Education

Education
8:22 am
Mon May 13, 2013

For One Austin School, Funding Hangs on Affordable Housing

Travis Heights Elementary could see enrollment slide if nearby housing prices rise.
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.

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Education
7:44 pm
Sat May 11, 2013

AISD Bond Election Results

It's Election Night for AISD
KUT News

Update (10:30 pm): The Greater Austin Chamber has released its response to tonight's vote. The Chamber says it's excited about the technology upgrades being provided by the passage of bonds 1 and 3. While lamenting that Prop 2 lost by about 200 votes saying, "we should remember that only 7.2% of registered voters cast a ballot. Those who thought someone else would solve this problem were mistaken. Every vote matters."

Update (10:20 pm): With all votes counted, AISD only won 2 of the 4 bond propositions on the ballot today.

Winners:

Prop 1: $140 million for Health, Environment, Equipment and Technology
Prop 3: $350 million for Academic and Building Infrastructure Renovations

Losers:
Prop 2: $234 million for Safety and Security and Relief from Overcrowding
Prop 4: $169 million for Academic Initiatives, Fine Arts and Athletics

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Education
7:00 am
Sat May 11, 2013

The AISD Bond Election is Here

AISD's $892 Million dollar bond is up for a vote Saturday
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. 

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Education
3:39 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

New Targets of College Divestment Movements: Oil, Gas & Coal

The Santa Rita oil pump at the University of Texas. A new divestment movement targets university investments in fossil fuel companies.
flickr.com/mr-pi

College is a time for classes, house parties and questionable dorm food. But as some students at UT and across the country are demonstrating, it’s also a time for activism.

Journalist and activist Bill McKibben and his environmentally-minded group 350.org are promoting a “Fossil Free Divestment Movement” to encourage American universities to withdraw their stock holdings from the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies. The group first gained notoriety when it held an International Day of Climate Action in 2009.

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Education
5:05 am
Fri May 10, 2013

AISD Bond Election is Saturday

Polls are open 7 to 7 on Saturday to vote on the school bond.
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.

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Education
4:53 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Bill Powers: First UT Medical School Class in 2016

This image shows the first phase of UT's Dell Medical School site plans.
University of Texas

The first University of Texas medical student class could be here as early as fall 2016. The UT Board of Regents unanimously approved plans for the school at a meeting earlier today.

Though construction has not begun, UT President Bill Powers says he’s hopeful that the school will be ready by 2016 and the teaching hospital by 2017. Until then, UT has a laundry list of things to do. 

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Education
9:43 am
Thu May 9, 2013

As Obama’s High School Visit Nears, Education Advocates Question Emphasis on STEM

President Obama is visiting Manor New Tech High School, which has a STEM based education program. But some experts question is there's too much emphasis on STEM.
flickr.com/amylovesyah

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

President Obama is visiting Manor New Tech High School, which has a STEM-based education program. But some experts question is there's too much emphasis on STEM.

Brenda Ramlow’s daughter Paige is a junior at Manor New Tech, the high school President Barack Obama is visiting this afternoon. She says her daughter is interested in a career in video graphics.

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Education
5:45 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Cautious Optimism as Johns Hopkins Tapped to Run Eastside

A group of advocates remains hopeful that the new partnership will revive Eastside Memorial High School.
Ann Choi for KUT News

Last night, the Austin School Board picked Johns Hopkins University to help run Eastside Memorial High School.

Although the partnership is not yet official, the new proposal alleviated some community members’ concerns over the school’s uncertain future.

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Education
10:14 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Update: AISD Board Approves Johns Hopkins As Eastside Memorial Partner

Eastside Memorial High School. The Austin School Board is expected to vote Monday on a partner to help run EMHS.
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.

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AISD Bond Package
10:05 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Newspapers Split on AISD Bonds: Chronicle For, Statesman Against

A week into early voting, the Statesman came out against AISD's bond ask.
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.”

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Education
6:43 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Update: Committee Recommends AISD Partner with Johns Hopkins to Keep Eastside Memorial Open

Eastside Memorial High School
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.  

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Education
3:48 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

AISD High School Attendance Doesn't Meet Strategic Plan Goals

Attendance is up at most AISD high schools, but still below Strategic Plan goals.
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. 

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Education
5:45 am
Fri May 3, 2013

More Austin High School Students Are Coming to Class

Attendance is up slightly, and even a small improvment means lots more money from the state.
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. 

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Education
11:52 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Who’s Donating Money to the AISD Bond Election Campaign?

AISD isn't allowed to campaign for or against the school bonds, but other Political Action Committees are picking up the slack
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.

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Education
5:07 am
Wed May 1, 2013

AISD Bonds: Prop 4 Focuses on Athletics and Fine Arts

AISD's Propsition Four would put money towards academics and athletics.
KUT News

The story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

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.

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Education
6:30 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Should AISD Hold the Bond Package Election in May?

Early voting started Monday for AISD's $892 million bond package.
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?

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Education
12:40 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

AISD Bonds: Money Aims to Relieve Overcrowding

Early voting begins Monday for the $892 million bond proposal from AISD.
KUT News
  • As heard on KUT, 90.5 FM

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. 

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Education
6:35 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

AISD Bond Language Comes Under Fire From Taxpayer Group

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarpehn. The district's bond proposition ballot language is drawing criticism from the Travis County Taxpayers Union.
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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Education
7:30 am
Fri April 26, 2013

'EducaAustin' Radio Show Reaches Out to Hispanic AISD Parents

AISD Spokesman Alex Sanchez. Every Sunday he hosts EducaAustin, a radio show aimed at Hispanic parents in the district.
Kate McGee, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is hosting a Spanish-language radio show aimed at Hispanic parents in the district.

Sixty percent of students in the Austin school district are Hispanic. And more than half of those students are English language learners with parents who do not speak English or are also learning the language.

That can make it difficult for some parents to stay involved in their children’s education, and AISD is trying to bridge that gap with La Que Buena, 104.3-FM.

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Education
5:24 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Bill Aims to Limit Testing of Preschoolers, Kindergarteners

A lawmakers says 4- and 5-year-olds already face too many assessment tests.
Shannan Muskop, Texas Tribune

Are Texas 4- and 5-year-olds getting tested too much? State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte think so.

Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, is the author of Senate Bill 1608, which would restrict the bubble-in testing that school districts and the Texas Education Agency could require for pre-K and kindergarten students.

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