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AISD Board Briefs - June 20, 2011

Legislative and Budget Updates

The Board of Trustees was given a presentation on the potential compromise by the members of the Texas State Legislature on public school funding and the impact on the district's FY2012 budget.

The Texas Legislature established a potential compromise between the House and Senate late last month to distribute the $4 billion in cuts to public education. For AISD, this translates into reductions of $37.3 million in FY2012, and $58 million in FY2013.

While the proposed distribution of public school funding cuts in SB 1 is better than the anticipated State reductions used to develop the District's preliminary budget for FY2012, State budget cuts will increase in FY2013 by an additional $20 million, and reductions are expected to continue even beyond the biennium under the budget adopted by the 82nd Legislature, as the Legislature has expressed the intent to eliminate the Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction by 2018. Such a reduction would cost Austin ISD $145 million per year once fully enacted.

The Board also heard a presentation by Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley Abram on the 2012 Budget, as well as early discussion of the funding climate for the 2013 budget year and beyond. Conley-Abram also advised Trustees that the District will continue to work with the Travis Central Appraisal District to refine options related to the Historic Exemption Designation.

As it now stands, the 2011-12 Budget is estimated at $686.4 million, $44,813 short of estimated expenses. Trustees are scheduled to adopt the 2011-2012 district Budget on August 22.


Public Hearing on Redistricting

The Board of Trustees held a public hearing on redistricting of the Trustee boundaries.

Every decade after the U.S. Census is taken, the School District is required to determine whether it must redraw trustee boundaries, based on population shifts. The Board will approve the final redistricting map in August. Adjustments under consideration to the trustee boundaries are solely for electoral purposes. They do not affect the attendance zones or vertical teams or other aspects of student assignment or school district operations.


End-of-Year Report

The Superintendent also presented the district's second End-of-Year Report: Where We Are and Looking Ahead. The report for the 2010-2011 school year is an interactive timeline documenting some of the district's most significant activities through print, photos, and videos. The timeline provides an effective way to take stock of the current status, the challenges overcome, and the accomplishments of the past year. The End-of-the-Year Report is part of the district's effort to be more engaging and transparent for our students, their families, and for the greater Austin community. The technology is eco-friendly by saving significant printing costs. The report can be found at:

Preliminary TAKS Results

AISD received preliminary TAKS data from the Texas Education Agency on Monday, May 23, including the results for the second administration for grades 5 and 8. Results are still preliminary. State campus results will not be official until October, after the appeals process is completed. However, at the district level, the preliminary results are a very close estimate of the final district results. The preliminary results were discussed by subject, grade and level, and student groups.


Student Recognitions

The Board recognized students and a teacher at Kealing Middle School for their outstanding performance at the state and national levels of the Quiz Bowl Championship during the recent competition in Chicago. Commendable performances by Kealing Magnet students Julian Castaneda, John Chan, Alex Denko, Forrest Hammel, Michael Martinez, Dhruv Puri, Ethan Russo, Jonathan Sadun, Jonah Shaukat, Corin Wagen, Lily Xu, and Justin Zhang and math teacher Patty Hill solidified Kealing's place as the best Middle School Quiz Bowl team in the nation. These same students who placed first, fourth and fifth in the National Championship, earlier swept the Texas Middle School competition, placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the State.


Principal Appointments

Trustees approved the following principal appointments:

  • James Coburn as principal of Eastside Memorial High School. Coburn, has a B.A. in Music Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Southwest Texas State University. He is a doctoral candidate in Educational Administration at Texas A&M University. Coburn is currently Director of Middle School Redesign and Curriculum and is a former middle school principal, and a former high school assistant principal. He also has experience as a teacher, assistant band director, and band director. He has worked in the Austin, Fort Bend, Leander, Lago Vista, Dickinson, Killeen, and Georgetown school districts.
  • Dounna Poth as principal of Langford Elementary School. Pouth, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary education from the University of Houston, Clear Lake, also has a Master's in Educational Administration from Texas State University. Pouth has been assistant principal at Langford since 2007 and also has experience as an administrative intern at Patton Elementary. She has also been a teacher at Patton and Deer Park Elementary.
  • Janna Griffin, as principal of Doss Elementary. Griffin has a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Tartleton State University and a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Services from the University of North Texas. She is currently a substitute principal at Bryker Woods Elementary School. Griffin has experience as a teacher/coach in the Lewisville and Decatur school districts. She has also served as a counselor in the Garland and Lake Travis School districts, and as an assistant principal at Kealing Middle School and Doss Elementary schools.


Partnership with IDEA Charter Schools

The Board authorized the Administration to explore a partnership with IDEA Public Schools to collaborate in planning for effective, successful early college preparatory systems and designs to support Board Goal 3: All students will graduate ready for college, career, and life in a globally competitive economy.

The District is currently re-examining the role of in-district charter schools in an effort to provide a rich portfolio of options and choice of academic program. Administration is identifying existing charter organizations with proven records of success that may enhance the quality of programs, address defined district needs, enhance market share in education, retain revenue for students leaving for private and charter options, and work with AISD in the creation of a model for the next generation of charter/school district collaboration.

IDEA Public Schools has demonstrated great skill at early college preparation, especially in grades K-8. IDEA motivates and teaches students through a program that emphasizes hard work, commitment and leadership. Currently, IDEA serves nearly 5,000 students.

In it's tenth year, IDEA has been successful in terms of student preparation for college, financial performance, and growth and expansion.

The District is also exploring participation in the Gates Foundation's District-Charter Collaboration Compact Initiative. This initiative supports innovative activities in which charters and traditional districts can collaborate to significantly boost student performance. In collaboration with The Texas High School Project, IDEA Public Schools has approached AISD to discuss collaboration, interest in joining the Gates District-Charter Collaborative Compact Initiative with AISD. So far, discussions have explored grade level configurations including K-8 and 6-12. The District will also consider other possible options to meet the needs of AISD.


Bad Weather Makeup Day

Trustees approved a change to the 2011-2012 school calendar that moves the bad weather makeup day.

For 2012, the bad weather make-up days will be Feb. 17, a staff development day, and April 9, a student and staff holiday.


The next Regular Meeting of the Austin School District Board of Trustees is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, August 22, 2011, in the Auditorium of the Carruth Administration Center, located at 1111 West Sixth Street. All Board meetings are carried live on Time Warner and Grande Communications Cable Channel 22 and the AISD website at