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AISD Superintendent Calls For End Of Financial Emergency

Nathan Bernier, KUT News
AISD superintendent Carstarphen delivered her 2011 State of the District address inside McCallum High School's new performing arts center.

The Austin Independent School District’s superintendent says there will be no layoffs this school year. Meria Carstarphen made the announcement this morning during her 2011 State of the District Address inside McCallum High School's new performing arts center.  Carstarphen said she will ask the school board to lift the financial emergency declaration made back in February. That declaration of "financial exigency" allowed AISD to lay off hundreds of employees.

"The point of doing this is to ensure that teachers and other staff have the assurance they need to know that their jobs are not going away," Carstarphen said to a group of education and business leaders. "We can concentrate on the work that we need to be doing over the next year, which is educating our kids."

The District declared financial exigency earlier this year as state lawmakers worked to cut about $4 billion from public education spending. 

Carstarphen also said she wants to offer staff  a pay raise of up to 3 percent to keep AISD a competitive employer with surrounding Central Texas districts.  The raise would be a one-time increase unless voters approve a tax rate increase in 2013.

"If we did not do it this next school year, we would not have seen any compensation for our staff in three years," Carstarphen said. "That's just unheard of in our work, and we know that we are not being competitive, not even with everything we put in the bucket in comparing ourselves to other Texas districts."

Carstarphen praised the district for passing a framework to guide how it manages its facilities. The Board of Trustees in December is scheduled to vote on whether to approve in-district charter program in East Austin and several other facilities proposals. 

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