Austin ISD

A crowded school closure meeting at Ridgetop Elementary.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

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Instead of closing 12 schools over the next five years, the Austin Independent School District is now proposing closing four schools over two years.

Erika Bodoin (left) holds a sign in support of adopting National Sexual Education Standards at an AISD Board meeting on Feb. 25.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted early Tuesday morning to adopt new sex ed curriculum that expands topics taught to third through eighth graders.

New topics include gender identity and expression, sexually transmitted infections and anatomy, and they sparked hours of public testimony before the unanimous vote just after midnight.

Hazel O'Neil / KUT

The word “equity” has been thrown around a lot over the last month, since the Austin Independent School District announced its plan to close and consolidate 12 schools. On the first page of the district’s proposal released on Sept. 5, it says these changes are being made “with equity in mind.”

But the meaning of the word “equity” means different things, depending on who you talk to.

Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees Jayme Mathias
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District finished its third week of community meetings to get feedback on its plan to close and consolidate 12 schools. Now, district staff will revise the proposal before the school board votes in late November.

Parents and community members attend a public meeting at Ridgetop Elementary
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District held its second week of community meetings to discuss its plan to close 12 schools and increase programs districtwide

Pease Elementary
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is holding a series of public meetings at schools affected by its proposal to close and consolidate 12 campuses across the district.

Residents hold signs during an AISD school board meeting
Julia Reihs / KUT

Education Austin and LGBTQ activists are asking the Austin Independent School District for a discussion on training for AISD police officers after an August school board meeting where audience members clashed over homophobic comments. 

Susanne Kerns of Informed Parents of Austin speaks during public comment at an Austin ISD school board meeting in February.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District has revised its rules for public comment at school board meetings, reducing the time people are allowed to speak but removing the cap on the number of people allowed to speak on an agenda item. 

Jennifer Stayton, Claire McInerny, Matias Segura and Lisa Goodnow during a live Morning Edition taping.
KUT video screengrab

At a live discussion of the Austin Independent School District's proposal to overhaul the entire district, school officials said the idea is about more than just closings. Meanwhile, city leaders said there's room to grow to bring more equitable opportunities to students. 

Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy is among the 12 schools AISD has proposed closing.
Julia Reihs / KUT

KUT hosted a live, one-hour conversation during Morning Edition about the Austin Independent School District's plan to consolidate schools. You can watch the conversation on Facebook or on this page below.

Stephanie Hawley is the Austin Independent School District's first equity officer. She started her job Aug. 1, after serving as associate vice president of equity and inclusion at Austin Community College.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Stephanie Hawley was hired this summer as the Austin Independent School District's first equity officer. The position is intended to help ensure all students have an equal shot at academic success – a request many have been making for years.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Independent School District announced Thursday its first draft of a plan for closing and consolidating schools. The move is something the district has said it needs to do as enrollment continues to drop.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Independent School District released a plan Thursday to close 12 schools and move those students to other campuses. The district is also proposing boundary changes and wants to add academic programs at more than 30 schools.

Ali Takata and her two daughters
Julia Reihs / KUT

A large frame filled with 1,001 paper cranes hangs above the fireplace in Ali Takata’s living room. A Japanese and Hawaiian wedding tradition, people fold the cranes and give them to the bride. On a summer morning, Takata decided to teach her daughters, ages 8 and 10, how to make them.

The International High School in East Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Large and small cities in Texas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to measles outbreaks as more parents exempt their children from required vaccinations, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Report cards are out, and the Austin Independent School District received a preliminary grade of B for the 2018-19 school year from the Texas Education Agency. But the district also received failing grades at elementary and middle schools in the TEA's first-ever evaluation of individual schools.

Black AISD students on a bus in 1971
Austin History Center, General Collection Photographs, PICA 10494

While many people in Austin are questioning why the Austin Independent School District is closing and consolidating schools, Roxanne Evans says she saw it coming.

Evans covered education for the Austin American-Statesman back in the 1980s, when students were bused in an attempt to integrate schools. She says what’s happening now is a continuation of something that was never finished.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

The cafeteria of Bedichek Middle School in Southwest Austin was chaotic as almost 100 parents fought for the attention of AISD administrative staff. Some were still in work clothes; some were in T-shirts. Almost all of them were asking questions – and sometimes it got heated.

A district staffer had to pull a father into the hallway at one point when his language got combative. 

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District will not publicly announce which schools it is considering for closures until Sept. 6.

The board of trustees had been planning to review possible options at its August meeting. Now it will discuss scenarios at its Sept. 9 work session.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is in the middle of a process to decide which schools to close and consolidate in the city. It announced in February the closures needed to happen to help the district’s financial situation; later that month, the board approved the move

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday to approve a $1.6 billion budget, which includes across-the-board raises for school employees.

The board also voted to hire Stephanie Hawley as AISD's first chief equity officer and in favor of a new dress code.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District wants to give 7% raises to teachers with five or more years of experience and a 6% raise to all other staff, Superintendent Paul Cruz announced Thursday. Staff includes cafeteria workers and bus drivers, in addition to principals and administrative workers.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 100 Austin ISD teachers and staff rallied before Monday’s school board meeting, demanding a 10 percent raise as the board prepares to pass its budget next month.

Gabriel C. Pérez

The Austin School Board approved its guidelines for closing and consolidating schools last night, but much of the discussion ahead of the vote just before midnight centered on increasing equity in Austin public schools.

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.

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

A dozen community activists assembled outside Andrews Elementary School in East Austin on Monday to demand the school district do more about Andrews' principal, who is accused 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.