Education

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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Education
12:22 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

AISD Bonds: Prop 2 Earmarks Money for School Security

Prop 2 puts $23 million towards security, including more cameras and alarm systems.
Flickr user TylerMcQuarrie, bit.ly/15K08Z2

Since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, school districts across the country are focusing on security. The Austin Independent School District is asking its voters whether it can use some of its $892 million proposed bond package to improve school security.

At $233 million, Proposition Two is the largest of the propositions in the bond package. $23 million of those funds would go toward a variety of security improvements district wide. The largest would be to replace the district’s 20 year-old radio system.

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Education
11:36 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Lawsuit Seeks to Stop AISD Bond Election

The Travis County Taxpayers Union filed a lawsuit against AISD $892M bond package ballot question.
KUT News

The Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU) filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Austin Independent School District over its $892 million bond package residents will vote on in a special election May 11. The district says the bond would be used to pay for a variety of capital projects to ease overcrowding, improve technology, security and other systemic repairs.

The TCTU says AISD failed to include in the ballot language the maximum property tax rate levied on residents or if the tax rate is unlimited.

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Education
8:05 am
Wed April 24, 2013

AISD Projects $45 Million Shortfall in 2014 Budget

AISD says the district is considered 'property rich' and that's part of the reason for the budget shortfall.
flickr.com/namoscato

The Austin Independent School District is estimating it will have a $45 million shortfall in its 2014 budget. The district is holding a community meeting tonight to discuss spending priorities.

AISD officials say there are a few reasons for the projected budget shortfall. Most of the deficit is money that will be taken or “recaptured” from AISD – a district considered property rich. That money is then distributed to districts that are considered poorer.

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Education
6:44 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Interview: Texas Dials Back Standardized Testing

Darren Braun for Texas Monthly

Interview with Texas Monthly's Nate Blakeslee

As Austin ISD and other school districts across Texas hunker down and power through another round of state standardized tests this week, lawmakers are making moves that suggest they think the testing regime has gone too far.

House Bill 5, for example, would reduce the number of tests students need to pass to graduate from 15 to 5. This is happening in a state that gave birth to the "academic accountability" movement. 

Texas Monthly senior editor Nate Blakeslee examines the issue in the May edition of the magazine, on news stands now. Listen to our interview with him above and read his article at TexasMonthly.com.

Education
8:03 am
Tue April 23, 2013

AISD Moves Forward With Partners for Eastside High – But Makes Plans For Possible Closure

Texas Education Commission Michael Williams visits Eastside Memorial High School. He'll decide what happens to the school.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Texas Education Commissioner has until June to decide if Eastside Memorial High School in Austin will be shut down for poor academic progress.

The Austin Independent School District Board approved a plan last night that will guide their steps in case the school is closed. But AISD hopes instead the district will be allowed to partner with an outside group to run the high school.

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Education
4:38 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Group Files Complaint Against 'Misleading' Austin School Bond

Don Zimmerman says Austin ISD already has the money requested in the $892 million bond package.
Bobby Blanchard, KUT News

The Travis County Taxpayers Union filed an ethics complaint with the Austin Independent School District, saying the proposed $892 million bond initiative on election ballots next month asks too much of taxpayers.

The group's treasurer, Donald Zimmerman, said the district’s current budget already covers the increase in maintenance cost that the proposition requests. Zimmerman also alleged that AISD acted unethically by providing an estimated cost to average taxpayers on signs promoting the bond.

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Education
8:14 am
Mon April 22, 2013

UT Police Seek Renewed Public Safety Accreditation

Assessors are evaluating all aspects of UTPD's services and operations.
Mose Buchele, KUT News

The University of Texas Police Department is undergoing a review of its services. Assessors with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) are examining all UTPD operations to determine whether the department deserves accreditation.

Accreditation isn't mandatory but is seen as a representation of public safety excellence.

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Education
12:55 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

SBOE to Review CSCOPE (Update)

CSCOPE

Update: The Texas Education Agency reports the State Board of Education approved a resolution today supporting a review of CSCOPE material. Thirteen SBOE members voted in favor of the measure. Two abstained.

Some conservatives have argued  CSCOPE has an anti-American bias.

According to the TEA's website:

CSCOPE is a curriculum management system created by Texas Education Service Centers with assistance from content experts. It is now used in 875 public school districts, charter schools and private schools in Texas, which educate 34 percent of the state's total student population.

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Education
4:01 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

AISD to Talk Bond Proposal Tonight at Community Meeting

Bowie High school, where AISD is holding the first of three community meetings about the 2013 bond package Wednesday evening.
Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is hosting a community meeting tonight on its 2014 budget and its $892 million bond proposal that's up for a vote next month. 

AISD wants to issue bonds to fund capital projects throughout the district. The money wouldn’t be used for day-to-day expenses, but for things like technology upgrades, more classrooms and increased security.

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Education
2:16 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Coming Soon: Standardized Tests for College Students, Universities?

A UT student does some reading. A Texas Senate bill would require academic assessments for college students.
KUT News

Some Texas lawmakers are looking to create an academic assessment tool to measure and compare the teaching abilities of the state’s public universities.

Today, members of the Senate Committee for Higher Education took up SB 436. The bill would make it a requirement for Texas universities to issue students a learning assessment before the first day of class, and during the last semester before graduation. The assessment would act as a tool to monitor student growth.

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Education
6:02 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Senate Panel Passes Its Version of House Education Overhaul Bill

Round Rock Superintendent Jesús Chávez testifies during a Senate Education Committee hearing on April 16, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia

Last month the Texas House passed its education reform bill – HB 5. Today members of the Senate Education Committee took the measure up and began the process of hammering out differences between the House and Senate on the future of education in Texas. 

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