Education

Education
3:32 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

New AISD Facilities Master Plan Would Include Dissenting Views

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is trying to resurrect a ten-year plan for managing school district facilities by including a wider range of input.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The woman in charge of the Austin Independent School District is trying to resurrect a ten-year grand strategy for managing the 12 million square feet of AISD buildings and other facilities.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen held a work session with the school board on Monday to try and hash out what changes should be made to the existing Facilities Master Plan to make it more politically palatable. The current plan, adopted by the board in March, was set aside by school board members in large part because it included an option to close nine schools.

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Education
2:15 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

Federal Cash Saves 140 Jobs in Round Rock ISD

A pep rally at Round Rock High School in 2007
Photo by Dragon Cheer http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragoncheer/

Remember a couple months ago when the Round Rock Independent School District said it was going to lay off 280 employees? That number has been cut in half, thanks to almost $6.9 million from the federal government. You can view a table of what RRISD intends to the spend the money on its website.

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Education
12:23 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

AISD Takes Steps To Sell Downtown Headquarters and Baker Center

AISD's downtown headquarters sits on 2.75 acres of prime real estate off W. 6th St.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Facing a budget crisis, the Austin Independent School District is taking initial steps to sell two of its largest administrative properties: the 2.75 acre headquarters that sits on prime real estate on upscale W. 6th St., and the 4.4 acre Baker Center in trendy Hyde Park.

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Education
7:21 pm
Mon May 16, 2011

Austin ISD Superintendent Seeks To Revive Facilities Master Plan

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen (left) speaks with school board members Lori Moya and Vince Torres during tonight's meeting.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin public schools superintendent Meria Carstarphen is attempting to pick up and dust off a politically risky facilities master plan that was reluctantly accepted this spring by the nine elected volunteers who govern the largest school district in Central Texas.

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Education
6:19 pm
Mon May 16, 2011

What $7.8 Billion Less Looks Like for Your District

Photo by Ryan Murphy, Morgan Smith and Todd Wiseman

Whether final reductions to the state public education spending end up closer to $7.8 billion or $4 billion, how much districts will individually bear depends on how — or if — the Legislature rethinks the state’s school finance system. 

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Education
12:37 pm
Tue May 10, 2011

A&M Chancellor Steps Down

The chancellor of the Texas A&M System announced his resignation today.
Photo courtesy of flickr.com/sarowen

Mike McKinney, the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University system, announced today that he'll step down as of July 1, 2011.

McKinney became A&M System chancellor in November 2006. Since then, system-wide enrollment in has increased from 103,000 students to almost 120,000 students.

“The 25 million taxpayers in the state of Texas certainly have received a significant return on their investment in the A&M System,” said McKinney in a letter to A&M employees.

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Education
12:53 pm
Mon May 9, 2011

Austin ISD Board To Mull Historic Tax Exemptions Tonight

This map shows the location of historic landmarks in Austin. The school board is getting ready to decide whether to reinstate a program that gives tax breaks to the owners of those properties.
Image courtesy Austin ISD

Until last summer, if you lived in a home that was deemed to be a historical landmark, you could get a big break on your school property tax bill. That came to an end in August 2010, when the Austin ISD school board decided to suspend those exemptions in the face of a looming fiscal crisis. Tonight, the board is scheduled to talk about whether to reinstate the program.

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Education
5:06 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

Remembering Shirley Bird Perry

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

The University of Texas at Austin community is mourning the loss of senior vice president Shirley Bird Perry- who passed away Wednesday of cancer. She was 74.

After graduating from UT in the 1950s, Shirley Bird Perry started her career as program director of the Texas Union student center. She also served over a decade as a vice chancellor with the UT System.

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Education
4:16 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

UT System Releases Data on Faculty "Productivity"

Photo by KUT News

This afternoon, the University of Texas System released much-anticipated data on faculty "productivity" — noting, however, that the 821-page spreadsheet is in a raw draft form that has not been fully verified and "cannot yield accurate analysis, interpretations or conclusions."

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Education
2:46 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

ACC to Hike Tuition Next Year

ACC's Rio Grande Campus downtown. Austin Community College students will be paying more to attend classes in the fall.
Photo by KUT News

Classes at Austin Community College will be a little more expensive next year.

