Long Center for the Performing Arts
"...CodeNEXT shortcomings seem to generate an unending chatter, but on Monday, Austin Independent School District trustees passed a resolution relating to the impending land use rewrite without so much as a single word. The resolution sends 13 recommendations to city staff concerning how the rewrite can better support AISD's students, family, and staff, emphasizing opportunities for affordable, family-friendly, and "workforce" housing throughout Austin to support the district's goal of promoting what AISD Planning Services Manager Melissa Laursen describes as "diverse, inclusive schools and neighborhoods where people of all backgrounds, races, and income levels have the opportunity to safely learn, work, and live."..."
"...The following are the Chronicle's recommendations for the Austin Independent School District board of trustees, where a dramatic changeover in policy leadership will follow the not unexpected but abrupt departure to Atlanta of Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. The district faces increasing pressure from the state's inadequate public school finance system – again ruled unconstitutional even while it continues to "recapture" many millions in resources from the "property wealthy" AISD that yet serves a majority of poor, minority students..."
"...Sump is a 30-year resident of AISD, 27 of those in District 7, and Schneider's loss was a personal one. Their families lived on the same road; their kids played together and all attended AISD campuses..."
"...This spring, the Austin Independent School District (AISD) was the subject of a 7-minute documentary called Austin ISD: A District Embracing SEL...."
"...After the legislative session, the district's finance department calculated AISD would receive $10.6 million in recapture relief – the reduction in payments to the state under the Robin Hood recapture system. However, new calculations from the Texas Education Agency suggest that could fall to $2.4 million, a figure AISD Finance Executive Director Leo Lopez called "negligible for a budget our size."..."
"...The board has announced that it will meet in executive session in February to discuss the purchase of "multiple parcels of land" for the school. It's already effectively paid for: Voters approved the funding as part of a $344 million bond package in 2008, designed primarily to tackle overcrowding and update existing facilities (see "AISD Gets New Trustee, PAC, Working Bathrooms," May 11, 2008)..."
"...Finals results for both ACC and AISD elections, with all precincts reporting..."
"...Early voting results in for both ACC and AISD elections in Travis and Williamson Counties...."
"...This cabinet shuffle comes six months after he took office, a much less aggressive timeline than that adopted by previous Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. On her second day on the job in 2009, she issued a revamped cabinet structure (see "AISD Staff Shake-Up," July 3, 2009)..."
"...Going into last night's Austin ISD Board of Trustees meeting, AISD had two in-district charters on the books for the 2013-14 school year: Responsive Education Solutions at Travis and Lanier, and IDEA Allan. Now they still have two, but IDEA Public Schools are out and the Travis Heights Elementary community gets autonomy next year...."
"...At Monday night's AISD Board Meeting, trustee Annette LoVoi said she wanted the entire record of their controversial decision to hand the Eastside Memorial Vertical Team over to IDEA Public Schools put on-line. We can't quite manage that, but we can do the next best thing: Put all our Tweets from throughout the night together...."
"...Don't underestimate the scale of the need: As of 11am Sunday, the city of Austin estimates there 3,879 general needs evacuees and 98 special needs evacuees at 20 shelters around Austin, and that doesn't include people staying with friends and family. See below the jump for the full AISD press release...."
"...A devastating blow has been struck to the heart of Austin ISD today, as the district confirmed that Trustee Robert Schneider died this morning at the age of 62. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and their four children, all of whom are AISD graduates...."
"...The district faces an ever more complex balancing act, and that is driving ever more cautious budgeting. As the biggest single contributor to state coffers under the Robin Hood school property tax recapture system, AISD is in a multimillion-dollar hole that only gets deeper..."
"...After months of delays, changes and unnecessary ugliness, the AISD Board of Trustees has finally revised its policy dealing with employee relations...."
"...The scale of the 1,017 staff cuts Superintendent Meria Carstarphen will present to the AISD Board of Trustees on Monday is daunting enough. Now district parents and employees have a chance to pick apart the presentation, and it's clearer now which schools, offices, and individual jobs are under the lay-off axe...."
"...25 and Dobie Middle School on March 11. On Monday, however, Cruz's office sent a memo to campus administrators indicating that AISD "activities, statements, and reactions are immensely scrutinized," and reminding them of existing policy that staff should not talk about "political affiliation, views, protests, advocacy or other controversial issues or topics that may arise while on District property." This induced the ire of both the union and Board Vice President Paul Saldaña, who criticized what he called "the conservative tone of the memorandum." Wednesday morning, EA representatives held a press conference to voice support for the school district's immigrant students...."
