Claire McInerny, KUT

Education Reporter

Claire McInerny is the education reporter for KUT. Previously, she was a statewide education reporter for NPR member stations in Indiana. She won an Edward R. Murrow award for a series she did there about resources for English Language Learners in the state’s rural school districts. Claire is originally from Kansas, and got a journalism degree from the University of Kansas. Since moving to Texas, she’s never missed winter. 

Ways to Connect

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Come Monday, the Austin Independent School District will be one step closer to closing or consolidating schools. Facing declining enrollment, a budget shortfall and aging schools, the district says the move will help it avoid bankruptcy and better utilize its property.

Still, it's a move that will require some tough decisions. So, Monday night, the school board will approve its rubric to decide which schools will stay open. So how did the district get to this point?

Real estate agents board a school bus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Two dozen realtors sit in the bleachers of the Burger Athletic Center, eating pastries and sipping on coffee. They’re listening to administration from the Austin Independent School District preview the day ahead: a six-hour tour of schools in South Austin.

The point of the tour is to help families moving to or within Austin to better understand the district's schools – through their real estate agents.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin ISD announced in February its plan to close and consolidate schools, and now it has a clear plan for how to choose which ones.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Residents in two Central Texas school districts will decide whether to pass bonds in the May 4 election.

Eanes ISD is asking voters to approve an $80 million bond, and Hutto ISD is looking for $194 million. If approved, neither bond would increase the tax rate in those communities.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Last week, we published a story called Held Back, a look at the achievement gap in Austin ISD and how we educate students, especially those of color or from low-income homes.

It's an important issue to many in Austin, and we heard from a lot of readers and listeners who wanted to continue the conversation on ideas brought up in the story – and some that weren’t.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District has removed Andrews Elementary Principal Gabriela Soto after parents and teachers accused her of discriminating against immigrant parents. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In most urban school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, black and Latino students don't perform as well on standardized tests as their white and Asian peers.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Independent School District would pay $194 million less in recapture in 2020 if House Bill 3, that chamber's $9 billion school finance plan, is passed.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s board of trustees voted to rename Sidney Lanier High School Monday night. The school will now be called Juan Navarro High School.

The workout apparel retailer Lululemon "took over" Clive Bar on Rainey Street last week and turned it into a meditation spot for SXSW festivalgoers.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A week ago, Clive Bar on Rainey Street looked the way it always does: dark wood paneling and floors, a deck off the inside bar with tables for people to drink outside.

Friday afternoon, it was a different story.

Juan Figueroa for KUT

The Austin Youth Orchestra dedicated its annual spring concert Sunday to former member Draylen Mason, who was killed one year ago this month by a package bomb that exploded at his East Austin home.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

A Northeast Austin school named after the postmaster general of the Confederacy has been renamed Northeast Early College High School.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to move forward with a plan for closing and consolidating schools.

Gabriel C. Pérez

The Austin Independent School District held its first public meeting Tuesday night to hear from the community about proposed budget cuts, which include school closings or consolidations.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s board of trustees is balking at the administration's plan to announce school closures by summer.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Facing a major budget shortfall and declining enrollment, the Austin Independent School District says it's working on a plan to close or consolidate schools that could be finalized as soon as this summer.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

This flu season is hitting schools in Central Texas extra hard. The Lago Vista Independent School District canceled classes for the rest of this week because of an outbreak, and McDade canceled classes last week for the same reason.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A 15-year-old student is in custody and faces a felony charge following a report that a person had a gun on campus at Lanier High School, Austin ISD Police Chief Ashley Gonzalez said.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and former state Sen. Wendy Davis announced the creation of a Sexual Assault Prevention and Healing Work Group today in response to concerns about how sexual assaults are handled in Travis County.

The group will focus on collecting data about sexual assaults to better advocate for survivors.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Saturday on the new site of Eastside Memorial High School in East Austin. The high school will be located in the former L.C. Anderson High School, which closed in 1971 after a judge desegregated Austin schools. 

Priska Neely / KPCC

Public school teachers in Los Angeles, the second-largest school district in the country, went on strike Monday to demand smaller class sizes and more money for support staff. As we saw in early 2018 with the teachers strike in West Virginia, strikes can inspire teachers in other states to walk out of the classroom.

Although many people in Austin often (and begrudgingly) compare the city to L.A., Texas law prevents teachers here from following suit.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The conversation got heated at times Monday as the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees discussed a new report that recommends ending magnet programs, closing schools and redrawing boundaries as ways to cut spending and increase revenue.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State lawmakers filed dozens of bills about educating kids ahead of Tuesday's start to the legislative session. The most interesting discussion at the Capitol will likely be around school funding.

It’s something the Legislature brings up every session, but bills aren't always passed. Lawmakers typically pass school funding bills only when they're forced to act because of a lawsuit.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin parents unsatisfied with their neighborhood schools can now apply for their children to be transferred to another school within the Austin Independent School District.

AISD has an open transfer policy, so families don't have to send their students to their assigned neighborhood school.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday to rename Fulmore Middle School after a longtime social studies teacher, Sarah Beth Lively.

The move comes after more than a yearlong discussion about changing the names of district buildings honoring Confederate figures. The school's original namesake, Zachary Taylor Fulmore, was a private in the Confederate Army.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

Let's talk about sex.

As the Austin Independent School District rewrites its sex ed curriculum for third- through eighth-graders, it asked for input from the community. AISD asked people in a November online survey what they thought should be taught to students – and when – in addition to hosting community meetings to discuss the standards. Those results are in.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday night to rename the Allan Center, named for Confederate Army officer John T. Allan, after Anita Coy, a former Austin ISD principal and administrator.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

It's time for the Austin Independent School District to do something drastic to improve its financial situation, a member of a task force studying its budget says.  

On the table: closing schools and changing boundaries.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

Jim Shead is a lawyer in Austin and the father of twin boys in pre-K. Even though his kids can barely read, he’s already thinking about how he’ll teach them about puberty and sex. Right now, he’s using his own experience as a guide for what he doesn’t want to happen.

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