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Chronicle Endorsements: Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees
At stake: Place 2, At-Large 8
News Story  October 20, 2016
"...District 2: Jayme Mathias..."

AISD: New South High School(s)?
AISD mulls over a possible South Austin high school
News Story  January 22, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Austin Independent School District has been contemplating a new high school in South Travis County since 2002. Yet with divisions on the board about its location, and the increasing complexity and cost of finding enough land for thousands of teenagers, the district is mulling splitting the school into several separate campuses...."

Austin @ Large: Austin at Large
Candidate Gus Garcia takes on the school district
News Column  November 2, 2001, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...So when Garcia mouths off about the sorry state of Austin's schools, he is speaking from some authority, even though his school board service was 20 years ago. In the intervening two decades, he says, "The district has gone from majority to minority" -- that is, the student body is now predominantly non-white -- "but we've had 20 years to address that issue, and ....."

High School Stakes
Austin ISD election could shape a new direction for the district
News Story  October 5, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...On Nov. 6, voters in the Austin Inde­pen­dent School District won't just be selecting new trustees..."

The Med School Solution
A medical school, a teaching hospital, and a new health care system?
News Story  September 14, 2012, by Mike Kanin
"...6. Watson asked for a raise of five cents per $100 of property valuation; Central Health's board obliged, endorsing that increase, which would bring the district's rate to just over 12 cents for every $100 of property valuation..."

Back to School
Carstarphen and Austin ISD trustees wrestle over priorities, budget, and power
News Story  March 5, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...When Pat Forgione retired last year after a decade as superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, he left for his successor one piece of advice. "What you gotta be careful of in Austin," he said, "you gotta bring the group to your vision."..."

Pearce Middle School to Close
School commissioner announces closure with little warning to district
DAILY News  July 8, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...We'll have more responses as the day goes on. Find the full announcement from the district after the jump...."

Austin Creative Classroom Fund
The Arts in Austin ISD get a million-dollar boost
Arts Story  May 11, 2012, by Robert Faires
"...Just who that is we aren't being told, but it's someone who's backed that conviction to the tune of $1 million. The anonymous gift, announced at a press conference on May 14 at Lamar Middle School, will establish the Austin Creative Classroom Fund, a resource that will enable teachers in the Austin Independent School District to enhance their course work with creative learning projects and boost students' access to the arts, even for classes outside traditional arts programs...."

Point Austin: Webb Games
Webb Middle School is a test case for bad public policy vs. community resolve
News Column  February 16, 2007, by Michael King
"...Although the dust has far from settled, the public battle to defend Webb Middle School from the blunt and counterproductive logic of "accountability" has paused, at least momentarily. Austin Independent School District Superintendent Pat Forgione, facing strong and outspoken opposition from the Webb community, has backed down from his initial recommendation to close the school outright, proposing instead that the AISD board of trustees close Webb's sixth grade this fall and then phase out seventh and eighth grades in the following years..."

Austin ISD Receives "B" Grade from Texas Education Agency
District's overall score was 89%
News Story  August 16, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...The Austin Independent School District received a "B" letter grade from the Texas Education Agency in a report released Wednesday for a new "A-F" school rating system passed by the Legislature last year. Following pushback from school leaders, state lawmakers delayed implementation of letter grades for individual campuses until 2019, although each campus did receive a numerical grade..."

School Closings Under Fire
Austinites pack Delco Center to oppose closing of schools
DAILY News  January 12, 2011, by Michael King
"...Prior to this meeting, the most organized opposition has been heard from the Barton Hills Elementary and Zilker Elementary communities. They were here in force – but so were defenders of Pease, Brooke, Ortega, Oak Springs, Sanchez elementaries, as well as Pearce Middle School, all of them listed as options for closing, under the Task Force charge to find savings in the strained school district budget, almost certain to be targeted for even more cuts during the current legislative session...."

Austin ISD Budget: $1.4 Billion
Trustees approve budget for 2018-19 school year
News Story  June 21, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday night to approve a $1.4 billion budget for the upcoming school year – about $11.9 million less than last year. Key provisions include: funding an across-the-board raise of 1.5% for district employees, at a cost of $8.1 million; funding for 75 nurses and 48 clinical assistants across 130 campuses (meaning not every campus will be staffed with a full-time nurse, and nearly half of the campuses with on-site mental health centers will lose their therapists); five more AISDPD officers, an officer specializing in mental health, and other security measures at a cost of $1.7 million..."

Finding Funds for School Mental Health
Foundations help save 16 campus-based clinics
News Story  October 18, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...More than a dozen campus-based mental health care facilities that were facing closure in the Austin Independent School District will remain open thanks to partnerships with Integral Care, Central Health, and through donations made to the Austin Ed Fund...."

