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Jan. 9, 2012 Board Work Session

Process, Timeline and Criteria for the Naming of the Linder Pre-K Center

The Austin Independent School District (AISD) will open the early childhood center in Southeast Austin at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. Chief of Staff Karen Sperry provided a brief overview of the school naming process to prepare for further discussion at the Jan. 23 Board Dialogue meeting and for Board action Jan. 30.

Annual Demographic Update

Each year, the district commissions a demographic report that provides an analysis of district and student population projections, trends in student mobility, and other projections. This year, the report is part of the process for developing Annual Academic and Facilities Recommendations (AAFRs) for the 2013-14 school year.

Dr. Dennis Harner, primary author of the report, presented a summary of projected population changes throughout the district during the next ten years. AISD staff described the impact of these changes on the capacity of elementary and secondary schools. City of Austin Demographer Ryan Robinson and Metrostudy’s Manager of Austin Operations Eldon Rude also participated in the discussion.

Update on Development of District Capital Improvements and Bond Advisory Committee

AISD staff members provided an update on the Capital Improvement and Bond Planning Advisory Committee, which the Board created to investigate the need for a future bond program. This advisory body is charged with evaluating all capital improvement needs of the district, carefully considering applicable data and information, and deliberating multiple areas of academic and operational consideration in order to provide a recommendation to the superintendent.

Discussion of 2008 Bond Contingency Funds Utilization

AISD staff members led a discussion on the proposed uses of contingency funds remaining from the district’s 2008 Bond Program.  The administration has identified and prioritized a number of projects that would be eligible for funding, and four of the six AAFRs approved in December will require the use of bond contingency funds.

Revised Fiscal Forecast for FY2012-15 and Preliminary Budget, Tax Rate and Possible Scenarios for consideration of a Tax Ratification Election (TRE), Compensation and Withdrawal of Declaration of Financial Exigency

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley-Abram, and Chief Human Capital Officer Michael Houser presented information about the district's projected, financial condition through FY2015. They discussed the development of the preliminary budget for FY2013, and asked for feedback from the Board on whether a compensation and/or tax rate increase should appear in next year’s preliminary budget.

“We are beginning the third year of a five-year budget plan,” Dr. Carstarphen said. “Over the past two years, our strategy has been to reduce the budget, stabilize our resources, and create a structure that allows us to do a better job of controlling our finances and our destiny as a district.”

Dr. Carstarphen said retaining high quality staff will be one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for the district during the next two years. AISD teaching salaries lag well behind those offered by regional competitors including Round Rock, Eanes and Pflugerville, and even further behind urban counterparts, including the Houston and Dallas school districts, she said.  To make progress on pay parity, she said, the District should consider moving forward with the equivalent of a three percent salary increase, either through a one-time additional payment, or through an ongoing salary increase funded by a successful TRE as early as Nov. 2012.

The Trustees indicated that they wanted to continue discussing a possible compensation increase at future meetings.

Finally, the Trustees directed the administration to draft a resolution to withdraw the district’s Declaration of Financial Exigency for action at the Jan. 30 Regular Board Meeting.