Jan 5, 2023 - News

AISD students on winter break seemingly forever

Illustration of a beach umbrella with a pencil for the handle.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Even as other Central Texas kids have returned to the classroom, Austin public schools won't fully open until Tuesday.

Why it matters: Austin parents this week have had to enroll kids in special programs — gymnastics, anyone? — take time off work or make other arrangements to make sure children are looked after.

  • Students in Pflugerville and Round Rock were back at it yesterday — and students in Leander returned Tuesday. Hays CISD students go back to the classroom today.

Yes, but: The state mandates that every district provides the same number of days of student instruction so, don't worry, everyone will get to learn the same amount of geometry.

  • Plus: The last day of class was Dec. 15 in Round Rock and Dec. 16 in Pflugerville, Leander and Hays CISD — well before Dec. 21, the last day for Austin kids.

Details: The AISD board determined this year's school calendar in December 2021.

  • The break, which for district staff began only after work on Friday, Dec. 23, includes at least two full weeks for students, staff and teachers "to travel or have downtime with their families," per district spokesperson Elizabeth Lippincott.

Between the lines: Former district communications chief Jason Stanford tells Axios that full-week breaks lead to less absenteeism among students and staff upon return, an arrangement that is "less popular but more financially prudent."

  • That's because state money for schools is tied to attendance.
  • Plus: "Fewer absent teachers means less spent on subs," Stanford says.

What's next: AISD has scheduled a similar winter break in the 2023-24 school year.


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