Point Austin: Activate This!
One insider's fight to make 'good old liberal Austin the city it thinks it is'
News Column  December 30, 2011, by Amy Smith
"...Early the morning of Dec. 19, for example, she delivered a Crock-Pot of warm oatmeal to her Occupy allies outside Austin Independent School District headquarters on West Sixth Street..."

School Scores, School Funds
Board president Mark Williams drills the data
DAILY News  August 4, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Mark Williams, president of Austin Independent School District, is facing a conundrum. How is he supposed to set policy for the years ahead when the state doesn't seem to know what it needs?..."

Austin Wages Legal Battle Against SB 4 in Court
Austin filing argues SB 4 violates U.S. Constitution
DAILY News  June 2, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...“In recent months, the Austin Police Department has encountered crime victims, or close relatives of crime victims, who are unwilling to engage in the criminal justice system out of fear that they or their close relatives will be at increased risk of immigration enforcement and deportation,” the 18-page filing reads. “At the Austin Independent School District, students have missed class due to fears that ICE agents will capture undocumented residents on the way to or from school.”..."

Coca-Cola High School
Marketing at Westlake: It's the Deal Thing
News Story  August 22, 1997, by Robert Bryce
"...High schools have become the new battleground. And the Eanes Independent School District (EISD) has become the first district in the Austin area to jump on the commercial endorsement bandwagon..."

Looking for a School Chief
AISD zigzags its way to a new superintendent
News Story  February 27, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...It's been 10 years since the Austin Independent School District last searched for a new superintendent, and to call its hiring process back then "a mess" would be generous. In 1998, the district bought out beleaguered and then disgraced Superintendent Jim Fox's contract, leading to 1) a year under an interim appointee, 2) the embarrassment of having finalist Mark Edwards reject the district's job offer, and 3) the board of trustees finally asking current Superintendent Pat Forgione to take the job after it had previously rejected him..."

City, AISD Look for School Fixes
A vow to work together
News Story  February 25, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...That statement has proven pretty reliable in Austin for decades, but after City Council passed a resolution Feb. 17 instructing City Manager Marc Ott to work with the Austin Independent School District to "identify potential operational efficiencies and partnership opportunities," that divide became a little more porous...."

What Follows Five Years of Failure at Mendez Middle School?
Making the grade
News Story  August 30, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...Two weeks ago, when the Texas Education Agency released district and campus scores as part of its new A-F accountability system, five schools in the Austin Independent School District received failing grades. That designation for one such school, Rosedale, at 49th Street and Burnet Road, was particularly galling for district officials, who argued it should never have been rated: The school services students with severe special needs, and many are unable to even give answers on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams that are a major component in establishing campus grades..."

School Funding Bill 'Could Have Been Worse'
Senate Bill 1 on deck for House debate
News Story  June 10, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...There is bad news, good news, and worse news for the Austin Independent School District in the Legislature...."

Point Austin: You Think Austin's Weird?
Consider the ballots beyond city limits
News Column  May 4, 2007, by Michael King
"...voters who remember to go to the polls will find a ballot so brief they'll wonder why they bothered. Southeast Austin voters (District 2, Austin Independent School District) will choose among four candidates for a one-year seat on the school board, and neighboring jurisdictions will mostly be voting as well for school trustees.Pave Those Hills..."

Texas School Funding
Still unconstitutional
News Story  September 4, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...On Aug. 28, Dietz handed down his final ruling in a lawsuit brought in 2012 by the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition (a group brought together by the Equity Center and representing 443 school districts) and the Texas Charter School Association..."

McMoldy High School?
For one McCallum High student, every day is a sick day
News Story  July 10, 2009, by Nora Ankrum
"...Her symptoms began with the spring rains and worsened when she was at school; when she was away from school, they would dissipate. For Van Deusen, it seemed like the return of a nightmare she'd hoped her family – and the Austin Independent School District – had left behind...."

School of Hard Fox
Superintendent Jim Fox Is Far From Warm and Fuzzy
News Story  December 13, 1996, by Roseana Auten
"...AISD Superintendent Jim Fox On November 1995, members of parent-teacher associations from all over the Austin Independent School District convened at Anderson High School to hear superintendent Jim Fox and members of his staff present their vision of a then-unsold bond package. Fox, speaking in sonorous and measured tones, lectured the group on how critical the need for new and updated facilities was, how Austin voters had done themselves a grave disservice by turning down bonds in the past, and how his plan for putting instructional technology into all AISD classrooms was no frill, but the wave of the future. And then he paused to take another breath...."

