News from Austin & Dripping Springs ISDs
EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS TEXAS A bill that would have allowed school districts to provide virtual learning in the fall failed to reach Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Austin ISD will return to all learning on-campus. AISD officials said they had been weighing options after the failure of House Bill 1468, but with COVID-19 rates dropping, the district decided conditions will be safe for all students to return in person. AUSTIN ISD Staff, teachers and volunteers went door to door in the Dove Springs area June 26 to inform families about the district’s programs and bring them back to Austin ISD schools. Another block walk is scheduled for July 24 around Eastside Early College High School. Data shows more than 87% of the more than 16,000 students who transferred out of AISD left to attend a charter school in 2019-20. AUSTINANDDRIPPING SPRINGS Families, teachers and students celebrated the high school class of 2021 in graduation ceremonies in late May and early June. Austin ISD’s graduation ceremonies for its 14 high schools took place from May 28-June 3. Safety protocols included masking, temperature checks and distancing. Dripping Springs High School celebrated its graduates May 28 at Tiger Stadium, where masks were optional. Austin ISD Information session, June 10, 5:30 p.m.; Voting meeting, June 24, 5:30 p.m. Dripping Springs ISD Agenda review meeting, June 21, 6 p.m.; Regular meeting, June 27, 6 p.m. Dripping Springs High School auditorium, 940 Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs Austin ISD board meetings are being held virtually. MEETINGSWE COVER
Austinmoves to block PTAs from funding school staffpositions
PTA POSITIONS PULLED Austin ISD moved to no longer allow parent teacher associations to fund staff positions.
BY JACK FLAGLER
passed a law that would prevent districts frommaking decisions such as AISD’s. On May 26, Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, offered an amendment to the bill addressing school finance to state school districts shall accept donations from PTAs to fund staff positions. That new law goes into effect Sept. 1. Elizalde has argued that means AISD is not subject to the new law this year because the district’s budgeting and staffing process would finish before that date. According to a letter from Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, Elizalde passed that information onto PTAs in a June 1 meeting. In the letter, Taylor,
full- and part-time positions funded by PTAs at Austin ISD in the 2020-21 school year elementary schools that had PTA-funded positions
AUSTIN ISD During the 2020- 21 school year, parent-teacher associations funded 31 full- and part- time positions at elementary schools in the district that included library clerks, tutors and a Spanish teacher. That practice will end, district officials announced, in a decision Austin ISD said will put all its schools on equal footing. “We are a public institution. We exist to serve the public. The minute we become enablers of inequities, we cease to be a public institution and become private,” Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said in a message posted to AISD’s website May 21. However, the Texas Legislature
SOURCE: AUSTIN ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
the chair of the Senate Education Committee, requested an opinion on the matter from Attorney General Ken Paxton. AISD has said that all staff in previously PTA-funded positions that were half-time or greater will go into the district’s priority pool and may apply for other vacant positions.
2022 schools bond could be on the ballot for Austin
“THERE IS A MUCH LARGER NEED THAN WE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO COME AND ASK FOR” AUSTIN ISD SUPERINTENDENT STEPHANIE ELIZALDE ON A POTENTIAL 2022 BOND ELECTION.
BY JACK FLAGLER
are going to be able to come and ask for,” she said. On May 27, trustees approved a $1.9 million contract that will allow staff to work with consul- tant DLR Group to develop the detailed work plan to establish the roadmap. According to a timeline presented at the meeting, community engagement meetings could be held from September 2021 through the middle of 2022.
allow staff to lay out options regarding the needs of the district and how much of an impact financial investments in a potential bond would make. No matter how much the district ultimately decides to borrow, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said at a May 27 board meeting it will not be enough to solve all the facilities challenges within the district. “There is going to be a much larger need than we
AUSTIN ISD Staff and administrators are updat- ing the district’s long- range facilities plan, an accounting of the state of Austin ISD’s buildings that could lay the groundwork for a 2022 bond. The plan was adopted in 2017 before voters who reside within the district voted to approve a $1 billion bond to build new schools and upgrade campuses. Updating the plan will
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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JUNE 2021
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