Emails (excerpted), Ramey Ko, Aug. 6-7, 2013

On Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 12:20 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) <wgselby@statesman.com> wrote:

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In your remarks at the July 25 meeting of the Austin Young Democrats, you said: “The very first issue I want to tackle when I'm in the Legislature is public education. Right now in the eastern part of the district in particular we see schools where over half the kids are in portables. We see situations where we may have bought new technology from the bonds that we passed in the past but then we discovered that there are no electrical outlets in the school classrooms because they are over 50 years old . I mean this is literally true. It's amazing when you finally look at the details of this."

 

We are checking your claim that some classrooms in the county lack electrical outlets. Could you call me or email backup information/suggestions?

 

Thanks.

 

g.

 

W. Gardner Selby

 

PolitiFact Texas

www.politifact.com/texas

 

Austin American-Statesman

On Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 5:20 PM, Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) <wgselby@statesman.com> wrote:

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Below, I am forwarding the Austin school district’s responses to my inquiries this afternoon. It’ll make most sense if you read from the bottom up.

 

I realize I have not yet connected by phone with the chamber board member. Maybe she has data?

 

Meantime, do you have other information we should consider in reviewing your claim?

 

g.

 

From: antonio.lujan

Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 5:10 PM

To: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Subject: RE: Inquiry

 

Gardner,

Hope the overview about the district's Educational Specifications is helpful. A "precise inventory of outlets per classroom" at the district's 120+ schools would take more time to pull together than your deadline allows. The district works to make certain every classroom is equipped with the appropriate number of outlets necessary to provide instruction.

 

"Was there a recent time when any classrooms would have no outlets? If so, when, and how does the district know?" No. Even the district's oldest schools and portables would have several outlets in a room designated as a classroom.  A classroom could not function without electrical outlets and staff members would request to add them to accommodate the teaching environment.

Regards y gracias!

Antonio Lujan

Media Relations Coordinator, AISD

From:        "Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)" <wgselby@statesman.com>

To:        antonio.lujanDate:        08/06/2013 03:59 PM

Subject:        RE: Inquiry


Does the district have a precise inventory of outlets per classroom?

 

Is there any estimate of outlets per classroom  by school?

 

Was there a recent time when any classrooms would have no outlets? If so, when, and how does the district know?

 

Thanks.

 

From: antonio.lujan

Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 3:55 PM

To: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)

Subject: RE: Inquiry

 

Good news...

Gardner,

This is the response provided by Jeff Kauffman from facilities: (which means every classroom has one outlet. The statement would be incorrect)

For new construction, every type of classroom, (from basic elementary school general-use classrooms to specialized computer classrooms in high school) has a minimum number of outlets (electrical and computer) required to fully operate the space as defined in our Educational Specifications.

Our Educational Specifications for a basic elementary school classroom (the least wired situation) calls for a minimum:

"Electrical outlets appropriately located with at least six per classroom with separate dedicated outlets (three to five) for computers, 2 computers per circuit....and...1, 4-gang GFI outlet above the countertop adjacent to the sink to serve four separate plugs" and " 6 computer network outlets, appropriately placed."

More technology based classrooms will have more outlets.  Older classrooms have had outlets added, as needed, to accommodate the use of the space.  

New classroom portables have a minimum of eight electrical outlets and six data connections per classroom. Older portables have had outlets added, as needed.

Regards y gracias!

Antonio Lujan

Media Relations Coordinator, AISD 

(Ko Reply)

5:53 pm

Aug. 6, 2013

Thanks for getting back to me.  Again, I spoke with Catherine earlier today, and she does recall the discussion from the GAACC meeting.  She told me that it was based on a previous project she did on schools in Central Texas, and she handled entering a lot of data for it.  She distinctly remembers the 0.5 outlets per classroom statistic.  She said during some recent work she was doing on technology in the classroom and digital divide issues, several AISD teachers also told her that they did not have outlets for the students to use all the devices, though there wasn't a specific discussion about numbers.

 

Again, as there was an AISD staffer in the room participating in the discussion, and she agreed with what Catherine said, I assumed the information could be relied upon.  If the information was not accurate, I apologize, but I know what I heard, and I've verified that I did hear it correctly.  Additionally, I'm wondering since one of the bond components was to repair electrical outlets, if perhaps the staffer agreed because there are not WORKING outlets in all the rooms.  If you give me a little extra time, I'm going to check with another source.

 

Ramey

1:20 pm

Aug. 7, 2013

The average number of outlets doesn't really speak to whether certain schools currently have classrooms that either lack working or usable outlets for whatever reasons.

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