Back to School
The ledger of candidates for school district trustee
News Story  April 23, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...We continue coverage this week of the upcoming May 8 elections – which will determine who sits on the boards of trustees for the Austin Independent School District and Austin Community College – with a rundown of the AISD candidates. For last week's reporting on the ACC races, see "ACC Board Elections: Meet the Candidates," April 15, and for ongoing coverage, visit"

Big Bucks for High School Redesign
Gates Foundation offers money and experience to AISD
News Story  December 2, 2005, by Rachel Proctor May
"...As of Monday, Austin Independent School District can add a fifth R to its much-touted four R's of high school redesign: Rippin' open a big, fat $1.5 million check from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will fund a year of planning and community engagement on AISD's effort to redesign all 11 of its comprehensive high schools...."

Johnston High School Is Dead; Long Live ...?
Johnston High will get a new name and perhaps a new lease on life
News Story  July 4, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...But the birth of its replacement, the yet-unnamed Eastside high, will be much faster. "On Monday, August 25, when school starts, we will in effect be opening our newest school," said Austin Independent School District spokesman Andy Welch...."

Help Wanted: School Board Candidates
Scarce bids concern education advocates
News Story  June 12, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...The November Council elections are swarming with wannabe office holders. If only the Austin Inde­pendent School District were so lucky...."

Hogwarts at Austin High?
Some Austin High parents say the Academy of Global Studies should be its own school
News Story  September 11, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...But parents of kids in the host school fear the academy skews student results, placing their children at a disadvantage in class rankings. So now they want the Austin Independent School District to formally separate the two programs into two schools...."

Proposed Southwest School Boundaries Spark Concerns
Parents fear a new middle school in Southwest Austin will fracture a community
News Story  November 14, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Austin Independent School District's new Southwest middle school is on track to open next year. It has a principal – former Bowie High assistant principal Vickie Gaudin Bauerle – and AISD's board of trustees plans to announce the campus name on Dec..."

The School-Bond Lowdown
AISD trustees tell staff to work on language for three bond propositions for May ballot
News Story  February 22, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...After months of discussion, the Austin Independent School District is moving forward with a $343 million bond proposal. At the district's Feb..."

School Board Election Preview
Race to fill District 2 spot on AISD board of trustees promises to be highly contested, with four candidates vying for empty seat left by board's longest-serving member, Rudy Montoya
News Story  April 19, 2007, by Justin Ward
"...The May 12 special election to fill the District 2 spot on the Austin Independent School District board of trustees promises to be highly contested, with four candidates vying for the empty seat left by the board's longest-serving member, Rudy Montoya. Montoya left the board in September after a term lasting more than a decade..."

High School by Redesign
Garza Independence High School students get involved with plans to rework local high schools
News Story  June 10, 2005, by Rachel Proctor May
"...The Austin Independent School District promises that four R's will come out of its multiyear process of redesigning its high schools: rigor, relationships, relevance, and results. But to a group of AISD students and grads trying to entice more students to participate in the redesign planning process, that recipe is still one R short of success...."

AISD Boys' School Has a Target
Covington Middle School seems the likely candidate
News Story  November 2, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Austin Independent School District is edging closer to opening a second single-sex school – this time for boys – and Covington Middle School has become the top contender to house it...."

IDEA's Records Show Kids From Across District
Charter school says its fulfilling mission to serve the underserved
News Story  October 5, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The new in-district charter school, serving grades K-2 and 6, opened its doors oversubscribed but slightly underenrolled (see "IDEA Enrollment Numbers Fall Short," Sept. 21)..."

Point Austin: Board Games
The AISD trustees play superintendent poker – by uneven rules
News Column  February 27, 2009, by Michael King
"...That said, the Austin Independent School District board of trustees seems to have gone out of its way to piss people off this month, as it drags its bureaucratic feet toward hiring a new superintendent to replace the retiring Pat Forgione and attempts to keep the interviewing and hiring process confidential – more or less. That is, even while the announced board policy is to keep the process private, it's clear that at least some members have been leaking like sieves, much to the delight of the Austin American-Statesman..."

AISD to Consider Ridding School Names of Confederate Legacy
AISD Board in the process of crafting a mechanism that allows for renaming schools upon public request
News Story  November 19, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Austin Independent School District trustees could adopt a new policy for renaming campuses as early as Nov. 23..."

Point Austin: The Dietz Decision
Will Texas fulfill its constitutional promise?
News Column  September 4, 2014, by Michael King
"...As more than one commentator has pointed out – notably my Chronicle colleague Richard Whittaker ("Texas School Funding: Still Unconstitutional") – District Judge John Dietz's Aug. 28 ruling in the public school funding case was a glaring instance of déjà vu all over again..."

AISD Braces for Challenging School Year
After rocky start, district tries to smooth out bumps
News Story  August 14, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...The buildup to the new academic year in the Austin Independent School District began in earnest this week with the start of new teacher orientation and student registration. Traditionally, the district expects to have all its vacancies filled and the direction set for its campuses by this time..."

