high school, wouldn’t you have loved to have a cool band play in your gym? I remember trying to get the band Karp to play my high school in the 1990s, but the teacher who sponsored the student council balked once he heard what they sound like. Instead, they spent the money on a Top 40 video dance party with fog machines. 

But last night, Anderson High School in Austin ISD did what my high school could never do: They hosted a secret show for the French dance-rockers Phoenix. (While considerably more accessible than any post-hardcore band, it's a remarkable achievement nonetheless.)

“Seriously how the hell does Anderson book Phoenix to play a gig at their school and Pflugerville gets Granger Smith #injustice,” tweeted one envious teen.

“Phoenix at Anderson? Lucky bastards,” said another.

Indeed. So, how did it happen?

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Education
7:56 am
Wed August 28, 2013

AISD Board Approves Budget, Domestic Partner Benefits

A view from Austin ISD's headquarters on W. 6th St.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin Independent School District employees will start to learn more today about adding an unmarried partner to their health insurance benefits.

The AISD board approved last night expanding benefits to people a district spokesman calls the “unmarried, committed” partners of regular, full-time AISD employees.

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Education
1:45 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

AISD Head Talks Challenges, Successes and Changes in Austin's Public Schools

KUT News

Today is the first day of school for Austin ISD, and that means nearly 90,000 students filling hallways. Meria Carstarphen, AISD’s superintendent, sees the biggest challenges in a successful year as student safety, school funding, and STAAR testing.

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AISD Portable Classrooms
6:54 am
Wed June 12, 2013

What is AISD's Future Plan for Portable Classrooms?

AISD Portable Classroom at Murchison Middle School.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

For at least fifty years, the Austin Independent School District has used portable classrooms as a way to relieve overcrowding. Yesterday, KUT reported more than half of the nearly 650 portables are over 25 years old – some are more than 50 years old. Many teachers and parents say portables conditions are poor.

But what – if anything – can the school district can do about it? 

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Education
8:19 am
Tue June 11, 2013

AISD STAAR Scores Inch Up – Still Well Below Future Standards

A sample question on a STAAR test.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District saw minimal gains on this year’s STAAR tests compared to last year.

Reading, math, science and social studies passage rates each increased by three percentage points from the previous year. Students showed the best results in reading with 79 percent passing in all demographics – including racial minorities and the economically disadvantaged.

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Education
6:43 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

What Does AISD Bond Vote Mean?

Money for school buses was one measure approved by voters Saturday
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Interview with education reporter Laura Heinauer

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. 

Austin
7:13 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Voter Registration Deadline Tomorrow (Updated)

New or relocated voters should register for upcoming local elections by April 11.
KUT News

Update: Tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in the May election.

If you’ve moved since the last time you voted – you’ll have to register again. In Travis County, you can register in person at one of tax office locations, mail in an application – which are available at post offices and libraries, or update your information online.

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Education
11:13 am
Tue April 9, 2013

AISD Teacher Accused of Aggravated Sexual Assault (Update)

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update:  Austin school district police say John Joseph Vasquez, a Blazier Elementary school teacher, was arrested Monday for alleged aggravated sexual assault and improper relationship between an educator and a student.

On April 1, the parent of a former AISD student contacted district police alleging the student had been assaulted as a first grader from January to March of 2011. District police conducted a forensic interview with the child, who did not wish to be identified. Police also conducted a short interview with the suspect. District Police Chief Eric Mendez says there may have been multiple incidences, but the investigation is still ongoing. Mendez says there is no reason to believe there are other victims. 

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Education
4:02 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Your Kid's Campus Will Get a Letter Grade Next School Year

An AISD facilities map. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced his decision to issue letter grades today.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Texas schools and school districts will be labeled from A to F starting next school year.

The new system will replace the current labels that range from academically unacceptable to exemplary. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams explained his decision today to the state’s Senate Education Committee.

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Education
6:52 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

ACLU Inquiring into AISD Plans for Single-Sex Middle Schools

Pearce Middle School and Garcia Middle School will become single-sex campuses under an AISD plan.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The American Civil Liberties Union wants information from the Austin school district about its plans to convert Pearce and Garcia middle schools into single-sex campuses.

The school board approved the controversial plan in January as part of its effort to improve educational outcomes at the two struggling campuses in northeast Austin. The plan takes effect in the 2014-2015 school year.

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Education
6:14 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

AISD Sued Over Eastside Documents

Eastside Memorial High School has fallen short of state standards for years.
KUT News

A lawsuit filed today accuses the Austin school district of withholding public information on plans for Eastside Memorial High School.

AISD says it needs to find a third party to help run the troubled school to prevent the state from taking it over. Eastside has not met state academic accountability standards for nearly a decade.

But Steve Swanson, a member of the school’s campus advisory committee, says repeated open-records requests he’s submitted to the district have not turned up planning process documents for the campus. So he’s suing in Travis County District Court.

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Education
7:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

New AISD Elementary School Named After Former Teacher

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The new elementary school being built in north Austin now has a name: Dr. Janis Guerrero Thompson Elementary. The Austin Independent School District Board voted last night to approve the name.

Dr. Guerrero Thompson was a native Austinite who taught high school in AISD and later worked as the district’s Executive Director for Planning and Community Relations.

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