Education

Education
2:34 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

East Austin Charter School Wants To Lease Eastside Memorial High

Southwest Key operates a charter school in East Austin and wants to lease the Eastside Memorial High building to expand its prep academy.
Photo by KUT News

Southwest Key, a national non-profit that operates a charter school in East Austin, is offering to lease Eastside Memorial High School and operate a prep academy in the building. Eastside Memorial currently houses a Global Tech High School and a Green Tech High School.  The Green Tech High was the only school in Austin ISD to be ranked "academically unacceptable" last year by the Texas Education Agency.

"That school has been low-performing for 11 or 12 consecutive years," communications consultant Paul Saldaña told KUT News. Saldaña's firm, Brisa Communications, is advocating on behalf of Southwest Key.

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Education
11:05 pm
Thu March 24, 2011

Lawmakers Scale Back Education Cuts But AISD Still Troubled

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks to reporters school district financial chief Nicole Conley-Abram stands to the side, ready to answer more technical questions about the $94.4 million budget.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

State Senators writing a spending plan for Texas approved a measure yesterday that would soften the blow to public education.  The initial budget bill called for a cut of almost $10 billion. Senator Florence Shapiro said school districts cannot absorb that punch.

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Education
9:39 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Austin ISD Wants Your Answers To The Budget Crisis Tonight

AISD wants public input on how to close its estimated $94 million budget gap without drastically affecting the quality of education at schools like Linder Elementary, pictured above.
Photo by KUT News

School districts across Texas are in the sticky situation of trying to calibrate their spending for the next year without knowing exactly how deeply the state will cut public education. The largest school district in Central Texas, Austin ISD, will hold the first of two public hearings tonight to seek public input on how it should manage a projected $94 million shortfall, even though a large portion of that deficit has already been slashed through the elimination of more than 1,100 jobs.

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Education
12:16 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

State Senators Encourage Education Cuts Outside The Classroom

State Senators are urging school districts to cut management jobs to save classroom quality.
Photo by e-magic http://www.flickr.com/photos/emagic/

Six Republican State Senators stood side by side this morning at the Capitol and proclaimed that the budget can be cut in Texas, even education, without affecting the classroom.  Senator Florence Shapiro says she has filed legislation that would make it easier for districts to relinquish themselves of administrative staff.

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Education
3:49 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

University of Texas Students Rally At Capitol

University of Texas students concerned about cuts to financial aid programs and skyrocketing tuition costs took to the streets this afternoon.

Dozens of people wearing “Invest in Texas” t-shirts and carrying handmade signs marched from the Student Activity Center to the Capitol, shouting slogans in support of higher education. 

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Education
3:43 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Anti-Bully Pulpit

Bullies could be moved to another classroom or campus, under a proposed bill in the Texas Senate.
Photo by KUT News

A Texas Senate committee looked at legislation that would change definitions and solutions for bullying and cyber bullying issues. Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) authored a bill that provides the removal of a bully to another classroom or campus at the request of the victim. Currently, the student-victim of the bullying is moved.

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Education
12:02 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Leander ISD Superintendent To Submit Job Cuts Proposal Tonight

Photo by Nicholas James Santiago http://www.flickr.com/photos/imnicholas/

After announcing yesterday that the Leander Independent School District should consider eliminating 250 positions to close a projected $29 million shortfall, Leander ISD Superintendent Bret Champion will make his case to the school board tonight. The meeting is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m.

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Education
11:30 am
Tue March 22, 2011

Expert Worries Public School Firings Will Discourage Potential Teachers

Teacher retention expert Ed Fuller worries potential teachers are being discouraged from entering the field by massive layoffs across the state.
Photo by ydhsu http://www.flickr.com/photos/ydhsu/

The sweeping state budget cuts that are prompting public school districts to lay off teachers in droves could discourage university graduates from entering the teaching field, according to a University of Texas educational researcher. 

"That's one of the things I really worry about," said Ed Fuller, a teacher retention researcher at the University of Texas at Austin's College of Education. "Because I think these cuts are going to send a message to people that education is not a profession to go into."

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Education
12:46 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

Education Protesters Give Lawmakers Sardines

Photo by KUT News

Teachers, school officials, parents and students from across the state are once again flocking to the State Capitol today.  They’re jumping off the momentum from the thousands who showed up for an education rally on Saturday.  Monday's lobby day for the Texas American Federation of Teachers.  People will be handing out sardine cans to legislators. 

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Education
4:05 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Hochberg Files Bill To Illustrate Education Cuts District-By-District

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/

It's not often that state lawmakers admit they don't like the bill they just filed, but that's exactly what State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) did today after filing HB 2485.  The bill is accompanied by a spreadsheet that shows how drastic cuts to public education would affect individual school districts.

"We'll be laying out a budget that cuts $9.8 billion out of the schools.  But that's a number that doesn't mean anything to a legislator unless they know that means you're taking between $500 and $2,500 dollars per WADA (weighted average daily attendance) out of their local district," Hochberg said.

