Austin Independent School District, Texas
|Austin Independent School District|
|Travis County, Texas|
|Superintendent:||Dr. Paul Cruz (Interim)|
|Number of schools:||124|
|Website:||School Home Page|
|Board of Education|
|Board president:||Gina Hinojosa|
- 1 About the district
- 2 Superintendent
- 3 School board
- 4 Budget
- 5 Teacher salaries
- 6 Schools in Austin Independent School District
- 7 Academic performance
- 8 Issues
- 9 Contact information
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
About the districtTravis County, Texas. The county seat of Travis County is Austin. Travis County is home to 1,024,266 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Travis County overperformed in comparison to the rest of Texas in terms of higher education achievement in 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 44.9 percent of Travis County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.7 percent for Texas as a whole. The median household income in Travis County was $58,025 compared to $51,900 for the state of Texas. The poverty rate in Travis County was 17.4 percent, compared to 17.6 percent for the entire state.
Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.
In March 2014, Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen was chosen to lead Atlanta Public Schools. Carstarphen had served the district since 2009; she was the district's first African-American leader, in addition to being the first woman. Her style was described as hands-on, and the district praised her ability to build relationships with students, community members and parents. She was also applauded for weathering state budget cuts and helping to improve the graduation rate in the district. Conversely, in 2011, Carstarphen came under criticism when budget restraints forced discussions on closing schools to save $11.3 million. Hundreds of parents protested the proposal.
The district is in the process of searching for a successor, as Carstarphen's current contract expires in June 2015. The trustees reviewed Carstarphen in December 2013, and that evaluation was generally very positive. However, it didn't call for an extension, unlike her previous two reviews. According to Drew Scheberle, senior vice president for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, finding a replacement for Carstarphen is “going to test a board that doesn’t like to make decisions." To that extent, the four new members elected in November have the power to switch the district's course in selecting a new superintendent.
Dr. Paul Cruz is currently serving as the district's interim superintendent.
Austin Independent School District is overseen by a nine-member board. Seven members serve by specific geographic district, and two members serve the district at-large. They are elected to four-year terms.
|Austin ISD Board of Trustees|
|Edmund T. Gordon||District 1||2018|
|Jayme Mathias||District 2||2016|
|Ann Teich||District 3||2016|
|Julie Cowan||District 4||2018|
|Amber Elenz||District 5||2016|
|Paul Saldaña||District 6||2018|
|Robert Schneider||District 7||2016|
|Gina Hinojosa||At-Large Position 8||2016|
|Kendall Pace||At-Large Position 9||2018|
School board elections
Members of the Austin ISD Board of Trustees are elected to four-year terms. Five seats were up for election in 2014, and four seats will be up for election in 2016.
Public participation in board meetings
The board maintains the following policy regarding public participation in board meetings on its website:
|“||Every regular board meeting includes one hour for Public Comment. Each speaker is allotted two minutes. This allows up to 30 speakers, who speak in the order in which they signed up, to address the board about the issue of their choice.
—Austin Independent School District's website, (2015), 
The table below displays the budget for Austin Independent School District:
|Expenditures by Category|
|School Year||Staff Expenses||Student Services||Operational Expenses||Debt Service||Other||Budget Total|
|Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget|
Teacher salaries are categorized based on higher education achievement and years of service. The salary schedule accounts for a graduate degree by providing a higher starting salary and a greater potential salary. Teachers with a special education stipend or a bilingual education stipend earn $1,000 and $2,500 in addition to their annual salaries, respectively. The following table details the salary schedule negotiated between the district and the Austin Teachers Union for 2013-2014:
|Degree level||Minimum salary ($)||Maximum salary ($)|
|M.A. or Ph.D.||44,130||66,688|
Schools in Austin Independent School District
Austin Independent School District served 86,528 students during the 2011-2012 school year. Austin Independent School District does not publicly archive enrollment data.
Austin Independent School District operates 124 schools. The graphic below displays the distribution of those schools across the district.
The Texas Education Agency issues an annual accountability report for each school district in the state. This rating determines if district schools fulfill expectations in four categories of educational achievement during a particular school year. The following terms explain these categories:
- Student Achievement: Measures student performance on the annual Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test.
- Student Progress: Measures student performance in reading, math and writing courses at the district level.
- Closing Performance Gaps: Measures year-to-year performance among students in the lowest-performing demographics.
- Postsecondary Readiness: Measures student readiness for college, employment or military service after graduation.
Austin Independent School District received a Met Standard designation on the state's 2013 report. District schools met 93 percent of indicators set forth by state education officials and all four assessment categories. The following table details the district's accountability report during the 2012-2013 school year:
|Performance Index Summary, 2012-2013|
|Category||Points earned||Maximum points||Index score||Target score|
|Closing Performance Gaps||1,044||1,500||70||50|
2013 bond proposal worth $892 million
In May 2013, Austin ISD put the largest bond proposal ever attempted in Central Texas to the vote, a package worth $892 million. Half of the package succeeded and half was turned down by voters. The package was split into four different propositions: Propositions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Proposition 1, totaling $140.6 million, passed by just a few hundred votes and is planned for technology upgrades, energy conservation initiatives and new equipment. Proposition 2, worth $234 million, which did not pass, would have relieved overcrowding in district schools through the construction of three new schools. Proposition 3 passed as well, the most substantial at $349 million, and is planned to go toward various renovations in the district. Proposition 4 was turned down, which would have pumped $168.6 million into the district for academic programs, fine arts and athletics. This proposition also had some controversy surrounding it, due in large part to plans to create an all-boys school. The election was significant in that it had record turnout for a stand-alone proposal on a May ballot. Early voting in and of itself nearly doubled the turnout for the May 2010 trustee election. It was the first district bond proposal since 1989 to be rejected, or partially rejected, by voters.
84th legislative session
The 84th legislative session convened on January 13, 2015, and will address many topics across the district, including school funding, vouchers, accountability and assessment. During the 82nd legislative session in 2011, cuts made to the Texas school finance formulas compelled Austin ISD to absorb nearly $96 million in revenue, which would have gone towards maintenance and operations across the district. The cuts significantly affected the 2012 and 2013 school years. The 83rd legislative session restored some of the cuts made in 2011, however the total restored was less than 20 percent. In June 2014, the district released a document entitled "Legislative Priorities for the 84th Legislative Session," which was approved by the board and addresses the following stance:
AUSTIN ISD SUPPORTS
Local Control & Flexibility
—"Legislative Priorities for the 84th Legislative Session" Austin Independent School District website, (2014), 
- Texas school districts
- List of school districts in Texas
- Austin Independent School District elections (2014)
- School board elections portal
- Austin Independent School District
- Austin Kids First
- Travis County, Texas
- Travis County Clerk
- Texas Education Agency
- Texas Secretary of State
- Texas Ethics Commission
- United States Census Bureau, "Travis County, Texas," accessed July 31, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed June 17, 2014
- Travis County Clerk, "Election Results," accessed December 30, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- Statesmen.com, "Austin school Superintendent Meria Carstarphen leaving for Atlanta job," March 27, 2014
- Austin Independent School District, "Superintendent," accessed January 7, 2015
- Austin Independent School District, "Board of Trustees," accessed July 31, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Austin Independent School District, "Public Comment at Regular Board Meetings," accessed January 7, 2015
- Austin Independent School District, "Budget & Finance," accessed November 26, 2013
- Austin Independent School District, "Schools," accessed January 7, 2015
- Austin Independent School District, "Accountability Summary 2013," accessed January 7, 2015
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