Austin ISD

Qiling Wang for KUT

Voters approved five of five school funding questions in Central Texas on Tuesday.

The Austin Independent School District, Lake Travis ISD, Leander ISD and Lago Vista ISD all posed bond questions, which use tax money for various renovations and technology upgrades. Eanes ISD asked for a change in the tax rate, which can be used for general district expenses. 

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

There’s been a shift in Austin schools over the years to focus on skills that don’t deal with academics, things like mental health, coping strategies and mindfulness. The philosophy behind the shift is that asking a kid to focus only on academics during the school day is like asking adults not to worry about their personal lives at work.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

Voters in the Austin Independent School District will decide this November on a $1 billion-plus bond package to partially fund a comprehensive building maintenance and upgrade plan. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Lunchtime is wrapping up at Austin High School, just west of downtown. As students walk back inside, Austin ISD Police Officer Chris Roddy walks out. He heads toward the MoPac highway underpass, where there are some trails. He patrols the area daily for kids who may be skipping school.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin School Board Vice President Paul Saldaña said he is planning to announce his resignation from the school board Friday morning. He is holding a press conference  at 9 a.m. at the AISD boardroom at the district's Sixth Street headquarters.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

After nearly six hours, the Austin School Board passed its 25-year Facility Master Plan at around 3 a.m. today. The $4.6 billion plan passed on a 6-3 vote.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin School Board is considering a plan for the future of its facilities. It comes with a $4.6 billion price tag over the next 25 years. That's a lot of money for a district with a tight budget, and it raises questions about how quickly the proposal could be implemented if the state doesn't change its school finance system. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin School Board is continuing to discuss a plan for the future of the district’s school buildings. At first, that plan included school closures, but the latest version, offered last night by a district committee, doesn’t close any schools.

Instead, it puts those campuses on something called a “target utilization plan," a fancy way to buy these schools time to boost enrollment before the district considers closing them. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

It’s no secret that Austin ISD is strapped for cash.

The district often blames that on the state’s school finance system, which requires it to send hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes back to the state. So, in an effort to save a little money, the Austin School Board has proposed changing how school board trustees are elected.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

At the beginning of KUT's 12th and Chicon project, we told the story of Anderson High School — a beacon of the black community in East Austin until its forced closure in 1971 as part of desegregation. But Anderson wasn’t the only neighborhood school to close. Kealing Junior High School did, too. It was reopened in the mid-1980s as a neighborhood school with a magnet program, but the tensions of the past still linger in the school’s hallways.

Kenisha Coburn is trying to change that. 

Students at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy and LBJ High School have developed a set of short-term solutions to increase collaboration and improve relationships between the two schools, located on the same campus in Northeast Austin.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Update (Feb. 28 at 6:30 a.m.)  The Austin ISD school board unanimously passed the proposed ban on suspensions for pre-K through second graders at its meeting last night.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

The Liberal Arts and Science Academy magnet school, known as LASA, is the top-performing high school in Austin ISD, but it's uniquely situated. It occupies the second floor of LBJ High School, a neighborhood school in Northeast Austin, and enrolls students from all over the district. 

KUT News

The Austin School Board unanimously approved a resolution 9-0 Monday night in support of all students, regardless of immigration status. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Teachers and principals should not feel afraid to provide information to immigrant families about what to do if ICE shows up at their homes, the local teacher's union said at a news conference today.  

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

There’s still a lot of work to do before the Austin School Board votes on its Facility Master Plan.

Facility and Bond Planning Advisory Committee (FABPAC) members last night were asked to explain their recommendations to the board. The current plan includes eight possible school closures, along with upgrades and renovations at many schools and new school construction to ease overcrowding in areas like Northwest and Southeast Austin.

Montserrat Garibay via Twitter

About 20 men and women sat in the cafeteria with their children at Rodriguez Elementary in South Austin after school Friday, listening to Yunuen Alvarado with the local teacher's union, Education Austin.

“If an immigration officer goes to your door what you have to remember is you don’t open that door," Alvarado said in English and Spanish. “ICE can only enter your home if they have a warrant signed from a judge from a criminal court.”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A committee tasked with imagining the future of Austin ISD’s 130 school buildings is taking its suggestions to the Austin School Board on Monday. The board is expected to question the Facility and Bond Planning Advisory Committee, or FABPAC, about its recommendations on school construction, renovations and closures.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

In between classes at Kealing Middle School the hallways are full of students, but in the library it's quiet. That's where Gabriel Russell and Joshua Morgan are sitting at a table, talking.

Qiling Wang for KUT

About 30 parents and students in neon green T-shirts gathered on the playground at Garrison Park in South Austin, gearing up to walk over to a community meeting at Crockett High School. The group planned to ask Austin ISD not to close their neighborhood school, Joslin Elementary. 

Austin Students Share Concerns, Advice for Trump

Jan 19, 2017
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

In September, we visited Kealing Middle School’s Presidential Politics class to see what students were thinking about the 2016 presidential election. Most of the students wanted Hillary Clinton to win, and many said they didn’t take Donald Trump seriously.

We checked back in with some of the students to see how they are feeling ahead of Trump's inauguration. Here's what they said:

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

The Austin School Board is expected to vote this month on a proposed ban on some classroom removals and suspensions for pre-K through second-grade students. The board discussed the proposal this week, but some board members raised questions about the idea.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

There’s a pile up of students on the twisting slide of the Ortega Elementary School jungle gym, a traffic jam on the monkey bars and it’s bumper-to-bumper on the jungle gym drawbridge.

“Incoming!” yells one student as he rams into the pile of kids at the bottom of the slide.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is projected to lose more than 4,000 students over the next 10 years. That's mostly because of lower birth rates, private and charter schools and the increasingly lack of affordable housing in Austin, but districts just outside Austin are dealing with the opposite problem.

Sam Ortega for KUT News

The Texas Cultural Trust has a new website that tracks arts education programs at school districts across the state. The map is one way the trust is encouraging parents and students to push for more art education in their local schools. There you can see programs broken down by elementary, middle and high schools in each school district. It looks at how many arts credits were earned by students, the number of art courses offered and the number of students per arts teacher. 

Janine, flickr.com

For more than 15 years, the City of Austin and Austin ISD have partnered to provide services for teen parents in Austin public schools. The program helps at least 150 students with children at Eastside Memorial, Lanier, Reagan and Travis high schools throughout the school year and includes academic support, along with child care, parent education workshops and other social services. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Austin ISD is considering a possible relocation of its best school, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), as it determines the future of its campuses. The district has started a months-long process to decide which schools to renovate or close, as well as where to possibly build new campuses.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last week, Austin ISD released a proposal that suggests building an elementary school on a 10-acre tract in the Mueller neighborhood. That surprised a lot of people involved in the discussion, which has been going on for the past year, and last week’s conversations show just how delicate this situation is.

Cherrywood resident Jennifer Potter-Miller has a child in first grade at Maplewood Elementary. She has another child about to enter kindergarten and she wants to send her kid to public school. But, she has no idea where her kids will go once they get to middle school.

Photo by KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is starting to think about what its schools will look like, and where they’ll be located, two decades from now. On Wednesday, it released a set of possible options for its 120 campuses this week, including when and where to potentially renovate schools, build new ones and close others. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Austin School Board members bid farewell Monday night to former school board Trustee Gina Hinojosa who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives on Election Day. The start of Monday night's Board meeting was bittersweet. As Hinojosa said goodbye to other board members, she encouraged the board to continue to advocate for students across the city.

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