School Boundaries: Please All, Please None
Another map emerges in building enrollment for new middle school
News Story  November 28, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...The argument about whose children will go to Austin Independent School District's new Southwest middle school has become heated and bitter. But as a final decision looms closer, it seems that the fears of parents of Mills Elementary students – that their kids will get split up when they leave fifth grade – are coming true...."

Point Austin: Bare Necessities
Budget decisions are about money ... and justice
News Column  August 15, 2008, by Michael King
"...Matters are less likely to resolve so readily over at Austin Independent School District, where the district administration and Educa­tion Austin, the teacher and staff union, remain at loggerheads over the proposed district budget and especially over proposed raises for faculty and staff. As the Chronicle's Richard Whittaker reports ("Budget Woes at AISD"), Superintendent Pat Forgione has proposed a 3% raise for this year (while hinting that flattening property values may no longer support it), while EA has asked for 5% this year and next for full-time faculty and staff, a $10 minimum (living) wage for hourly workers, a health insurance contribution from the district, and more money for library resources..."

School Tax Hike Likely for November Ballot
AISD Board of Trustees mulls a much-overdue teacher pay raise
News Story  January 13, 2012, by Nick Barbaro
"...The Austin Independent School District board of trustees heard some good financial news at its Monday work session. And trustees seemed to agree with the administration that after several budget cycles of severe cuts – including pay freezes and layoffs for teachers and other district employees – the district has built up its reserves and credit rating sufficiently that it can take a deep breath and start investing in education again...."

Point Austin: What's at Stake?
There will be blood
News Column  April 25, 2008, by Michael King
"...This week, the Chronicle News staff delivers an overview of the municipal ballot you will see on May 10, covering the City Council races, the (rather thin) community college and school board campaigns, and the school district bond propositions. Up front (p.6) we've got our own endorsements, and take them for what they are: the considered (and hard-argued) opinions of about a dozen Chronicle reporters and editors, who have looked closely at the candidates and come to a rough consensus..."

Point Austin: Gift Horse
A rich guy wants to give AISD $7 million. What's the catch?
News Column  January 25, 2008, by Michael King
"...Largely below the public radar, for many weeks the Austin Independent School District's large Citizens' Bond Advisory Committee has been diligently working to present to the board of trustees an interim bond package intended for a May 10 vote. Last night the CBAC held its final meeting, hoping to whittle down about 300 million (or more) dollars' worth of school needs into a total closer to $200 million, including: new schools, new infrastructure, technology upgrades (a surprisingly big hit of $70 million, for technical and curriculum reasons), and that's hardly all of it..."

AISD: Insurgents and Ed Austin Win 3 of 4
Hinojosa won by the biggest margin
News Story  November 9, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Tuesday was a huge night for Education Austin, the Austin Independent School District employees' union, as three of its four endorsed candidates were victorious...."

Mark Your (School Planning) Calendars
Superintendent lays out new proposal
News Story  October 14, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has laid out her timetable for adopting a new approach to facility planning for the district. Rather than the 10-year strategic vision the community and her administration have been working on for more than two years, Carstarphen wants the AISD board of trustees to approve a new framework for developing annual facilities recommendations, with the first recommendations taking effect for the 2012-2013 school year..."

Austin ISD
What are AISD students learning in sex ed? Gee, that's a hard one.
News Story  March 20, 2009, by Jordan Smith
"...According to the Texas Freedom Network report on state public schools, the Austin Independent School District is among the 3.6% of districts statewide actually teaching information about contraceptives as part of its sex-ed curriculum – a program known as "abstinence-plus." But that doesn't mean all AISD students get the same information or that they all get medically accurate information...."

Charter School Stirs 'Revitalization' Politics
Eastside revitalization or private profit on public dime?
News Story  August 10, 2007, by Kimberly Reeves
"...Former Austin Independent School District trustee Diana Castañeda, who spoke at last month's hearing, is upset that Southwest Key is willing to suck support away from the community's existing public-school system and do it on the public dime. Castañeda is skeptical of Cavazos' track record -- he left Johnston midyear -- and she says building new schools in East Austin is a waste of resources, given the fact that the Austin school district already has facilities that can be shared with Southwest Key...."

Page Three: Hell in a Handbasket
or, the Worst of Austin

A week in the life of local government
Columns  August 27, 2010, by Nick Barbaro
"...First came the strident campaign hammering the AISD board of trustees not to call for a tax-hike election (see "Bowing to Business Wheels, AISD Cans Tax Hike" for details). Now, I will note that I'm no big fan of AISD administration as a whole, but they're already working pretty hard on trimming what fat remains in the Forgione-era miasma that is the district's West Sixth Street HQ, and the firestorm that came down on teachers' heads for daring to propose a cost-of-living raise – and perhaps an extra $50-a-year uniform allowance for cafeteria workers earning $7.25 an hour – was way, way out of proportion to what was being discussed (and counter to opinion polls indicating that a solid majority of residents actually favor such a move)...."

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