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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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1:53 pm
Tue February 15, 2011

Round Rock ISD Seeks Public Input on State Budget Cuts

Round Rock ISD will hold a public meeting tonight to discuss budget cuts for the next school year.
Photo by KUT News

Round Rock ISD is looking to the public for some ideas on reducing its budget.

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11:49 am
Mon February 14, 2011

Austin Community College Sets New Enrollment Record Of 45,000

Austin Community College's Rio Grande campus downtown. ACC reports record enrollment this spring semester
Image courtesy

Enrollment growth at Austin Community College's spring semester grew by ten percent, according to ACC, setting a new enrollment record of 45,056. The college says most of the growth came from people aged 25 and older.

Hispanic enrollment at ACC increased sixteen percent to almost 12,000. African-American enrollment was up seven percent to just under 4,000.

ACC president and CEO Stephen Kinslow is using the announcement to make a point about proposed state funding cuts to community colleges.

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5:31 pm
Sat February 12, 2011

Joslin Elementary School Rally

Parents, children and staff members of Joslin Elementary in South Austin rallied Saturday to keep the school open.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Parents whose children attend Joslin Elementary marched around the school in South Austin Saturday to urge Austin school board members to keep it open.  Such rallies are becoming the norm for Austin weekends, at least since the AISD Facilities Task Force released initial options for closing schools. Thirteen schools were named, but the task force is doing things differently now. It's no longer naming schools.

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4:38 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Austin ISD Superintendent Carstarphen Proposes More Than 1,000 Job Cuts

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen (file photo) is proposing the elimination of over 1,000 district jobs. Photo by KUT News.


Grappling with a budget deficit currently projected at $114 million, Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen will recommend school trustees eliminate 1,017 of its almost 12,000 positions.

Carstarphen was absent from an afternoon news conference to announce the proposal, because she was in New York City, according to district officials.  AISD human resources official Michael Houser spoke to the media in her absence.

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12:02 pm
Fri February 11, 2011

Read Preliminary Draft Of Austin ISD Facility Master Plan Task Force Report

An Austin school district task force will submit a draft report to school board members Monday. The report looks at how the district could use facilities more efficiently, and raises it includes the option of school closures Read the 320-page report for yourself below. You can also view fullscreen or download on this page (look for the Download button).

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3:55 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

UT President Hospitalized

Courtesy UT-Austin.

University of Texas at Austin President William Powers has been hospitalized.  University officials say Powers was admitted today for treatment of a blockage in an artery leading to his lungs.  The pulmonary embolism was found during a medical exam this morning. 

"They just want to keep him in the hospital for three days, and just monitor it and make sure it goes away.  And he's doing fine," said Nancy Brazzil, a deputy to the President.

Powers was scheduled to speak to a legislative committee tomorrow morning about higher education and the state budget.

2:04 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

AISD Slates Make Up Day for May 30

Making up is hard to do. AISD sets their snow day make-good for May 30.
Image courtesy AISD

Last Friday found most Austin school children playing in a winter wonderland, enjoying a rare snow day.  But now comes the payback:  The Austin Independent School District has scheduled classes for Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, to make up for that lost curriculum day.

“Every single year, we build in bad weather days on the school calendars, so everybody knows what they are,” said Kathy Anthony, communication specialist at AISD. “But we don’t use them every year.”