IDEA Public Schools

12:53 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Occupiers Helping Out IDEA Charter Opponents

Photo by KUT News.

The Austin Independent School District says all 30 slots are filled to speak at tonight’s specially-called board meeting. The board is scheduled to vote on a contentious proposal to partner with a charter school operator to run programs at two East Austin schools. Members last week delayed a vote to partner with IDEA Public Schools amid some questions on the contract and pushback from some teachers and parents.

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News Brief
6:07 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/13/11: AISD Board Delays IDEA Vote, Court Hearing on Texas Elections

People protested Monday outside the AISD's headquarters. They spoke out against a proposal for in-district charter programs at some East Austin schools.
Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

AISD Delays Vote on Partnership with IDEA Charter Operators

The Austin Independent School District’s Board put off a controversial vote last night on whether to partner with a charter school operator from South Texas to run in-district college prep programs in East Austin.

Three board members took issue with the latest version of the proposed contract with IDEA Public Schools. Those three board members have been skeptical about partnering with the charter school. The board delayed a vote until next week. KUT's Nathan Bernier was at last night's meeting and reported dozens of people showed up to protest the IDEA charter proposal.

The board did vote last night to reject all bids from those interested in buying two AISD administrative centers, including district headquarters on West Sixth Street.

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8:04 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Carstarphen Unsure If She Has Votes To Pass Charter School Deal

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says she doesn't know if enough school board members will support her controversial proposal to create an in-district charter school program. The board is scheduled to vote tonight on the deal.

"I actually probably don't spend a lot of time trying to count votes or influence our trustees in that kind of way," Carstarphen said in a press briefing with reporters. You can see her full response by watching the video above.  

Board members appeared split on whether to adopt the issue at a work session last Monday. Board members Robert Schneider, Annette LoVoi and Tamala Barksdale were as vocal in their reservations as they were in prior meetings.

Carstarphen needs at least five of the board’s nine members to vote in favor of the IDEA charter school proposal for it to pass. All board members are present for tonight's meeting. 

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10:11 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Tonight’s AISD Board Meeting: What to Expect

Tonight's meeting is scheduled to start at 7 at AISD Headquarters at 1111 West Sixth Street.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

As far as school board meetings go, tonight's should be among the most exciting of the year. Trustees are set to vote on a roster of plans that could bring significant changes to the school district in 2012-13. Here’s a quick guide to the evening:

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News Brief
5:27 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/12/11: AISD to Vote on IDEA Charter Programs, New Performing Arts Center

Photo by KUT News.

AISD Board to Vote on In-District Charter, Dual Language Programs

The Austin Independent School District’s Board has a long agenda and is scheduled to take several important votes tonight. The board is voting on whether to partner with a charter school to run programs at some East Austin campuses. Some teachers and parents are opposed to the proposed contract with IDEA Public Schools.

The board is also voting on adding more dual language programs, in which students are taught in two different languages at the same time. The goal is for students in those programs to become bilingual.

Here are more of the district's so-called Annual Academic and Facilities Recommendations being voted on tonight:

  • Address overcrowding in north-central elementary schools in the 2012-13 school year by: eliminating the sixth grade at Barrington, Brown and Walnut Creek elementary schools; creating a Pre-K center at Dobie Middle School and moving pre-K programs at Graham and Hart to Dobie; making Webb a pre-K-8 school, and reassigning part of the Barrington attendance zone to Webb; and moving remaining Barrington Pre-K to Reilly.
  • Establish an in-district charter agreement with Responsive Education Solutions to operate a graduation pathway program at Lanier and Travis high schools for students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out.

Also on the agenda: whether to keep or sell the district’s headquarters on West Sixth Street and the Baker Administrative Center in Hyde Park. Staff is recommending the board reject all submitted bids.

Board to Review Design for AISD Performing Arts Center

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4:52 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Texas Charter Schools Get a Pass On Some Requirements

The San Juan Campus of Idea Public Schools
Photo by Joel Martinez, The Texas Tribune

A crucial vote is scheduled for Monday by the Austin ISD school board. Trustees will decide whether to contract with a charter school operator from the Rio Grande Valley to develop an in-district charter school for children in East Austin.

Some school board members have expressed hesitation about a partnership with IDEA Public Schools. One of Trustee Annette LoVoi’s concerns focused on the transparency of governance at IDEA compared to the Austin ISD.

“We are a school board. We are transparent. We hold open meetings. We disclose all sorts of things,” LoVoi said. “I’d like to see a version of that undertaken by any entity that we contract with.”

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12:51 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Study Questions Claims Of Charter School Seeking AISD Contract

Austin ISD is considering a deal with IDEA Public Schools that would create an in-district charter school, but one study questions how effective IDEA really is at educating disadvantaged kids.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is negotiating a deal with IDEA Public Schools, a charter school district based in the Rio Grande Valley, to run an in-district charter school in East Austin that targets AISD students classified as “economically disadvantaged.” But a new study suggests IDEA’s educational outcomes may not be much better than traditional public schools.

The study was conducted by Dr. Ed Fuller. He used to work as at the University of Texas’ College of Education. But earlier this year Fuller was hired by Penn State University to direct a research center.

Fuller examined student level data he obtained from the Texas Education Agency and published a study online that makes three critical claims.

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