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AISD State of the District: Superintendent Highlights Strong Student Performance and Financial Stability

Austin, TX—Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen focused on increased student academic performance and projected financial stability during the third annual State of the District address. More than 200 people attended the address at the new McCallum Arts Center, which was broadcast live on AISD Channel 22 and the district's website.

Featuring performances with McCallum Fine Arts Academy students, Carstarphen used the themes of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and "High Hopes" to highlight the district's progress during the past year.

Carstarphen reviewed the district's 2010-11 Annual Report, which includes an overview of students' performances under the state testing system, TAKS, and on the SAT. This year, on TAKS, AISD students achieved the highest, Commended levels for reading and math in the state. For the fourth year in a row, students taking the SAT college entrance exam in 2010 exceeded both state and national overall averages.

As the state transitions from the skills-based TAKS test to the college ready STAAR assessment, Carstarphen is proud of the students' increased academic performance on the TAKS test. "We're moving in the right direction and as we move forward with the new STAAR test, I believe our efforts to educate the 'whole child' will progress toward our goal to be one of the nation's top urban school districts."

Carstarphen also focused on the future the AISD budget. The state legislature reduced funding for Texas schools by $4 billion during the next two years. That means AISD will have $35.6 million less to spend this year, and $55.6 million less next school year. In preparing for the budget reductions, AISD developed plans for at least two years, which created a stable, financial path for the next 18 months.

"We have a year to catch our breath and adapt to the new budget reality in which we must operate," Carstarphen said. "This should offer teachers and other team members assurance that their jobs are secure, so they can concentrate on the work they are here to do, which is educating our children."

State of the District Highlights:

Academic Achievement

For the second year, at least 80% of all students met or exceeded state standards in every subject.Achievement gaps between student groups narrowed by nearly one half since 2003.For the first time since 2003, no schools are under federal No Child Left Behind sanctions.

Financial Status

This year, there will be no layoffs and no declaration of financial exigency.AISD has the second lowest tax rate compared to other districts in the metro area.

To read and download a copy of the 2010-11 Annual Report, please visit

For more information, please contact the Department of Public Relations and Multicultural Outreach at 414-2414.