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

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.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is seeking parent input as it prepares to rewrite its human sexuality curriculum. 

The district hasn't revised its elementary and middle school curriculum in 12 years. Parents received an online survey Wednesday asking at what grade level various lessons should be taught. For example, when students should learn about gender identity.

Austin Community College will not include Pflugerville in its boundaries after voters rejected annexation Tuesday. Fifty-four percent of Pflugerville voters voted against the ballot proposition. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

There will be three new members of the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees after Tuesday’s election, including incumbent Ted Gordon's challenger.

LaTisha Anderson beat Gordon for the District 1 seat, which covers most of East Austin. She won with 61 percent of the vote.

KUT

Five seats on the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees are on the ballot. The role of the school board is to oversee the AISD superintendent and district administration. Members serve four-year terms.

District 1 | District 4 | District 6 | District 7 | District 9

Children walk down a hallway at a school.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Five seats on the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees will be on the ballot Nov. 6. 

The role of the school board is to oversee the AISD superintendent and district administration. The board votes on district policy and budgets, and sets tax rates. Members serve four-year terms. You can see which district you live in here.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Despite momentum earlier this year to rid Austin Independent School District properties of links to the Confederacy, the district's Board of Trustees is facing pushback over proposed new names.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Sixty-five percent of children born to young parents in Texas are living in poverty, according to a new report.

The report, released Tuesday by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, found that 450,000 children were born to young parents in Texas from 2015 to 2017. It defined young parents as people between 18 and 24.

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees will vote in a little over a week on how to consolidate three elementary schools in East Austin. Students at Metz, Zavala and Sanchez Elementary schools will combine into once school, which the district will completely renovate using money from the 2017 bond, but parents, staff and students are still unsure what lies ahead.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A group of education advocates has released what it is calling a manifesto, demanding the Austin Independent School District immediately address inequities for schools in East Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Five Austin Independent School District schools named for Confederate figures will get renamed this semester.

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees voted in February to rename the John T. Allan Facility, Zachary Taylor Fulmore Middle School, Sidney Lanier Early College High School, John H. Reagan Early College High School and Eastside Memorial Early College High School at the Johnston Campus (named for Albert Sidney Johnston).

IgorTX/Flickr

The Round Rock Independent School District is providing families free, full-day prekindergarten for the first time this school year.

The district previously offered only a half-day program, paid for by the state.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Austin Independent School District received a grade of "B" under the state's new A-F grading system. The Texas Education Agency released the preliminary grades for the first time Wednesday.

Austin Price for KUT

As the new school year approaches, the Austin Independent School District is preparing for more immigrant families to rely on it for resources outside of education.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The number of students in Texas accused of making terroristic threats or exhibiting a firearm increased significantly in the first five months of 2018 compared with last year, according to a new report from Texas Appleseed.

The report's co-author, Morgan Craven, director of the nonprofit's School-to-Prison Pipeline Project, said there was a large spike in February after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. While some of those threats were real, she said, legal action in other cases was too extreme.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

As a taxpayer, this is a big year for Amanda Braziel.

The Austin Independent School District librarian has owned a home in Central Austin for 15 years. This year, the property tax bill for her house, which is appraised at around $363,757, was $4,336. That's a lot for a public school librarian whose gross monthly income is about $4,192.

“I’m essentially paying more in property taxes than I bring home from one month working in AISD,” she says.

Does all the money collected in recapture stay in education or is it used for other state-funded programs? Yes, all recapture money is put into the education fund.

Which school districts receive recapture dollars? The state doesn’t track where each recapture dollar goes. Because the money is put into the general education fund, it gets mixed in with sales taxes, money from the lottery and other funding streams.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When students at Mendez Middle School return to school next month, there will be new curriculum – and a new principal.

After Mendez failed state standards four years in a row, the district agreed to let an outside group run the school, and that group hired a new principal this summer, Joanna Carrillo-Rowley from Midland.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hundreds of Episcopal Church leaders from around the country protested the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy outside a detention center in Taylor on Sunday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Twelve percent of teenagers in Texas said they attempted suicide in 2017, according to a report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's higher than the national average of 7 percent.

Seventeen percent of ninth- through 12th-graders surveyed in Texas said they seriously considered suicide last year, and 14 percent said they had made a plan for how to do it.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s a typical summer day at Emily Herrington’s house in Northeast Austin. Her two daughters, Penly, 7, and Laurel, 3, are playing with their kittens and reading books in the living room.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The most basic thing to understand about school funding is that every student in the state of Texas has a dollar figure hanging over his or her head. But not every kid is worth the same amount of money in the eyes of state.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

As Austin’s property taxes continue to rise, so does the amount on the check AISD writes to the state.

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved a budget Monday night that sends more than half of its local tax revenue away from the district. Texas law requires wealthier districts to send a portion of their property taxes back to the state to help out smaller, poorer districts in a program known as “recapture.”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A group of law enforcement officers told Texas senators today that they don't think the governor's plan to “harden” schools is the best way to keep students safe.

“Give us more campus officers,” Joe Curiel, police chief for San Antonio Independent School District Police Department, told the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas’ system for paying for schools is complicated, and for most of you with jobs, kids and lives, it's hard to find time to learn the ins and outs of it.

So, we’re starting a project called Filling in the Blanks to demystify the process and answer your questions – big and small – about how the state pays for schools and why it got that way.

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