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Interim Superintendent Highlights Achievements and Challenges in State of the District Speech

Community reminded that together ‘We are all AISD’

AUSTIN, Texas—This morning, Interim Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz delivered Austin ISD’s State of the District to a packed crowd, where Cruz declared, “The state of the district is strong.”

Centering on the theme, “We are AISD,” Cruz told guests that AISD exists to ensure Austin educates its students and that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, career and life.

Other key messages included:

  • AISD graduation rates are at an all-time high: 84.1 percent for the Class of 2013. And, all student groups, including African-American, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students, are all above 80 percent.

  • For the 2013-14 school year, 110 schools met the state standard and 70 of the schools earned a total of 205 distinction designations for outstanding performance. Nine campuses earned every distinction designation: Anderson High School, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, and Blackshear, Graham, Gullett, Hart, Reilly and Zilker elementary schools.

  • AISD’s overall results exceeded the state’s accountability targets in all four areas: language arts, math, social studies and science.

  • By 2018, it is projected that AISD’s recapture payment of local tax dollars to the state will likely top 300 million dollars. And the district pays more in recapture (Robin Hood) payments, than any other district in the state.

  • Through austerity planning and prudent financial management, the district has earned strong bond ratings that help support a stronger financial future. But, more and more of the district’s local school property taxes are going to the state, while the amount of money our district receives back from the state has remained relatively flat or, as in 2011, dropped significantly.

  • Higher attendance improves student learning and means more state funding to support our students’ success. Due to schools’ focused work to increase attendance, we have seen an increase of more than 5 million dollars for our school communities.

  • The district faces many challenges in such areas as enrollment; recruiting and retaining the best teachers and staff members; and our district’s budget.

  • AISD has 85,000 students. Sixty two percent of them are from economically disadvantaged households. This means 53,000 of our community's students are from economically disadvantaged households.

  • As housing costs soar, some of our families are being displaced and moving outside of Austin. As the district analyzes housing trends, birth rates, population changes and other factors, it is projected that enrollment will remain flat or decline slightly during the next several years. 

Dr. Paul Cruz has been selected to lead the district as the interim superintendent. Cruz has worked in the field of education for 28 years and as the district’s chief schools officer for the past five years.  

For more information about the State of the District, please contact the Department of Communications and Community Engagement at 512-414-2414.