Education

Education
1:34 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Austin School Board Approves 485 Job Cuts But Balanced Budget Still Distant

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school board president Mark Williams listen to angry parents during public comment period of last night's board meeting.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

January is School Board Recognition Month, and while board members received gift baskets and pictures drawn by children, the people who packed into last night’s school board meeting were in no mood to celebrate. During the public comment section of the board meeting, people responded to some of the most controversial budget reduction proposals – everything from laying off teachers and librarians to closing neighborhood schools.

But school closures were not on the menu last night. Board members were faced with a different set of unpleasant options. They involved changing staffing formulas to eliminate hundreds of teachers and dozens of librarians, among other employees.

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Education
11:27 am
Mon January 24, 2011

Austin School Board To Consider Axing 536 Jobs At Tonight's Meeting

The courtyard outside AISD board meeting room will be bustling tonight as trustees consider tough choices about how to close a budget gap.
Image by KUT News

It's going to be a busy night at Austin Independent School District headquarters as board members confront some of the toughest decisions they have been asked to make in their careers as school district leaders.

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Education
12:37 pm
Fri January 21, 2011

"Positions Will Be Terminated" At AISD As Projected Deficit Swells to $113 Million

Image by KUT News

Staff at the Austin Independent School District received a chilling letter from Superintendent Meria Carstarphen yesterday. It warned that AISD would have to slash spending by $113 million if the Texas legislature adopts a budget proposed by House leaders. Dr. Carstarphen writes that "positions will be terminated."

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Education
10:51 am
Tue January 18, 2011

Eissler: Cutting Non-Teaching Staff To 2006 Levels Could Save $3 Billion

A view of the Capitol dome from inside the Capitol building.
Photo by KUT News

The man in charge of the House Education Committee in the Texas legislature is looking at ways to reduce spending as the state grapples with its massive budget gap. Rob Eissler says reducing the number of counselors, librarians, administrators to 2006 levels could save $3 billion in the next budget.

The story comes from KERA, our NPR sister station in Dallas. News director Shelley Kofler sent us this piece they ran this morning.

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Education
12:52 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

Schools Would Not Close In 2011 (And Other Misperceptions AISD Battles As It Seeks To Sell Closures)

About 700 people attended a public meeting at the Delco Center last night to discuss school closure options that could be considered by AISD.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Emotions ran high at the first of two public meetings last night intended to give people an opportunity to respond to school closure options developed by an Austin Independent School District task force

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Education
11:55 am
Tue January 11, 2011

Austin ISD to Take Comments on Facilities Proposals

Image courtesy Austin Independent School District

The Austin Independent School District will take public input tomorrow and Thursday nights on a proposal that—as it's currently written—would close eight elementary schools and a middle school.

The schools on the block currently are Joslin, Pease, Brooke, Ortega, Oak Springs, Sanchez, Barton Springs and Zilker Elementary Schools and Pearce Middle School.

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Education
12:55 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Austin ISD Projects 31 Elementary Schools Will Be Over Capacity By 2015-16

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

A massive influx of young children to the Austin Independent School District will cause more than third of AISD elementary schools to be bursting at the seams by 2015-16 school year, according to a demographic projection and

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Education
11:58 am
Fri January 7, 2011

Texas School Districts Ready For Cuts From 2011 Legislative Session

Image courtesy Jonathan Pobre http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnny/

The Texas Education Agency isn't the only organization bracing for cuts to education spending as lawmakers look to rein in a budget gap that could exceed $25 billion.  School districts are also girding for what they dread will be severe cuts to public education.

Round Rock ISD has enacted a hiring freeze, as we reported yesterday.  

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Education
4:36 pm
Thu January 6, 2011

Round Rock ISD Enacts Hiring Freeze

Image courtesy Forty Two http://www.flickr.com/photos/samxf42/

The Round Rock Independent School District says it is implementing a hiring freeze in anticipation of budget cuts in the upcoming Texas legislative session.

In a release today, Round Rock ISD Superintendent Dr. Jesús. H. Chávez said the district is reducing spending by at least five percent - or about $17 million - in preparation for the cuts in state education.

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Education
10:38 am
Tue January 4, 2011

Buyouts Of Tenured Professors In Texas And Across Nation

Image by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

We're beginning to see the consequences of state budget cuts at Texas' public universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education's Katherine Mangan reports today how more than 130 tenured professors at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University have accepted buyouts.

