Order your child’s school supplies for next year and support Doss PTA with this easy fundraiser. All supplies will be available for pickup at Meet-the-Teacher in August!
Please see the School Supplies page for more information on how to order!Filed under From the administrator | Comments Off
Recently in various forms of news and social media, statements and claims have been made that are not correct. The district has captured some of those claims and has provided factual, informative responses and clarifications. Please read the responses and forward this information on to everyone you know.
1) A lot of the bond money is not bond-worthy. For example: removing debris from roof, replace a mirror, paint a room or a hallway. These are tasks that AISD has budget for, as part of their $78M “Plant Maintenance” money every year. Including these tasks in a bond means AISD is using expensive money for not-so expensive repairs. It is unwise use of taxpayer dollars.
The referenced information was posted as part of a working document, before the actual scope of work was determined. An updated document has been posted on the AISD website. No single, maintenance type work, unassociated with a larger scale project will be performed with the use of bond funds.
2) This bond is not just about “needs”. There are a lot of “wants” in it and there is no way to tell which one is which. In these times of economic uncertainty, the district should focus on needs only, or at least identify them clearly for the voters. For the district everything is an emergency all the time and if we don’t do what the district wants, the children will suffer. I have heard this cry since 1999. It is dishonest.
The bond program will benefit all AISD students by:
- Providing healthy and safe learning environments,
- Continue to equip classrooms with current technology,
- Reducing overcrowding,
- Providing a means to replace building system components such as: roofs, wells, HVACs, boilers/electrical, and plumbing throughout the district,
- Continuing to improve school facilities throughout the District; and
- Providing students with adequate facilities so that they may engage in Academic Initiatives in Career and Technology, Fine Arts Physical Education and Athletics programs.
It is critical for a school district to have safe, environmentally-friendly facilities that support student achievement and success.
An independent Community Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) will be appointed, as has been the practice in both past and current bond programs. The purpose of the CBOC is to provide a valuable public perspective and to monitor the implementation of the bond program to ensure that all approved projects are aligned with the propositions on the ballot.
For more information about specific school needs, please go to www.austinisd.org/bond.
3) The district is working on yet another comprehensive facilities master plan (as part of facilities planning framework approved last year by the board) to guide all future facilities planning. It is due the summer of 2013. It makes sense to wait for that plan to be out before committing to a bond of this size that may not fit in the master plan.
The Board of Trustees has passed a resolution to commit to the development of a District Facility Master Plan (FMP) by June of 2014. The Facility Master Plan will supersede the current Facility Master Plan Framework as an overarching strategic level plan that will enumerate the facility related improvements that will take place over the next 10 years. The 2013 Bond Implementation Plan will be an integral part of the FMP.
The initial work in the 2013 Bond will focus on emergency building systems, repairs and safety and security projects. The bond implementation plan will coincide with the development of the larger facility master plan to ensure that the two plans are in alignment as an integral component reflecting the overall schedule of 2013 Bond projects and facility planning beyond those in the Bond propositions.
4) It is a lot of money. With $900M you could hire 18,000 teachers. Not that you can hire teachers with bond money, but to give you an idea of the size. This amounts to more than $10,000 per student. This is a lot of money that won’t be reflected in a proportional improvement in educational outcome. The Comptroller’s office has data on how well district use their budget. AISD spends a lot more per pupil than other districts with worse results. Ref: http://www.fastexas.org/results/
Bonds can only be used to fund capital improvements, repairs, new construction, technology and transportation needs. Bonds cannot pay for salaries or day-to-day operating expenses. The Board of Trustees has approved a resolution that establishes a Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) to ensure the district uses the bond proceeds as authorized by the voters. This best practice has been in place in the district since the 1996 Bond Program.
The District is proud of its recent academic achievements. In fact, Texas Education Agency announced the statewide passing rates for the 2012 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) which indicated that the AISD ranks first in among large urban districts in Algebra I, English I, Writing and World Geography. AISD Middle schools ranked first among the Big-8 districts in four areas – reading grades 7-8, science grade 8, social studies grade 8. The latest graduation rate was the highest ever for AISD – increasing nearly 2 percentage points to 80%. Graduation rates for English Language Learners and Economically Disadvantaged students increased by 4 percentage points. AISD has made great progress in achieving its academic goals and has the best performance among the urban Texas districts under state and federal accountability standards that continue to increase each year.
