Public Notice: AISD: How Low Can We Go?

Let’s hope we don’t have to find out ...

Public Notice: AISD: How Low Can We Go?

The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees met Monday night to hear its first report from the consultant the district has hired to search for a new superintendent, given that current honcho Dr. Paul Cruz is leaving in August to take a position at UT. James Guerra, aka JG Consulting of San Antonio, laid out an extensive checklist of people and organizations he's setting up interviews with – to gather input on the qualities they want to see in a new super, for starters, and then to start casting the net.

But given how fast the Board wants to get this done – even in the midst of a pandemic, and despite a number of public calls for them to delay the process – it seems likely that they, and the district administration, already know who they want to hire, and just need to get the appearances of a public process done with. (As I wrote last week, public process "has notoriously never been a strong point" for either the Board or the administration; it's something they seem to suffer through rather than try to use.) That impression was reinforced by a rather breathless "Statement from the Board President on behalf of the AISD Board of Trustees" the district sent out the next day, which repeatedly insists that come hell or high water, they intend to hire a new superintendent "no later than Aug. 31, 2020." In case anyone missed the point, there are "Clarifying questions":

"Does the goal of finding a new superintendent by Aug. 31 mean there will be no interim?

Yes, there is no need for an interim superintendent, and we appreciate Dr. Cruz working with the board to accomplish a smooth transition.

If a candidate can't be finalized by that date, what are the district's plans for an interim?

There are no plans for an interim. We expect to hire the next superintendent no later than August 31, 2020."

In other words, "if we can't find someone by mid-August who's great, and willing to dump their current responsibilities in the middle of a pandemic, we will definitely find a warm body to put in that chair."

We all better hope they do have someone in mind already.

CAMPO, the Capital Area Metropol­i­tan Planning Organization, meets at 2pm Monday, May 4, presumably to pass its $42 billion long-range CAMPO 2045 Reg­ion­al Transportation Plan, despite fervent complaints from the environmental community about "new, expensive roads located in the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones," to quote a press statement from the SOS Alliance, and about $633 million in cuts yet to be made to offset investment in I-35, which they fear will heavily impact trails, transit, and smart traffic solutions. The meeting will be held remotely online and by phone, of course, and livestreamed at To sign up for public comment (three minutes), call 512/215-9351 or email by 1pm Monday, and they'll let you know how to offer your comment.

Meanwhile, as I noted last week, the Texas Trans­port­ation Commission is set to move ahead on funding the I-35 Capital Express Central project today, Thursday, April 30. More on that soon.

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AISD, Paul Cruz, superintendent search

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