Education

Education
9:49 am
Mon February 7, 2011

Senate Finance Committee Takes On Education

The Senate Finance Committee looks at education spending today. Image by KUT News

Education is on the front burner for a state senate committee today.

The Senate Education Committee will tackle education funding this morning, as they continue to craft their version of a budget bill.  Officials from the Texas Education Agency will answer lawmakers' questions about the money needs on a statewide level and how that will trickle down to individual school districts.

cold weather
11:13 am
Wed February 2, 2011

20 Of 124 Austin ISD Campuses Without Power At Any Given Time

Linder Elementary in warmer times.
Image by KUT News

Rolling blackouts are affecting schools in the Austin Independent School District, which opted not to cancel classes today. The district currently has no plans to release students early this afternoon.

"Austin ISD, like the rest of the city, is affected by the rolling outages," AISD spokesperson Carmen Luevanos told KUT News. "At any one point, we have approximately 20 campuses that are out [of power]. We have approximately 120 campuses [total]."

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Education
11:31 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

AISD Task Force Won't Name Specific Campuses On Its List Of Closure Options

Image by KUT

No more naming schools names for possible closure. That's the decision of an Austin ISD task force responsible for coming up with options for the district's facilities.

This Facility Master Plan task force began meeting last Spring. It was supposed to develop a list of options for the district to manage its facilities: its schools, its offices, its warehouses, that kind of thing. But the process was quickly interrupted by parents last month who were traumatized when a draft list of options began naming specific schools as facilities that could be closed.

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Education
4:42 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Education Commissioner Urges Districts To Begin Making Hard Decisions About Cuts

Education Commissioner Robert Scott addressing school administrators at a conference in Austin said they need to start reducing their budgets now to show lawmakers they are willing to cooperate in helping to close the budget gap.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

With the state budget leaders proposing to cut as much as $10 billion from public education to help close a state budget gap of between $15 and $27 billion, Education Commissioner Robert Scott warned hundreds of school administrators gathered in Austin this afternoon that Texas is facing the most difficult legislative session for public education in his lifetime.

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Education
3:26 pm
Fri January 28, 2011

Zilker Parents Plan Protest Against School Closures Starting At 11:30 Tomorrow Morning

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Parents who have children in Zilker Elementary will march from their school to a lot next to Austin's Pizza on South Lamar Boulevard tomorrow. They are trying to raise awareness about a draft proposal by an Austin school district task force that could see Zilker closed and the children bussed to other facilities.

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Education
4:56 pm
Thu January 27, 2011

Greg Abbott Passes Financial Education Materials to UTSA

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott handed on Jan. 27 credit card and debt education materials to UTSA. Under a state law, Texas colleges and universities are required to educate their students about how to manage personal finances.
Image courtesy Eliazar Parra Cardenas http://www.flickr.com/photos/eliazar/2345895971/

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott relesed educational materials on to credit card and debt to the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The materials, created by the Attorney General’s Office, will be introduced during UTSA’s new student orientation.  In 2007, Texas lawmakers passed a law requiring state colleges and universities to educate students about managing personal finances and to prevent potential debt problems.

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Education
4:05 pm
Thu January 27, 2011

AISD Proposes More School Closings

The Austin Independent School District is discussing four more options for possible school closures. Becker, Blackshear, Dawson and Govalle elementary schools have been added to the list of schools that could be considered for closure, and Garcia elementary could be re-purposed as school for 4th-8th graders.

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Education
5:04 pm
Wed January 26, 2011

Q&A: Round Rock ISD Superintendent Jesus Chavez Talks Budget Cuts

Round Rock Superintendent Jesus Chavez is telling his district to prepare for $60 million or more in budget cuts.
Image courtesy Round Rock Independent School District

Round Rock Superintendent Jesus Chavez sent a letter to staff yesterday warning of looming budget cuts.  The letter estimates that RRISD, a  school district with the state's second highest rating of "

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Education
9:10 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Round Rock ISD To Lose Between $47 Million and $73 Million In State Cash

Image courtesy Steve Wampler http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgw/

The second largest school district in Central Texas is assessing the damage it anticipates as a result of projected state cuts to education. Here's the letter Superintendent Chavez sent to employees yesterday.

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Education
1:36 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Round Rock ISD Redraws Boundaries For New School

Round Rock ISD is set to redraw school boundaries, a move that could require students to switch schools.
Image courtesy Nicholas James Santiago http://www.flickr.com/photos/imnicholas

Some kids attending elementary schools in Round Rock are supposed to leave their home school and move to other schools.

After the board meeting on Jan. 20, the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustee finally approved the Citizen’s Boundary Committee recommendation redrawing school boundaries for the district’s 32nd new elementary school.

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Education
1:05 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Think $113 Million AISD Deficit Is Bad? Consider This Armageddon Scenario

People gathered at an AISD board meeting last night to protest cuts to the budget. Those cuts could get a lot more severe if state lawmakers implement them under the under the additional state aid for tax reduction (ASATR) program.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin School Trustees acknowledged they were left with no easy choices last night as they voted 9-0 to approve a plan that would eliminate 485 jobs next school year, mostly teachers. The decision was based on a plan to reduce the $113 million projected budget gap without cutting full day pre-K.

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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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