During the implementation of the on-going 2004 and 2008 Bond Programs, the District has accumulated a significant amount of building cost information. That data, along with projected construction industry costs over the next five to six years, was the basis for estimating the cost of the proposed 2013 Bond Program as recommended by the CBAC.
If approved, the bond program will be implemented over a five to six year period beginning the summer of 2013. The construction of new schools will come on line only when the District’s maintenance and operations budget can support them.
5a) In the 2008 bond, the district asked for $32M for a new high school. It still hasn’t purchased the land and this bond it is asking for $8M to design it. Would you hire an architect to design a house without having the lot where the house would go?
Before a decision can be made about the placement of the south high school, a planning team has been appointed to make a recommendation to the superintendent about the academic programming for the new south high school. The design for the high school will not be initiated until the site is acquired to ensure it is appropriate for the location.
A recommendation from the planning team is expected within the next three – six months. This will clear the way for the search for the site to begin. The site selection process is outlined in the current FMP framework. Once the site is selected, then the design process can be initiated.
5b) And in one of the meetings we were told $14M is to buy 35 buses. That comes to about $400K per bus! A bus costs $75K-$100K. What is up with that?
We regret the information you received was incorrect regarding the number of buses. The correct number of buses included in the 2013 Bond Program is 150 buses, which are budgeted at the top of the price range that is identified in the inquiry.
6) The district claims that there is growth that justifies 3 new elementary schools. Per the Superintendent, those schools are not yet planned, they do not know where or when they would be built. Mind you the number of students this year dropped with respect to last year. And in 2008, money was approved for an “undesignated elementary school” too. These are the numbers they published with past budgets:
From 2013-2014 budget, enrollment as of 09/17/2012: 86,612 From 2012-2013
budget, enrollment in 2012: 86,724 From 2011-2012 budget, enrollment in
2011: 86,161 From 2010-2011 budget, enrollment in 2010: 84,996
The district’s approximate 48,000 student elementary school population is currently being served in 83 elementary schools and early childhood centers constructed for a total enrollment of 45,000 students. The “Demographic Analysis and Student Projections for the Austin Independent School District – 2012-13 Update” shows continued growth in the peripheral areas of the District, specifically in the far south, southeast, north and northeast. By the 2017-18 school year, it is estimated that the district’s elementary school population will increase to approximately 51,000 students.
Unfortunately, existing elementary school capacity is not always available where it is needed. As mentioned, the district’s population continues to grow in the areas named above. Although it may be possible to utilize some available capacity in the central region to relieve overcrowding elsewhere, there is not enough capacity adjacent to the areas of need, and new elementary schools and school additions are needed to accommodate both current and future populations. Austin ISD considers an elementary school to be overcrowded when the number of students enrolled at the school exceeds the number of students the school was constructed to house (permanent capacity) by at least fifteen percent. This level of overcrowding is typically addressed through the use of portable classrooms. If the number of students enrolled at a school continues to increase, it may not be possible to adequately accommodate them in portable classrooms. This level of overcrowding is often accommodated by changing attendance boundaries with adjacent schools with available capacity. When the number of students exceeds the permanent capacity of the school by twenty-five percent or more, it is considered severely overcrowded. If adequate capacity is not available at adjacent schools, the construction of a new school or an addition to existing schools is considered.
It is anticipated that the projected enrollment by the 2017-18 school year, will exceed the permanent capacity of elementary schools in the following regions:
· Northwest: 24%
· North Central: 10%
· Northeast: 17%
· Central: 11%
· Southwest: 16%
· South Central: 3%
· Southeast: 19%
The only region in the District that will have available capacity is in East Austin, with approximately seventeen percent of its permanent capacity available.
The “undesignated” elementary school will be used to address overcrowding that may occur with future growth. The following areas have been identified as having a potential need for an “undesignated” elementary school by the 2017-18 school year:
· Northeast: St. John’s, Windsor Park and Mueller
· South Central: Southpark Meadows and Estancia
· Southeast: Goodnight Ranch, Bradshaw Crossing and Cascades of Onion Creek
The location for the school will be based on student population growth, taking into account city growth patterns, environmental restrictions and other factors.