While the early retirements are expected to save nearly $18 million annually, they also carry administrative consequences for their colleges, Mangan reports.

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Education
1:14 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

No More Camping Out At AISD Headquarters To Make Transfer Request

This is where parents used to have to camp out overnight to request transfers for their kids. The new lottery system being used by the district will put an end to that tradition.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District began accepting transfer requests today, and for the first time, AISD is using a lottery system to award transfers. The end of the longstanding first-come-first-served system means parents no longer have to camp overnight outside school district headquarters to improve their child's odds of having the transfer request granted.

"This will be just a much more family friendly process," AISD spokesperson Carmen Luevanos told KUT News.

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Education
4:35 pm
Mon December 27, 2010

Journalism Groups Slam Texas A&M For Open Records Policy

Texas A&M University recently barred its employees from telling students to file open records requests under the state's public information act. Now, a group of fifteen journalism organizations is weighing in on the debate.

A letter from the groups, posted on the Poynter journalism blog, accuses the University of using a "potentially illegal" policy to "squelch investigations by its own students."

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obituary
12:22 pm
Wed December 15, 2010

LBJ School Internet Policy Expert Gary Chapman Dies Suddenly At 58

Image courtesy LBJ School of Public Affairs

The LBJ School of Public Affairs is reporting that senior lecturer Gary Chapman died of an apparent heart attack yesterday during a kayaking trip in Guatemala.

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Education
3:15 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Austin ISD Fails To Meet Federal Academic Standards For Second Year

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

We already knew the Austin Independent School District missed federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards this year, but the district held out hope it could appeal and improve its ranking.

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Education
1:37 pm
Wed December 8, 2010

Comptroller Says New Online Tool Lets You Compare School Thrift

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs
Image courtesy Comptroller's Office

As state leaders look for places to trim spending underneath a looming budget shortage that could surpass $20 billion, the Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today unveiled a new online tool that she says will allow anyone to rate how well schools are using money.

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Education
3:31 pm
Fri December 3, 2010

Crazy UT Kids Celebrate Last Day of Class

KUT News intern Nick Robertson was returning from a protest marking the anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy when he noticed a group University of Texas undergrads doing this over and over and over on Guadalupe Street. 

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Education
12:41 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Walkout and Protest at University of Texas Over Budget Cuts

Image by Nick Robertson for KUT News

A group of students, faculty, and staff walked out of their buildings and held a loud marching demonstration this morning on the University of Texas campus.  They were protesting existing and future budget cuts brought on largely as a result of the state's budget gap, a shortfall that could exceed $20 billion.

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Education
2:49 pm
Tue November 30, 2010

Meet the Next Superintendent of Georgetown's Public Schools

Joe Dan Lee is the new superintendent of Georgetown ISD
Image courtesy Georgetown ISD

Georgetown Independent School District has a new superintendent. GISD's Board of Trustees elected Joe Dan Lee to serve as the district's top administrator. Lee was already acting-superintendent since the departure of Abbe Boring in July.

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health
11:58 am
Tue November 30, 2010

How Do We Make Austin's Overweight Kids Healthy Again?

University of Texas grad students created this map to look at the prevelance of unhealthy food choices in the Dove Springs neighborhood, which has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the city.

Childhood obesity is one of those extremely complicated issues that is affected by many interrelated factors like family income, where you live, and your level of education.  An annual study that looks at obesity rates across America says Texas has the 7th highest rate of childhood obesity in the country. 

As we've reported in the past, the southeast Austin neighborhood of Dove Springs has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the city.

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education
4:43 pm
Mon November 22, 2010

Teachers Don't Want AISD to Cut Full Day Pre-Kindergarten

Education Austin will urge Austin School Trustees not to reduce full-day pre-kindergarten or cut back on teacher planning time.
flickr.com/laffy4k

The Austin teachers' association Education Austin is planning to stage a rally tonight outside Austin Independent School District headquarters. The local group, representing about 4,000 teachers and school staff, wants the Austin ISD school board to maintain full-day pre-kindergarten and not reduce planning time for high school teachers.

KUT’s Ben Philpott spoke with Rae Nwosu, co-president of Education Austin.

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