"...He has been cast as Mother Ginger in Ballet Austin's production of The Nutcracker. That, and he is now officially in the running to become AISD's next permanent superintendent...."
"...When Anne Verburg, a second grade teacher at Hill Elementary, got the chance last year to be one of 125 teacher-members of the Austin Independent School District's (AISD) District Technology Leadership Team, there was just one small hitch. AISD doesn't have a computer network in place, nor a districtwide Internet connection..."
"...At the AISD board meeting on May 7, trustees started to broach that possibility. The first step is to hold what is known as an equity or disparity study: External consultants compare the kind of work an entity has available to contract out, then they look at the available minority- and women-owned firms in the metropolitan area that can provide such services..."
"...AISD Superintendent Pat Forgione will have to retire, at least for the time being, his familiar speech about Austin trying to educate an increasingly needy student population on a "fixed income." For the first time in three fiscal years, AISD has presented a balanced budget that won't require staff cuts or digging into the savings account. The preliminary $604.4 million that will be spent during the 2006-07 school year is almost $56 million more than last year's budget, and there's more money available if the AISD board of trustees has the cojones (or the chutzpah) to vote to raise taxes...."
"...Slice! Dice! Mix! Puree! On Thursday the Austin ISD board of trustees grappled with the proper recipe for high school success, the latest step of a multiyear process known as high school redesign. Redesign, or breaking large high schools into "educational condominiums" of autonomous schools-within-schools, is the Big Idea in the educational policy world for evidence, one need only view the consultant-studded attendance list of the meeting, and the sweet aroma of a $1.5 million redesign grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that now permeates AISD..."
"...The Austin Independent School District (AISD) has an important role to play when disaster strikes. In conjunction with the Red Cross, high school gyms can serve as hurricane evacuation centers, and cafeterias can feed thousands..."
"...The main source of contention is teacher pay. AISD says it just can't afford a raise, while Education Austin, the teachers union, argues that the money is there if AISD can find the will to spend it..."
"...If a good friend is one who is honest about your faults, then AISD has no better friend than the Southern Regional Education Board, which last week issued a less-than-rosy audit commissioned by AISD of the district's ability to prepare its graduates for college and careers. The solutions the SREB offered will shape several months of discussion and planning in the AISD community and then the future of AISD high schools...."
"...Concerned Parents of Austin, a newly formed religious extremist group, has spent much of the summer pressuring the Austin Independent School District to terminate its Welcoming Schools program – a professional development training program created by the Human Rights Campaign to help teachers and classroom staff support children with diverse families, and decrease bullying of queer and transgender kids in elementary school. AISD was the first school district in the state to implement this program, in 2014..."
"...Did you know that the Austin Independent School District has 12 apartments at the Carruth Administration Center on West Sixth? Or that it owns the historic Millett Opera House, currently home to the Austin Club, where Texas' politicos gather to bond and machinate? If not, that puts you with the AISD Board of Trustees, who recently voted to examine 10 underused properties and work out what best to do with them...."
"...The labor community is once again butting heads with the perpetually cash-strapped AISD, after the district recommended that the board of trustees adopt a prevailing wage scale for skilled laborers that does not budget for benefits. "They're sending a message that despite the princely benefit packages they all enjoy, they don't think that construction workers should enjoy the same," said Michael Murphy of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers...."
"...As AISD struggles to find and keep enough bilingual teachers to serve a student body where about one in six students is classified as "limited English proficiency," a new "teacher pipeline" program is banking on the idea that the most promising candidates for the jobs are already in the classrooms. These are the district's 740 teachers' aides, employees without teaching certificates, but with years of experience working with some of AISD's most challenged students...."
"...After about a month-long marathon of exhaustive work sessions, public hearings, and staff presentations on the 1997-98 budget for AISD, you would have thought that the last thing anyone would find edifying was a retrospective of those discussions. But when AISD administrators surprised the board at the budget adoption session with video clips of themselves discussing the budget with the board, set to upbeat music and intercut with arty, black-and-white shots of AISD students striding confidently across campus, the casual observer could have gotten the feeling that there are some folks working for AISD who actually want to help educate kids..."
"...Now it's on the cusp of asking voters to approve the biggest bond issue ever – one that still will not do everything that's needed for the school district. As AISD Board President Kendall Pace told her fellow trustees on Monday, the district is "squishing $4 billion in need into a $999 million no-tax-increase bond."..."
"...An overnight fire at Casis Elementary in West Austin on October 21 damaged two classrooms before burning itself out. If the blaze, caused by an overhead projector, hadn't managed itself, God only knows how long it would have been before someone noticed the joint was on fire, for Casis is one of about 25 AISD schools without a fire alarm...."
