Austin History Center

Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees Records

An Inventory of the Collection



Overview of the Collection

Creator: Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees
Title: Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees Records
Inclusive Dates: 1944-1988
Abstract: The Austin School Board of Trustees was created in 1880 to establish policies for operating the school system and ensure its financial viability. The Board of Trustees Records contain meeting agendas and minutes that document the activities and decisions of the Board from 1944 to 1988, including the transition from Austin Public Schools to the Austin Independent School District.
Identification: AR.2015.040
Quantity: 14.4 linear feet (36 boxes)
Location: Archive Stacks
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

In the late 1870s the question of creating a public school system controlled by city government was still a controversial idea. State laws passed in 1875 and 1876 allowed any incorporated city the right to assume control of public schools within the city limits with a two-thirds majority vote by its citizens. However, the citizens of Austin were still opposed to city council determining what and how their children were taught and paying additional property taxes. In 1879, the state school law was amended to allow the schools to be placed under the control of a board of six trustees elected by qualified voters rather than city council. This distinction seems to have been the tipping point that allowed school advocates and community leaders such as A. P. Wooldridge, J. W. Graham, J. B. Rector, John T. Allan, Swante Palm and Z. T. Fulmore to campaign and sway public opinion enough to require that the issue be brought to a vote.

Austin Mayor Jacob DeGress called for a special election to be held on August 16, 1880 to decide two issues: whether the City shall acquire the exclusive control of any or all of the public free schools within its limits AND if yes, whether the school shall be under control of Board of Trustees or the Board of Alderman (City Council)? The vote was 616 for free schools, 370 against free schools, and there were 665 votes for a Board of Trustees to manage the schools versus 22 votes for the Board of Alderman. The citizens returned to the polls the following month and elected Alexander Penn Wooldridge, William von Rosenberg, J. B. Rector, R. F. Campbell, H. C. Still, and R. M. Swearingen as the first Board of Trustees. The Trustees elected Wooldridge as president of the Board, a position he would hold until 1889. The Austin Schools Board of Trustees guided the school system through many years growth by establishing policies, monitoring expenditures, approving budgets and working with Austin City Council to call for bond or tax rate election.

Beginning in the 1940s, there was discussion in the community about separating the schools financially from the city, organizing an independent school district, and giving the Board of Trustees the authority to call elections, to levy and collect taxes, and to perform other administrative duties separate from City Council. In the 1950s the school population was increasing by a rate of 2,000 students each year, and the system had grown to more than thirty schools when the Board of Trustees finally pushed for the vote on the separation of the schools from city government. On April 30, 1955, with a vote of 2,722 for to 663 against, the Austin Independent School District was born. Today (2015) the Board of Trustees is a nine-member board elected by district to chart the direction of the educational programs and services of the Austin Independent School District.


Scope and Contents

The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees Records consists solely of meeting agendas and minutes of the Austin Public Schools/Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees dating from 1944 to 1988. Meeting agendas and minutes dating from 1944 through the end of the 1946-47 school year provided high level documentation of the activities of the Board including the treasurers report and reports from various departments. Beginning in the 1946-1947 school year the meeting agendas and minutes are much more detailed and include reports of school funds; policy changes adopted; health services reports; personnel decisions including hiring, discipline, and firing; reports of finance committee on the budgets; teachers committee reports including resignations, leaves of absence, and appointments; reports of Building and Grounds Committee concerning remodeling, additions, and new buildings; lists of graduates; reports of principal of the evening school; school calendars and schedules including sports; and requests and reports from the school superintendent.

Regional and national events impacted policy in the school district and the Board of Trustees meeting minutes provide insight into how the local community responded to these larger events and issues. During the 1940's key topics dealt with World War II; teaching Bible in schools and the use of buildings for religious groups; earning credits toward a high school diploma through the Adult Evening School; health issues concerning DDT, diseases, and vaccines; and the Negro Citizens Council's concerns around the substandard conditions of the schools for African Americans. In the 1950's, the issues of underage children in school; school safety including school safety programs; transportation; and the beginning of integration in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision were of top concern. The Cuban Missile Crisis made school safety continue to be a top priority during the 1960's, along with integration of both regular and the Adult Evening schools; the transfer student policy from Travis County schools; and the closing of school in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King. Concerns about drug abuse; the lack of a kindergarten program; faculty integration; Federal intervention forcing desegregation plans for Mexican American and African American students; immunization and the public school health program; and the Teenage Parent Program were a focus in the 1970's. And lastly, during the 1980's, summer school for pre-kindergarten and pre-first and a plan for dealing with asbestos were the key topics.


