In 2011, the Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion in funding to Texas public schools. The current legislative session, which convened on January 8, 2013, will be a critical one for public education, as issues such as school funding, vouchers, accountability and assessment, pre-K, and other important education topics are addressed. This website is intended to help our community learn:
- Facts about our students, campuses, budget and programs
- Legislative priorities
- How you can become and stay informed about legislative matters
On June 18, 2012, the Board of Trustees of the Austin Independent School District adopted Guiding Principles for the 83rd Legislative Session. The guiding principles are a summary of the legislative issues the Board of Trustees considers to be of utmost importance to AISD. The Board also adopted more detailed legislative priorities on December 17, 2012.
Among those issues are:
- School Funding - AISD lost state revenue of $35.6 million in FY 2012, and an additional $25.1 million in FY 2013, for a total loss of State funding of $60.7 million. If legislative action taken under SB 1 passed by the 82nd Legislature during the first called session, which eliminates Additional State Aid for Tax Relief (ASATR) by 2018 is implemented, AISD will lose an additional $100 million.
- Accountability & Assessment – AISD supports high standards for our students, but believes that moderation of the emphasis on, and approach to, standardized tests is needed to free up instructional time to produce students who are not only well-educated, but also well-rounded, creative, and ready for the future.
- Social Security - Forty-seven school districts in Texas participate in the Social Security retirement program for some or all employees. In AISD, we send approximately $33 million to the Social Security Administration every year, money that could be spent on recruiting and retaining teachers.
- Full Day Pre-K – The Legislature eliminated grant funding for full-day pre-K last session. Research and experience indicate that an investment in our children early in their lives gets them on the right track and saves money in the long run.
- District Awards for Teacher Excellence – The Legislature eliminated grant funding to allow districts to create or continue a system of awards for educators who demonstrate success in improving student achievement. AISD's REACH program, designed in collaboration with Education Austin and the Austin Chamber, has been funded in part with DATE funds.