Stories by Claire McInerny, KUT

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Mask mandate was the right decision to keep students safe, Austin ISD superintendent says

State leaders made it hard to keep students safe this school year, Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said Tuesday during her state of the district address. Elizalde said she wasn’t expecting Gov. Greg Abbott or Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath…

Thursday, July 8, 2021 by Claire McInerny, KUT

85 families at affordable apartment complex told they must leave due to winter storm damage

More than 85 families at an affordable housing complex in Southeast Austin are being evicted this month after the management company told them it needs to do repairs caused by February’s winter storm. Capstone Real Estate Services, which manages Rosemont…

Friday, July 2, 2021 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD lost thousands of students during the pandemic. It’s going door to door to bring them back.

Fifty Austin ISD staff members gather outside Mendez Middle School in Southeast Austin on Saturday, fueling up for the day with breakfast tacos and coffee. The group is made up of central office staff, teachers and volunteers. The plan is…

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD is sued over backlog of special education evaluations

An advocacy group for people with disabilities filed a lawsuit Monday claiming the Austin Independent School District is “failing thousands of students” by not evaluating them for special education within a specific amount of time. KUT reported earlier this month that…

Thursday, March 11, 2021 by Claire McInerny, KUT

‘Panic mode’: Austin ISD needs to evaluate 800 students for special ed. It doesn’t have the staff to do it.

More than 800 students in the Austin Independent School District are being denied their legal right to a special education evaluation. An evaluation is the first step in the process to get special education services. Without one, there is no…

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Four seats on the Austin ISD school board are up for election. Here’s who’s running.

Four seats on the nine-member board of the Austin Independent School District are up for election in November. The school board is a group of volunteers who oversee policies and finances in the district. They approve the yearly budget, hire…

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD plans to bring a small group of students back to schools in October

Lee esta historia en español. When the Austin Independent School District begins phasing students back into school buildings Oct. 5, it will prioritize special education and lower grade levels within each school as the first to return. At a school…

Friday, August 7, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD’s school year delayed until Sept. 8, first eight weeks could be online-only

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted to delay the start of classes for the school year until Sept. 8. Virtual classes were supposed to begin Aug. 18, but the board wanted to give teachers more time to…

Thursday, July 9, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

‘This is an issue of health’: Teachers union demands Austin ISD offer only online classes in August

The union for Austin Independent School District employees is asking the district and the state not to send employees back to school buildings in August. Union members say it is unsafe for employees and children to be in classes together.…

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Schools in Travis County are not just segregated. They’re the most segregated in the state.

Valerie Sterne has always known anecdotally that schools in Austin are segregated. She used to be a teacher and an administrator with the Austin Independent School District, and saw firsthand that students of color and low-income students were all attending…

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD school board approves $1.6 billion budget, after public calls to defund AISD Police

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees passed a $1.65 billion budget early Tuesday, taking $47.6 million from the district’s reserve funds to make up for a shortfall partly caused by COVID-19 expenses. The budget also includes 2% raises…

Friday, March 27, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Here’s what Central Texans need to do to not overwhelm our hospitals

We know there will be an outbreak of COVID-19 in Austin, but the severity of the outbreak is up to us. A new report from UT finds that if everyone in Austin reduces their human interaction by 90 percent, the…

Friday, February 21, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

As Superintendent Paul Cruz prepares to leave Austin ISD, his school closure plan remains unresolved

Even though Superintendent Paul Cruz said he’s leaving the Austin Independent School District, the process of school closures that started under his watch likely will not end. But where the plan goes from here is unknown. At a press conference Thursday, Cruz…

Thursday, January 23, 2020 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD considers opening a school for young adults with autism

A local nonprofit wants to start a school in Austin that serves young adults with neurological conditions like autism. Easterseals of Central Texas is seeking to start the school within the Austin Independent School District. The school would help students…

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Chief equity officer calls Austin ISD’s school closure process inequitable and ‘short-sighted’

School closures and consolidations are not “equity strategies,” the Austin Independent School District’s chief equity officer says in a report released Monday. “They are short-term and often short-sighted approaches to cost savings that are seldom reinvested in programming in the…

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD equity officer calls closure plan ‘racist’ before board votes to close four schools

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted 6-3 on Monday to close Brooke, Metz, Sims and Pease elementary schools at the end of this school year. Trustees Ann Teich, Arati Singh and LaTisha Anderson opposed the closures. Parents…

Monday, November 4, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Under new proposal, Austin ISD gives itself more time to consider closing eight schools

Instead of closing 12 schools over the next five years, the Austin Independent School District is now proposing to close four schools over two years. In a revised school changes plan released Friday, AISD says it will take more time…

Monday, October 14, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

What’s next in the process to close Austin ISD schools?

The Austin Independent School District finished its third week of community meetings to get feedback on its plan to close and consolidate 12 schools. Now, district staff will revise the proposal before the school board votes in late November. Here’s…

Thursday, September 19, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD says second draft of school changes will emphasize academics district-wide

At a live discussion of the Austin Independent School District’s proposal to overhaul the entire district, school officials said the idea is about more than just closing schools. Meanwhile, city leaders said there’s room to grow to bring more equitable…

Friday, September 6, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

Austin ISD wants to close 12 schools, expand academic programs throughout the district

The Austin Independent School District has released a plan to close 12 schools and move those students to other campuses. The district is also proposing boundary changes and wants to add academic programs at more than 30 schools. “Change is hard,” Superintendent…

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