Axios Austin

Newsletter branding image

Happy Monday! And Ramadan Mubarak to everyone fasting this month.

๐ŸŒค Today's weather: Objectively pleasant. Gradually becoming sunny with a high of 73.

  • Rain likely to return later this week.

๐ŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Austin member Barb Tomeo!

Today's newsletter is 821 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Schools not meeting guard mandate

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Many Texas school districts haven't hired armed security officers at every campus, as required by a new state law, because of a lack of funding, writes Axios' Fiza Kuzhiyil.

Why it matters: After 19 students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, the Republican-led Legislature passed new mental health and school safety standards last year.

  • A key provision was posting an armed officer at every public school.

Catch up quick: House Bill 3, which went into effect in September, expanded and reinforced existing school safety efforts, such as required mental health training.

  • The law allocated $15,000 per campus and $10 for each student, but lawmakers did not approve an additional $800 million to help districts comply with the standards.
  • That left many districts without enough money to hire additional officers, who can cost $80,000 to $100,000 per year, according to the Texas Association of School Boards.

Between the lines: Gov. Greg Abbott blocked efforts to boost school funding, saying he wanted lawmakers to first pass a bill to provide taxpayer money for private school tuition.

  • Repeated attempts to pass voucher legislation ran aground as Democrats and rural Republicans opposed it.

Zoom in: The Austin Independent School District, which currently has more than 80 officers, is hiring more "to comply with the law," district spokesperson Cristina Nguyen tells Axios.

  • "This includes Austin ISD Police Officers who will be assigned to all campuses across the district where students are present, along with the additional sworn and non-sworn staff needed to support them," she added.
  • Meanwhile, Leander and Round Rock, among some other districts statewide, have opted for an exception to the mandate after approving alternative safety plans like โ€‹โ€‹employing school marshals.

By the numbers: Two decades ago, 108 school districts in Texas had their own police departments.

  • Now, 400 districts, or about a third of districts in Texas, employ officers.

What they're saying: "School district policing is not [like] policing on the streets," Texas School District Police Chiefs Association president Bill Avera said. "The school becomes the community, and you have to have relationship building."

2. How we work out now

A Solidcore enthusiast. Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

We're no longer in the heyday of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and CrossFit. Now, low-impact workouts โ€” and particularly Pilates โ€” are all the rage for American adults.

Why it matters: As longevity becomes a primary health focus, a growing number of exercisers are opting for movements that advance their day-to-day functioning and better protect them from injury, writes Axios' Carly Mallenbaum.

By the numbers: In Austin, Pilates ClassPass bookings increased 72.36% in 2023, compared to 2022, according to data shared with Axios.

  • The most popular Pilates class on the fitness booking platform was Solidcore, a workout that uses slow and deliberate movements to toughen your abdomen.
  • "With the lights down and music up, you'll find a stronger version of yourself by the first song change," reads a description of the class at Domain Northside.

The big picture: The surge in interest in workouts like Pilates has to do with a workout mindset shift.

  • Almost 29% of consumers say they exercise for a long and healthy life, compared to 20% the year before, according to survey data from exercise platform Mindbody.
  • And more than one-third of Americans say they prefer low-intensity training exclusively, according to Mindbody.

What we're watching: "Functional fitness" is the workout buzzword of the moment.

3. ๐Ÿค  The Roundup: Wrangling the news

The entrance to Axios House at SXSW. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

โ˜€๏ธ Travis County Judge Andy Brown issued a disaster declaration in anticipation of large crowds and increased traffic during the solar eclipse in April. (KXAN)

โšฝ๏ธ St. Louis City FC scored just in time to force a 2-2 draw against Austin FC on Saturday night. (ESPN)

๐Ÿ— Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stopped by La Barbecue for some brisket during SXSW. (Austin American-Statesman ๐Ÿ”’)

๐Ÿฟ An Austin homeowner won the Best Actress Oscar last night. (Variety)

4. Day Four: SXSW Panel Picker

Nicolas Cage during SXSW in 2022. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for SXSW

Stop by these panels, screenings and more at SXSW today.

Learn why Siri will never cuddle you back in the panel "AI and the Future of Loneliness" at Parkside at 11:30am.

Stop by Austin Mayor Kirk Watson's conversation with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at 11:30am at the Hilton downtown.

Check out the debut of the European Union's Euro Tech House from 10am-10pm at 301 E. 6th St. with panels, music showcases and cooking demonstrations.

Watch the premiere of sci-fi film "Arcadian," starring Nicolas Cage. Screening begins at 3pm at the Paramount Theatre.

Take a journey through Paramount+'s The Lodge, with themed cocktails and interactive experiences for "Halo," "Star Trek: Discovery," "Survivor" and more from 12-7pm at Clive Bar.

5. ๐Ÿ“ธ 1 photo to go: Mindy Kaling at SXSW

Mindy Kaling (left) speaks at a Sharpie x Paper Mate Studio event Saturday at SXSW. Photo: Nicole Cobler

Speaking from the Sharpie X Paper Mate Studio on Saturday, Mindy Kaling spoke to a crowd of onlookers about her career in comedy and writing.

What they're saying: "I don't think I could ever have a life where I had no deadlines," Kaling said. "I feel lucky that my personality type is something that excels under those circumstances rather than freaks out."

And on food in Austin: "They'll slip bacon into anything here."

Thanks to Shane Savitsky for editing and Kate Sommers-Dawes and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ A part of Asher wants to get in better shape, but a bigger part really doesn't like exercising.

๐Ÿฉฐ Nicole loves using ClassPass for pilates and barre.

Kudos to reader Justin Atkinson, one of the successful Friday News Quiz-takers. Justin tells us he's graduating from UT Law in May. Congrats!