Arrangement

The records are arranged in chronological order.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use

The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Persons:
Widen, Carl E.
Bybee, Ruth.
Jackson, E. W.
Bolton, Paul.
Byram, R. W.
Hopper, Rex D., Mrs.
Organizations:
Austin Public Schools.
Austin Independent School District.
Places:
Austin (Tex.).
Subjects:
Education--Texas--Austin--History.
Public schools--Texas--Austin--History.
School districts--Texas--Austin--History.
Health knowledge, attitudes, practice--Texas--Austin.
Vaccination.
School integration--Texas--Austin.
Faculty integration--Texas--Austin.
Segregation--Texas--Austin.
Religion in the public schools--Texas--Austin.
Public schools--Texas--Austin--Safety measures.
Document Types:
Meeting agendas and minutes.

Related Material

A complete collection of Board of Trustees Minutes beginning in 1880 is kept in the Austin Independent School District Superintendent's office in print format. To access these records file an open records request by sending an email request to OpenRecords@austinisd.org. Specify which minutes are needed. The Superintendent's office will contact the requestor and set up a time when the minutes can be viewed. Board minutes are available online through the AISD website from 2001 through current.

Please the Public Schools Subject Guide located in the Reading Room and online at the Austin History Center website for other materials found at the Austin History Center related to public schools.


Administrative Information

Custodial History

A portion of these meeting minutes may have been donated by a Board of Trustees member that retired for the Board in 1952. Source of remaining meeting agendas and minutes unknown.

Preferred Citation

Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees Records (AR.2015.040). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1955/092

Donation Date: 1960s

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Mallori White and Molly Hults in 2015.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Meeting Agendas and Minutes, 1944-1983

Box Folder
1 1 Meeting minutes, 1944 November-December
2 Meeting minutes, 1945 February-December
3-4 Meeting minutes, 1946 January-December
5-9 Meeting agendas and minutes , 1947 January-December
10-12 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1948 January-April
Box Folder
2 1-6 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1948 May-December
7-10 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1949 January-May
Box Folder
3 1-4 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1949 June-December
5-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1950 January-June
Box Folder
4 1-3 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1950 July-December
4-10 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1951 January-July
Box Folder
5 1-5 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1951 August-December
6-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1952 January-July
Box Folder
6 1-2 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1952 August- December
3-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1953 January- October
Box Folder
7 1 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1953 November- December
2-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1954 January-November
Box Folder
8 1 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1954 December
2-6 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1955 January- December
7-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1956 January-May
Box Folder
9 1-3 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1956 June-December
4-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1957 January- December
Box Folder
10 1-4 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1958 January-December
5-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1959 January- October
Box Folder
11 1 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1959 November-December
2-6 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1960 January- December
7-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1961 January-May
Box Folder
12 1-4 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1961 June-December
5-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1962 January-July
Box Folder
13 1-2 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1962 August-December
3-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1963 January- December
Box Folder
14 1-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1964 January- December
9-10 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1965 January- April
Box Folder
15 1-5 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1965 May- December
6-10 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1966 January- July
Box Folder
16 1-3 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1966 August- December
4-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1967 January- December
Box Folder
17 1-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1968 January- December
10-11 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1969 January- February
Box Folder
18 1-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1969 March- December
8-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1970 January- April
Box Folder
19 1-6 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1970 May-December
7-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1971 January- April
Box Folder
20 1-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1971 May- December
9- 10 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1972 January- February
Box Folder
21 1-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1972 March- October
Box Folder
22 1-2 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1972 November- December
3-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1973 January- June
Box Folder
23 1-6 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1973 July- December
7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1974 January
Box Folder
24 1-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1974 February- December
9-10 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1975 January- April
Box Folder
25 1-5 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1975 May- November
6-9 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1976 January- September
Box Folder
26 1 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1976 October- December
2-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1977 January-December
Box Folder
27 1-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1978 January-November
Box Folder
28 1-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1979 January- December
8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1980 January
Box Folder
29 1-11 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1980 February- December
Box Folder
30 1-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1981 January-September
Box Folder
31 1-2 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1981 October-December
3-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1982 January-May
Box Folder
32 1-6 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1982 June-December
7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1983 January
Box Folder
33 1-2 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1983 February-March
3 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1983 July, December
4 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1984 May, December
5-6 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1985 February-March
7-10 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1985 May-August
Box Folder
34 1-2 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1985 September-December
3 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1986 January
4 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1986 March
5-7 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1986 May-August
Box Folder
35 1 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1987 February
Box Folder
35 2-8 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1987 April-December
Box Folder
36 1-4 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1988 January- May
5 Meeting agendas and minutes, 1988 August