The ACC Board of Trustees cite declining state funding as the reason for the increase of $5 per credit hour for Fall 2011.  That means that students in the ACC taxation district would pay $52 per credit hour.  Out-of-district students tuition will rise to $194 per hour.  The board already voted to raise tuition for Summer semester by another $5 per hour.  They also expect they'll have to raise tuition again for Spring 2012.

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Education
5:04 pm
Tue May 3, 2011

Meet The New President of Austin Community College

Dr. Richard Rhodes was named the lone finalist last night to become CEO and president of Austin Community College. The ACC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Rhodes. He is currently the president of El Paso Community College.

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Education
4:39 pm
Tue April 26, 2011

Anti-Bullying Bill Passes State Senate

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

An anti-bullying bill that passed Texas Senate today would require school districts to adopt a policy to prohibit, prevent and investigate bullying, both in person and online.

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Education
12:12 am
Tue April 26, 2011

AISD Board Buys Land For Performing Arts Center

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District took a big step last night toward building a district-wide performing arts center. They agreed to buy a 4.5 acre, $4 million plot of land near the Dell Children’s Medical Center to construct the building.  But that construction might not begin for several years.

The Austin ISD has been trying to build a performing arts center for decades.  But over the past few months, board members have been forced to grapple with a financial crisis.

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Education
5:03 pm
Mon April 25, 2011

UT Student Groups Weigh In On Board of Regents Controversy

A view of UT Austin's campus from the Main Tower.
Jeff Heimsath, KUT News

The University of Texas System should avoid separating research and teaching and should continue to fund "soft" research into cultural or opinion-based topics, according to a letter submitted to the Board of Regents today by three large UT student groups.

The presidents of UT's Senate of College Councils, UT Student Government, and UT's Graduate Student Assembly are wading into a controversial debate that has ratcheted up tensions between Governor Rick Perry and legions of UT supporters. At issue is how to lower costs and increase efficiency at public universities in Texas.

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Education
3:16 pm
Fri April 22, 2011

State Education Boss Scraps Controversial Texas Projection Measure

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott at an event in February.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

A contentious calculation used by the state to measure academic performance at schools will be abandoned, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott announced today. The Texas Projection Measure (TPM) counted some students as passing, even if they failed, as long as they were algorithmically predicted to pass in the future. TPM had long drawn the ire of conservative business leaders, minority education activists and progressive policy groups.

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Education
4:53 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Austin ISD Expanding Dual Language Program To Six Schools

Photo by KUT News

Two more elementary schools will offer dual language programs in the Austin Independent School District this fall. Sunset Valley Elementary and Travis Heights Elementary will join Becker, Ridgetop, Perez and Wooten elementary schools. The program will be offered to Pre-K and first grade students only, and will expand as students age.

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Education
11:55 am
Wed April 20, 2011

Central Texas Superintendent Salaries Per Enrolled Student

With Central Texas superintendents shedding portions of their salaries to share the pain of public school cuts, we thought it would be interesting to compare their base salaries. We then broke it down on a dollar per student basis.  Continue reading for an interactive graph.

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Education
11:07 am
Wed April 20, 2011

Round Rock ISD Details $40 Million In Cuts

Round Rock ISD has explained exactly how it plans to cut $40.7 million from its budget.
Photo of RRISD website by KUT News

Facing a projected budget deficit of $61 million, the Round Rock Independent School District has explained how it plans to eliminate $40.7 million of that shortfall. A prioritized list of 64 specific cuts would reduce the deficit to about $20 million. That remaining gap would be covered by RRISD's fund balance, a savings account that holds about $200 million.

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Education
4:09 pm
Mon April 18, 2011

Golden 'Horns

A Dallas hedge-fund manager reportedly helped UTIMCO secure 6,643 gold bars, worth nearly $1 billion
Image courtesy flickr.com/hto2008

Some investors believe that buying gold is a good hedge against inflation.  If that's the case, then the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) may be protected for some time.

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Education
12:07 pm
Fri April 15, 2011

Austin Children Receive Free Eye Exams and Glasses

Designer eyeglasses donated to Kids Vision for Life
Photo by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

More than 100 students at Campbell Elementary received free eye exams today, and around 45 received new glasses, as part of a pilot program in Austin.

The project, called Kids Vision for Life, is a collaboration between local and statewide entities organized by the Austin Community Foundation, and seeks to provide children with free eye exams and glasses. The designer glasses were all donated by a company in Italy to the Essilor Vision Foundation, which is donating the lenses and eye exams.

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