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Austin Independent School District, Texas

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Austin Independent School District
Travis County, Texas
Austin ISD logo.jpg
District Profile
Superintendent:Dr. Paul Cruz (Interim)
Enrollment:86,528 students
Graduation rate:87.0%[1]
Number of schools:124
Budget: $1.1 billion
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Gina Hinojosa
Board members:9
Term length:4
Austin Independent School District is a school district in Texas that served 86,528 students in 124 schools during the 2011-2012 school year.[2] This district is the fifth-largest by enrollment in the state of Texas.

About the district

Austin Independent School District is located in Travis County, Texas.
Austin Independent School District is located in Travis 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.[1]


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.[1]

Racial Demographics, 2013[1]
Race Travis County (%) Texas (%)
White 81.0 80.3
Black or African American 8.9 12.4
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.4 1.0
Asian 6.2 4.3
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.4 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 33.8 38.4

Presidential Voting Pattern, Travis County[3]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%) Other Vote (%)
2012 60.1 36.2 3.7
2008 63.5 34.3 2.2
2004 56.0 42.0 2.0
2000 41.4 46.6 12.0

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.[4] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.


Superintendent search

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.[5]

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.[5]

Dr. Paul Cruz is currently serving as the district's interim superintendent.[6]

School board

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.[7]

Austin ISD Board of Trustees
Member District Term Ends
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

See also: Austin Independent School District elections (2014)

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.

Those who wish to speak during Public Comment must sign up on the day of the meeting, before the meeting begins. You can sign up in the Superintendent's Office (Rm. A-250) during regular work hours (7:45 a.m.–4:45 p.m.), or 4:45–7 p.m. in the Board Auditorium. Speakers will be asked to provide the following information: The subject to be addressed, speaker's name, address and telephone number, and, if applicable, the group or organization the speaker represents. An individual may not sign up for another person, nor can speakers exchange time or yield time to others.[8]

—Austin Independent School District's website, (2015) [9]


The table below displays the budget for Austin Independent School District:[10]

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
2013-2014 $682,769,825 57.7% $119,322,806 10.1% $262,256,449 22.2% $104,450,183 8.8% $13,920,250 1.2% $1,182,719,513
2014-2015 $513,649,201 48.8% $122,541,295 11.6% $113,630,958 10.8% $106,498,701 10.1% $196,853,444 18.7% $1,053,173,599
Averages: $598,209,513 54% $120,932,050.5 11% $187,943,703.5 17% $105,474,442 9% $105,386,847 9% $1,117,946,556

Teacher salaries

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:

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
B.A. 43,286 65,843
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.[2]

District schools

Austin Independent School District operates 124 schools. The graphic below displays the distribution of those schools across the district.[11]

Austin ISD Schools.png

Academic performance

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:[12]

Performance Index Summary, 2012-2013
Category Points earned Maximum points Index score Target score
Student Achievement 125,137 161,140 78 50
Student Progress 1,771 5,000 35 21
Closing Performance Gaps 1,044 1,500 70 50
Postsecondary Readiness 1,218.6 1,500 81 75


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.[13]

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:

Public School Finance

  • A state system of public school finance that provides an adequate and equitable public school finance system.
  • A state system of public school finance that is based on multiple sustainable state revenue sources.
  • A state system of public school finance that reduces the current over-reliance on local property taxes as a revenue source.
  • A state system of public school finance that reflects increases in the cost of education and the cost of living indexes since the last time these indexes were updated.
  • A simpler more transparent system of public school finance.
  • Adequate funding for the Instructional Materials Allotment to ensure that local school districts are able to meet increasing costs and adequately fund required materials adoptions.


  • A state accountability system that ensures that all students are prepared for college or the work force upon graduation.
  • A state accountability system that focuses on student academic growth and graduation rates rather than on punitive actions towards schools, school districts, teachers, and students.
  • A state accountability system that allows local school districts to determine which courses and graduation requirements best meet the needs of their local community.

Local Control & Flexibility

  • Public schools governed by locally elected school board members.
  • Flexibility to allow local school districts to prioritize spending.


  • State funding of full day Pre-Kindergarten for all children regardless of income level.


  • Vouchers, tax credits, tuition reimbursements or any other program that diverts public tax dollars to either privately run schools or charter school districts that are exempt from state and federal accountability requirements.

Unfunded Mandates

  • Any new unfunded mandates and infringements upon local control.[8]

—"Legislative Priorities for the 84th Legislative Session" Austin Independent School District website, (2014)[14]

Contact information

Austin ISD logo.jpg

Austin Independent School District
1111 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78703
Phone: (512) 414-1700

See also

External links

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