Year in Review - Austin ISD

Here is a recap of 2015’s big news and a look at what is happening in 2016 with area schools.

  • The AISD Performing Arts Center opened in January, allowing students to practice fine arts-related work, such as stage lighting and performing. The 68,000-square-foot center features a black-box theater, dance rehearsal space, dressing rooms and a multipurpose room. The PAC is located in the Mueller development on Barbara Jordan Boulevard.

  • The board unanimously voted Jan. 26 to name Paul Cruz as superintendent, making him the first Latino to hold the post in AISD. Cruz replaced former Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who left in April 2014 to lead Atlanta Public Schools.

  • The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce released a report April 27 that revealed AISD reached an 84.1 percent graduation rate for the class of 2013, which was the district’s all-time record.

  • AISD announced June 9 an 86.3 percent graduation rate for the class of 2014, an all-time record. It is the sixth-consecutive year that AISD’s graduation rate has increased.

  • Longtime District 7 trustee Robert Schneider died July 28. District 7 mostly includes parts of Southwest Austin.

  • The price of meals increased in AISD schools at the start of the 2015-16 school year. Breakfast was priced at $1.50 at all schools, and lunch was priced at $2.60 at elementary schools and at $2.75 at middle and high schools.

  • The AISD board of trustees approved a nearly $1.2 billion budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year during a meeting Aug. 31. The budget included a 3 percent salary increase for full-time and part-time AISD employees. AISD’s state recapture payment was calculated at $272.8 million.

  • The AISD board of trustees voted 7-0-2 during its meeting Sept. 28 to appoint Yasmin Wagner as the new District 7 trustee.

  • The board approved Nov. 23 a revision to the school naming policy. The revision removed wording that made school names of special historical or geographical significance ineligible for renaming. The move allows the district to go forward with the renaming of Robert E. Lee Elementary School and other schools named after Confederate States of America figures.

  • AISD board President Gina Hinojosa resigned the position Dec. 15. Hinojosa is a candidate for the District 49 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Hinojosa will remain on the board as a trustee.