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Board Briefs for Monday, August 22, 2011

Trustees approved 2011-2012 budget

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the 2011-2012 school district budget on Monday. The $974,270,872 combined (general fund, food service and debt service fund) budget included the restoration of the historic property tax designation for homeowners. The tax rate on maintenance and operations (M&O) remains the same; the tax rate for debt (I&S) is only increasing 1.5 cents to support debt costs previously authorized by voters through the 2004 and 2008 bond proposition elections.

The budget reflects gap closing measures of $39.7 million, and provides for full-day prekindergarten, funding to comply with the 22-1 pupil teacher ratio in the early elementary grades, an additional planning period for secondary teachers, funding for magnet school transportation, and funding for the early college programs.

Board President Mark Williams and Superintendent Meria Carstarphen advised that the next year's budget will continue to be challenging as the district faces additional state reductions of as much as $20 million.

Truancy court project approved

The Board of Trustees approved a one-year Memorandum of Understanding to fund the Truancy Court Project, an ongoing collaboration to fund on-site truancy courts at Fulmore, Martin, Mendez, and Pearce middle schools. The district is expected to spend $97,000 on the project.

Austin Fire Department/LBJ Fire Academy partnership continued

The Board of Trustees approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Austin Fire Department to continue the LBJ High School Fire Academy. Last year, the City of Austin chose not to fund the academy. However, because of its value to students, the district decided to continue the academy. This agreement allows Austin Fire Department to continue providing the educational services to students to allow them to be eligible to test for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection firefighter certification and/or the Texas Department of State Health Services Emergency Medical Technician-B certification upon graduation.

Bowie land donation development agreement adopted

The Board of Trustees approved the development agreement between the City of Austin and the school district, establishing site development standards for the construction of field sports and marching band practice fields on the 50-acre donated tract of land across from Bowie High School.

The district's eventual plans for the tract include the development of two practice fields with irrigation systems that will enable the fields to be maintained in a condition that is appropriate for their use, constructing a trail to the fields from the pedestrian crossover walkway at Slaughter Lane and Wolftrap Drive, and building an access drive to the fields from Brodie Lane, for emergency vehicle use. The agreement does not set a timeline for the district's future development of the tract. A future funding source will have to be identified before the school district can commit resources to the planning and development of the property.

Bus advertising pilot program approved

The Board of Trustees approved issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a three-year pilot on school bus advertising. The AISD transportation staff proposed a five-year phased approach, to allow the district to test an advertising program before proceeding to a full-scale implementation. The pilot would work as follows:

  • In the first year, advertising would be placed on approximately 20% of the district's fleet, and the estimated revenue generated would be $144,000, based on other school districts' implementations of this program.
  • Each year, additional buses would be added, and by the fifth year, it is estimated that revenue would increase to $648,000 with advertisements on 90 to 100 percent of the fleet, based on other school districts' implementations of this program.

All proposed advertising would require prior approval by AISD, and the district would reserve the right to reject any advertising that is deemed inappropriate. The revenue generated would be divided between the vendor and the district, and would be based on the terms of the agreement. The board's approval will allow the administration to release an RFP in early October. Once the staff has reviewed all the proposals, an item for the selection of the firms will be brought to the board for its consideration in December.

This update is provided to staff and the community by the Department of Public Relations and Multicultural Outreach. For more information, contact us at (512) 414-2414. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on Monday, September 26, 2011. Learn more about AISD at www.austinisd.org