"...Paul, Minn., knew that she was considering quitting was when her name was leaked to the Austin American-Statesman and the St. Paul Pioneer Press* caught her flying to Austin for a barbecue lunch with the AISD trustees..."
"...AISD is currently holding open enrollment for its employee insurance, and educating staff that premiums will double for their top-level package (see "School District Staff Face Big Health Care Rate Hike," June 7.) In June, six district employees at Becker Elementary filed a formal grievance with the district, arguing that the hike places a disproportionate burden on its lowest-paid employees: They already pay more per paycheck than many of their AISD colleagues, and will see the biggest increase. Joaquin Abrego, a labor organizer with the Southwest Workers Union, said, "You put 131% on anything, that's a lot."..."
"...Mayor Lee Leffingwell put a hole in the wall separating the two entities when he politely warned the district last month about the perils of its plan to close nine schools (See "Closing Schools Won't Fix AISD Budget," Jan. 21)..."
"...A week after it was first delivered, district staff and members of the Austin Independent School District board of trustees were already concerned about methodologies used and conclusions reached in the $455,000 districtwide efficiency study commissioned from MGT of America (see "AISD 'Efficiency' Study: Not Exactly What the Doctor Ordered?," June 12). Now additional questions have been raised about the numbers in the report – and whether they even add up...."
"...In the past, many immigrant students responded to these pressures by just giving up: Last year, the dropout rate was about 50%. AISD administrators hope the international school-within-a-school can change that...."
"..."None of the choices are pleasant." Austin ISD spokesman Andy Welch was describing the district's ongoing budget deliberations, but he could as well be discussing virtually every decision AISD makes for the next couple of years. It's no secret that Texas schools, like the rest of the public sector, are strapped for cash..."
"...Will it be "Good- night, nurse" in AISD? As part of their budget deliberations, the AISD school board is poised to consider a partnership proposal, engineered by Superintendent Jim Fox, with Seton Hospital to put a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) at each AISD elementary campus during the 1996-97 school year. The program would be exanded to include all secondary campuses next year..."
"...In a letter published in the Dec. 2 issue of East Austin community paper The Austin Villager, Lottie Spaulding accused AISD Trustee Paul Saldaña of a longstanding vendetta against the outgoing Democratic state representative, who says she'll resign Jan..."
"...AISD's Pre-K3 program was born from a very simple need: According to the nonprofit E3 Alliance, only 50% of students entering kindergarten are ready for the challenge. Jacquie Porter, AISD's director of early childhood education, said, "Many of our kids, when they walk through the [kindergarten] door, have the vocabulary of a 2-year-old."..."
"...In 2011, the Legislature gutted public school spending by $5.4 billion, meaning a $60 million cut in state funding for AISD. This year, they are offering a minimal gesture of apology: a commitment to track enrollment growth..."
"...Tonight (Thursday), representatives of the for-profit school management company Edison Schools Inc. appear before Austin ISD Superintendent Pat Forgione and members of the Board of Trustees to present Edison's proposal to contract with the district to manage, in partnership with AISD, a cluster of up to 15 East Austin public schools..."
"...The AISD Board of Trustees on Monday tackled two quite controversial issues: the district's "new" grading policy, and site acquisition for new schools south of the river...."
"...Bruce Banner's job as a teacher's aide at AISD's Alternative Learning Center (ALC) is a lot harder these days; he's been assaulted by students three times so far this year...."
"...It's the seventh week of the school year, and the complaints keep coming about AISD's new surplus system. Last April, the district implemented a method of "surplusing" teachers on campuses that supposedly don't have high enough enrollments to support them..."
"...That's less than employee union Education Austin initially asked for, but their hope is that a new incentive program will mean staff at the district's most demanding campuses will see extra pay in return for career development. AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz and Education Austin President Ken Zarifis signed a consultation agreement on May 22 approving the pay increase..."
"...The latest statistics released by the affordable housing nonprofit show that AISD students identified as homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act climbed between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, from 2,648 to 2,693. This is the fifth consecutive year the school district has seen an increase in homeless youth, the bulk of whom share housing with other people – or "doubled up" – because of economic hardship or housing loss...."
"...In April, when then-Chief Schools Officer Cruz replaced former superintendent Meria Carstarphen on an interim basis, AISD trustees followed the recommendations of the Texas Association of School Boards that an interim should be excluded from applying for the permanent position. The logic is that an incumbent would have an unfair advantage over external candidates..."