Austin ISD undergoing ‘enhanced staffing’ to meet a continued projection of declining enrollment


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District is revising its staffing formula to meet student enrollment projections that are expected to decline in four of the next five years.

Larry Throm, Chief Financial Officer for the district, said student enrollment will grow by about 2,000 students for the upcoming 2021-22 school year but then is projected to decline by 1% in each of the next four years.

AISD will reduce staffing by about 200 positions districtwide, but it will not come through layoffs. Instead, it is resetting its staffing to account for employees lost from attrition, retirements and those choosing to leave on their own.

The district is calling it “enhanced staffing” and is using a new calculated formula to ensure equity for staff and students in its decision-making process.

There are a number of considerations that are weighted differently and may impact the way campuses are staffed, including the number of students with special needs and those that are economically disadvantaged. Those are given a greater weight to ensure equity for the students who need more resources and help.

As a hypothetical example of how a school may change based on this new formula, Navarro High School, which is projected to have a student enrollment of 1,543 students in the 2021-22 school year, would likely decrease its assistant principals from five, based on the old formula, to four, based on the new formula. However, the school would add more than five teachers next school year.

While the district is changing the way it staffs teachers, counselors and assistant principals, there will also be a hold on hiring some central office administrators. A new system is also being built to help keep track of staff vacancies to make a more-informed decision about future positions.

From September to January, the number of teacher vacancies was less in 2020 in each of those months than in 2019, except for October. In that case, there was only two more vacancies in 2020 than in 2019. The number of vacancies in Title 1 schools never increased in 2020 compared to 2019.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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