Trustees of the Austin Independent School District will decide next week whether to declare that the district faces a financial crisis with a $7.1 million shortfall. That would allow superintendent Meria Carstarphen to cut jobs.

Carstarphen has recommended cutting 114 positions. The district said it expects a drop in property tax revenue of 8% in fiscal 2011 and 2% in fiscal 2012. If a district does declare a financial exigency, the Texas Education Agency will not guarantee its general obligation debt through the Permanent School Fund.

AISD chief financial officer Nicole Conley-Abram told trustees last week that the district has not relied on the PSF enhancement program for several years. She said it was more important to the district’s bond rating to avoid tapping the reserve fund for operational needs.

The district is rated AA-plus by Standard & Poor’s, AA by Fitch Ratings, and Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service.

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