austin isd

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

It’s a familiar story that’s now repeated itself for three Austin School Board election cycles. The political action committee, Austin Kids First, and the local teacher’s union, Education Austin, have donated the most money to the campaigns of local school board candidates.

Mengwen Cao/KUT

Every fall, Education Austin President Ken Zarifis says the local teacher's union has to talk with at least one Austin ISD campus about teacher planning periods – the free time during the school day in which teachers can plan classes, talk with students or meet with other teachers. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz chatted with six Reagan Early College High School students as they gathered at the ACC Highland Mall campus' early voting center on Monday afternoon to cast their ballots on their way to class. The students are among 1,963 young adults in AISD schools that are age 18 or older this month.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

If you live within the Austin Independent School District, you have at least one Austin School Board race on your ballot: the at-large school board trustee. Two candidates, Cindy Anderson and David Quintanilla, are running to replace Trustee Gina Hinojosa, who is running for a Texas House seat vacated last year.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin ISD didn’t see as big of an enrollment dip as they thought they would six weeks into the 2016-2017 school year, but enrollment is still down from last year by 541 students.

The district had help from a new transfer policy, which allows students who live outside the district to transfer into AISD schools with space.  This year, the district received 1,434 out-of-district transfer requests. 802 of those requests came from families who are not employees in AISD.

Kate McGee/KUT News

Some Austin School Board members say the city needs safer, more connected sidewalks for students to walk to school. That's why they joined other Hispanic political and business leaders today in support of the $720 million transportation bond put forth by the Austin City Council.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

You probably weren't streaming Monday night's Austin School Board meeting and there's even less of a chance that you were at the meeting itself. Don't worry, we've got you covered. 

Here's a break down of all the night’s action:

KUT News

The number of households with children in Austin is decreasing—especially in the city’s urban core. That means there are more people eligible to vote for Austin ISD School Board trustees who don’t have any children in their neighborhood schools.

Here are a few reasons why you should still care about these school board elections, even if you don’t have kids. 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

On Election Day four years ago, more than half of the Austin School Board of trustees were replaced.  

The school board had just approved a contract with IDEA public schools to run Allan Elementary. And community members were angry about the decision. They showed it at the ballot box—voting for Trustees Gina Hinojosa, Jayme Mathias and Ann Teich. Those trustees were elected on the promise of restoring community trust in the district—and improving community engagement. 

Has that happened?

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Ambres Kearney’s muscle memory flares up every time he drives back to his East Austin alma mater, Anderson High School. As he pulls into the U-shaped parking lot, he instinctively tries to park his car in the same spot where he parked his 1963 burnt orange Chevrolet 45 years ago as a high school senior. 

“My wife said ‘Where are you going?’ But it was so natural to drive up,” Kearney says. Instead, he parks in the street and sits on the stoop at the front entrance. Parts of the concrete steps underneath him are crumbling.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

It’s no secret Austin ISD is strapped for cash. So to help make ends meet – the district put ten of its properties up for possible sale. Many of the properties are plots of land, but the list also includes the district headquarters on Sixth Street and the Allan Elementary campus in East Austin – and that has some people excited.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Four Austin ISD School Board candidates faced questions Thursday from a group that might be their most important constituents: students.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Gretchen Nagy needs something – anything.

She's standing in front of two Austin ISD students and a district employee, who are about to go live on television, covering the district’s mock presidential election. The only problem: They have no results.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At least four Central Texas school districts are exploring a new state law that allows them to become a "district of innovation." That designation means they can be exempt from various state regulations – just as open enrollment charter schools are. That can give schools more flexibility when it comes to hiring, class sizes and the school year start date, but not everyone is happy with the idea.


Jon Shapley for KUT News

Public school districts in Texas are required to follow a lot of state rules, but a new state law allows those districts to receive exemptions from various regulations. It’s called a district of innovation plan and at least four Central Texas school districts are developing plans. 


Mengwen Cao for KUT

This summer, it was reported that all elementary schools in the Austin Independent School District would be required to provide half an hour of recess every day.

But, the policy isn’t in place just yet.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

For many middle and high school students, this year’s presidential election is their introduction to American politics and it’s an unusual election to start with. At Kealing Middle School, about a dozen students are taking an elective called Presidential Politics. They study the current presidential election — and local races, too. 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

It was a muggy morning on the Long Center Terrance in downtown Austin. Central Texas school superintendents and their staffs fanned themselves as they listened to a local student mariachi band play.

But these education leaders weren’t there to just hear the music. They were there to address a major issue in Central Texas schools: student attendance.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Jonathan Hernandez started attending Austin public schools when he was ten. He didn't speak any English when he started fifth grade at Andrews Elementary, but with the help of teachers in his bilingual classes, he was able to learn the language. 


Audrey McGlinchy / KUT

At some schools in Austin ISD, most students who take Advanced Placement tests fail those exams. But students at the same schools are passing dual credit classes, college courses taught through Austin Community College. 


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