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Education
6:51 am
Tue March 8, 2011

Austin School Trustees Reject $10,000 Resignation Incentive

The sun rises over AISD headquarters. Last night, trustees opted not to offer $10,000 incentives to teachers who resign voluntarily.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

 

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees last night opted not to adopt a plan to pay contract educators $10,000 for resigning voluntarily, reports Community Impact News.

According to Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, the board's recommendation stems from the possibility of AISD paying both incentive packages and unemployment insurance benefits, which would not save the district money.

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Education
12:32 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

AISD Board Votes Tonight On Paying Teachers $10,000 To Quit

Image courtesy AMagill http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/

In an effort to alleviate the pain inflicted by deleting more than 1,100 jobs, Austin School Trustees will consider a proposal tonight that would offer $10,000 lump sum payouts to teachers who resign voluntarily. The money would be provided in lieu of unemployment benefits of up to $10,790 per employee. A similar plan enacted in Dallas has proven popular, but AISD could be hindered by its advance notification of employees whose jobs are up for elimination.

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Education
11:43 am
Fri March 4, 2011

Austin School Trustees Receive Final Facilities Plan Monday Night

Austin School Trustees will receive a facilities master plan report Monday night that has stirred anxiety among parents worried it could result in their schools being closed.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

After a year of meetings and rancorous debate, the Austin ISD school board on Monday night will receive a ten year plan the recommends how it manage its buildings, athletic centers, and other facilities.

The Facility Master Plan Task Force's discussion about how the district could save money by closing and consolidating campuses sparked off a wave of protests, mostly by inner city parents flabbergasted that their high-performing schools would even be mentioned for closure.

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Education
1:43 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Austin School Board Declares Financial Exigency

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school board president Mark Williams during school board meeting Monday night.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

After a marathon board meeting, Austin School Trustees voted in the wee morning hours to declare the district to be in a state of financial exigency. The declaration will give Superintendent Meria Carstarphen more power to reduce AISD's projected budget deficit of $94 million.

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Education
11:28 am
Fri February 25, 2011

Austin School Trustees To Vote Monday On Financial Exigency

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen appears in a YouTube video posted by the district this week explaining the dire budget situation.

Austin school board members will be asked to vote Monday night on a resolution that would declare the district to be in a state of "financial exigency", or "financial emergency" in common English. Such a move would grant more flexible staffing powers to Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who has proposed laying off more than 1,000 people to help close the school district's budget deficit, currently estimated to be in the neighborhood of $94 million.

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Education
2:35 pm
Wed February 23, 2011

UT Facing $100 Million Budget Cut Next School Year

UT could face a $100 million budget cut for 2012-2013 school year.
Image by Liang Shi for KUT News

Hard times may be coming to The University of Texas at Austin, based on projected spending cuts from the Legislature.

UT President Bill Powers told the campus that budget items in both the House and Senate versions of the 2012-2013 biennial budget cut funding to the school by $100 million.  Since 2009, UT has cut $14.5 million from its budget in response to state mandates, with the cuts primarily made to administrative operations.  Powers is scheduled to testify before the Senate Finance Ccommittee about higher education spending March 2.

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AISD
4:27 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

AISD Adds to Job Cuts

Another 92 positions will be eliminated to recover the school district's 2011-12 financial shortfall.
Photo by KUT News

The Austin Independent School District has proposed cutting an additional 92 jobs, bringing to 1,104 the number of jobs that could be cut to close an expected budget shortfall.  AISD is bracing for a budget gap that could range from $94 million to $113 million.

"It’s hard to say exactly what the shortfall is, but when you have such a large percentage of your operation’s cost being paying for people, you’re not left with a lot of choices,” Trustee Robert Schneider told KUT News.

Education
3:06 pm
Tue February 22, 2011

BBB Warns of Bogus Financial Aid Assistance

The Better Business Bureau is warning students and parents about potentially-shady financial aid schemes.
Image by KUT News

As students and parents struggle to fill out the FAFSA form to pay for college next year, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be wary of some companies offering scholarship or financial aid money. The businesses reportedly claim that they will be able to provide help in securing some scholarships and potential financial aid. Last year, the BBB received nearly 400 complaints nationwide from students and parents by scholarship and financial aid companies.

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Education
9:43 am
Fri February 18, 2011

Official Says 2,500 UT-Austin Students Could Be Affected By Financial Aid Cuts

House lawmakers are hearing from higher education leaders this morning.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Financial aid for graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin could be slashed because of state cuts to higher education, UT Austin's chief academic officer Steven Leslie testified this morning.

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Education
3:04 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Data App: Visual Breakdown Of AISD's Proposed 1,012 Job Cuts

Check out our data app below to see where Austin ISD plans to reduce its workforce.

Austin school district employees who may lose their jobs next school year will be notified by the end of today. A proposal by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen would eliminate 1,012 positions for an annual savings of $53.6 million.

The list of job cuts released by the district is difficult to read, so we have attempted to clarify what Carstarphen is proposing with this data app.  Click on "High School", "Middle School", "Elementary School", etc to see a breakdown by campus or department in the second box. This is an early attempt of ours to develop a data app, so please offer us your feedback in the comments.  

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