End of the Road for AISD Exigency

AISD is still in the red, but threat of mass firings has lifted

(l-r) AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, AISD Board President Mark Williams, and Vice President Vince Torres, at the Jan. 30 meeting
(l-r) AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, AISD Board President Mark Williams, and Vice President Vince Torres, at the Jan. 30 meeting
Photo by Richard Whittaker

Austin ISD's budget may still be in the red, but the threat of mass firings has dissipated. On Jan. 30, the board of trustees voted unanimously to end financial exigency – the state of emergency that allowed the district to fire roughly 8% of its staff last year (see "AISD's Next Step After Exigency?," March 4, 2011). Even though the district still expects a revenue shortfall next year, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen told trustees, "There will not need to be another reduction in force this school year in order to cover our budget." The driving force behind exigency was nominally to allow Carstarphen to cut costs through layoffs, but it also allowed her to fire many long-term staff members and use the cash she freed up to restructure their respective departments and hire their replacements. With that restructuring complete, Carstarphen told the board that the district will pull cash out of its unexpended fund balances to cover the predicted shortfall of $12.6 million. Of course, this leaves many unanswered questions, like how the administration managed to squirrel away an extra $31.5 million in its fund balance since August 2010 while pleading poverty to the board. More pressingly, as trustee Robert Schneider asked Carstarphen, how long can the district use its savings to cover future shortfalls? According to district Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley-Abram, this would be a one-off deal: If the board wants to avoid future cuts or give teachers a long-overdue pay raise, it will need to ask voters for a tax rollback election.

READ MORE
More Austin ISD
Tempers Flare as AISD Board Tackles Confederate Legacy
Tempers Flare as AISD Board Tackles Confederate Legacy
Name change issue punted to the board's policy committee

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 13, 2015

A Lesson in Bilingual Education
A Lesson in Bilingual Education
AISD and Jewish-Arab Education group share experiences

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 9, 2015

More by Richard Whittaker
One Court, Three Decisions
One Court, Three Decisions
SCOTUS rules on three Texas cases impacting abortion, affirmative action, and immigration

July 1, 2016

Affirming Diversity in College Admissions
Affirming Diversity in College Admissions
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

July 1, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin ISD, Meria Carstarphen, financial exigency

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)