7) This bond is designed to be passed when people are not paying attention. When asked why this bond wasn’t planned for November the answer was: “oh people will be overwhelmed when the City asks for bonds this November, and we weren’t ready last November.” It is in May because low turnout is expected. Additionally, schools are engaging in pro-bond advocacy of dubious ethics. Informational meetings are such that when you ask for one data question, they don’t know the answer.
AISD has been communicating with representatives of the other public entities in the community such the City of Austin, Travis County, Capital Metro, and Austin Community College in an effort to avoid scheduling multiple bond initiatives at the same time. In these discussions, it became apparent that the May 2013 election, one of the two uniform election dates available, was the date that best fit the planning schedule for the school district and was not in conflict with the projected initiatives of the other entities.
The two ethics complaints that have been raised against the district have both been resolved in the district’s favor. The district press releases below explain the decisions that were made regarding the two ethics complaints that lodged.
April 26, 2013
AUSTIN, TX – The Austin Independent School District released the following statement regarding the court hearing on a lawsuit filed by the Travis County Taxpayer’s Union SPAC:
Today, Judge Orlinda Naranjo found the request for a temporary restraining order without merit and the order was denied.
April 26, 2013
AUSTIN, TX—The Austin Independent School District released the following statement regarding the complaint filed with the Texas Ethics Commission by the Travis County Taxpayer’s Union:
Today, the district was notified that the Texas Ethics Commission rejected the ethics complaint filed by the Travis County Taxpayers Union against Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and Principal Donna Houser based on the failure to comply with certain form requirements. Under the rules, the complainant has 21 days to re-file and try to correct the problems with the petition.
The district will continue to provide the public with factual information about the May bond election and the scope of work at each of its facilities.Filed under From the administrator | Comments Off
We are planning a talent Day in the last week of classes, June 4 for 5th graders, and June 5th for all other students. Participation is optional. We encourage students who take lessons in dance, piano, voice, gymnastics, etc. to perform for their classmates. Each child is limited to ONE performance, which should be no longer than 3 min. Students will not be allowed to perform for other grade levels this year.
We are counting on parents to preview acts for appropriateness. Please remember our time is very limited. Be sure all tapes are cued up and ready to go. Costumes should be on before class starts. We can provide tape deck, CD player, piano, mic, and gym mats.
GROUP ACTS: A permission form is needed from each student signed by parents. Please staple together and turn in as a group to Ms. Greenhaw. Put in envelope on bulletin board in music hallway.
INDIVIDUAL ACTS: A permission form is needed from each student signed by parents.
Download the permission form here.Filed under From the administrator | Comments Off
Last BoxTop collection for the school year is Friday, April 26! The top 5 classes right now are Hughes (855), Garrett (651), Francis (541), Haurwitz (455) and Stone (360). Help your class win the popsicle party—turn in as many BoxTops as you can by Friday! Make sure they are labeled with your name and teacher. Happy Clipping!Filed under From the administrator | Comments Off
Doss’cars Class Photo Books are available for sale until April 17.
Please contact Julie Choyce at email@example.com with questions or to pay by check.Filed under Fundraisers | Comments Off
Instructions for viewing photos and ordering prints:
The 2013 Doss Son Event photos are ready! They can be found at:
When you get to that page you should see five locked galleries. There will be two galleries for the 2013 Son Event photos—one containing the event shots with an event name and date, and one with the pictures with no text at all.
The password for each gallery is: season
Once you’re in a gallery and you find your photo(s) you can order prints by clicking the “buy” button just above and to the left of the photo.From the administrator | Comments Off
Your Spring Party invoices should come home with your child sometime this week.
INVOICES ARE DUE UPON RECEIPT! Please send in payment by check to your teacher or pay on line through the Doss PTA on line store.
The online store is NOW OPEN!
For questions regarding invoices, please contact Rebecca Krauss at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take time to enjoy the Dosscars movies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EITlzgUxyx0&feature=youtu.be
Please visit Dosscars website for Buy In Party and Sports Clinics openings! Lots of availability! Keep checking back as parties that are sold out will be updated on the web site.
Class Photo Books are still available for purchase through the on line store. Completed photo books will be complete and available for viewing the first week of April. To pay by check or for questions, contact Julie Choyce email@example.com
More information to follow regarding the Doss’car photos that were taken on the red carpet.
Contact Shanda Breazeale with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.orgFiled under From the administrator | Comments Off