Education

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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Education
12:40 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Austin School Trustees To Discuss Advertising On School Buses

Austin ISD buses are currently devoid of any advertising, but that could change.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The nine elected men and women who govern the Austin school district will meet for a work session tonight aimed at tackling some of the options on the table for closing a projected budget gap of $94 million. One of those options would see advertising sold on the sides of school buses.

The proposal being investigated by AISD Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Fryer would split advertising revenue equally with the district and the vendor. AISD would retain full control over the content and type of advertising.

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Education
12:00 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Superintendent Carstarphen's KUT Interview Scrutinized By PolitiFact

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen in 2009, shortly before she was hired by the school board.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen sat down with KUT for a rare one-on-one interview this month covering a broad range of topics facing the school district as it grapples with a projected $94 million deficit. One statement Dr. Carstarphen made about Pease Elementary School caught the attention of eagle-eyed journalists at PolitiFact Texas.

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Education
3:07 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Leander High School Evacuated

Image by KUT News

Students at Leander High School got out a little early today.

According to the Leander ISD website, Leander High School evacuated its students at about 2:30 this afternoon on the advice of Leander Police. According to websites for both the school and the district, the evacuation was only a precautionary measure. District officials say there is no reason to believe that the evacuation is related to an incident that happened on the Leander High campus an hour earlier.

Education
12:29 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Texas Higher Ed Leaders Higher Paid

UT President William Powers, Jr (center) is among the highest-compensated college presidents in the nation, according to one report
Photo by KUT News

The Chronicle of Higher Education has released a report on the compensation that higher education leaders, and the University of Texas ranks very high.

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Education
11:30 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Ask The AISD Superintendent About The Budget Tonight

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks to reporters with her CFO Nicole Conley-Abram in the background. The two will be answering questions about the budget tonight at Bowie High School.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen will be out in public again this evening with her financial chief, Nicole Conley-Abram, trying to explain the school district's budget situation and take input from the public.

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Education
1:21 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

School District Leaders To Rally At Capitol This Afternoon

Superintendents and school board members from across Texas are set to rally at the Capitol this afternoon in support of funding for public education.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Superintendents and school board members from across the state will try to increase pressure on the Legislature this afternoon to limit cuts to public education. The Make Education A Priority rally is scheduled for 2 pm on the south steps of the Capitol.

"I think generally, what we're looking for is for legislators to really look at addressing the school finance system that was reformed back in 2006," Texas Association of School Boards spokesperson Dax Gonzales told KUT News. "That's where a lot of the problems stem from."

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Education
4:24 pm
Mon March 28, 2011

Austin School Trustees To Vote On Job Cuts, Facilities Master Plan

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school board president Mark Williams at a board meeting in February.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The pink slips have already been sent to hundreds of employees in the Austin Independent School District. Tonight, the nine men and women on the AISD board of trustees will vote on whether to officially enact those job cuts. At the same time, a year-long process to develop a master plan for school district facilities will reach its culmination when board members are asked to approve the 10-year plan.

Both issues are highly contentious because of their broad implications for employees, students, and parents.

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Education
3:26 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

Round Rock ISD Lays Off 280 Employees

Round Rock ISD is dismissing 280 people, mostly teachers, because it is expecting a $60 million reduction in state funding..
Photo by Forty Two http://www.flickr.com/photos/samxf42/

About 280 employees in the Round Rock Independent School District began learning this afternoon that they will no longer be employed next school year. RRISD is facing an estimated $60 million reduction in state funding.

Districts in Texas are required to notify contracted employees within 45 days of the end of the school year if they are losing their jobs. Austin ISD, the largest school district in Central Texas, has said it is eliminating more than 1,100 positions. RRISD is the second largest district in the region.

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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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