By Kevin Scanlan • 2019 President
When it comes to professional development, the Austin Board of REALTORS means business. With over 120 classes offered through the ABoR Academy, we recognize that education is key to strengthening the future of Central Texas. In an effort to expand career opportunities for high school students preparing to enter the workforce, ABoR is partnering with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) to cultivate the next generation of Central Texas REALTORS.
Beginning next year, Akins High School students will be able to complete all necessary coursework to take their real estate exam upon turning 18 as well as graduate with their high school diploma and an associate degree in business. This is one of several career-specific programs offered by Akins High School and the first real estate training program of its kind in the country. The curriculum itself is designed to provide career coaching and sales training, as well as a working knowledge of ethical business practices. Students will have the advantage of launching their respective career paths soon after moving their tassels from right to left.
“There’s a disconnect now between the skill sets kids are coming out of high school and college with and what the workplaces require,” says AISD Associate Superintendent Craig Shapiro. With that in mind, ABoR hopes to bridge that gap by supporting AISD students looking to hit the ground running upon graduation, regardless of whether their career path is in real estate or a related profession. Our aim is to motivate and help more students to pursue higher education and accomplish their individual goals by ensuring that students have every opportunity to excel in their careers.
ABoR has been an AISD strategic partner since 2018 and regularly hosts the Austin ISD + ABoR Tour of Schools. These tours give REALTORS the chance to visit Austin schools and see firsthand what they have to offer. Since local schools are often one of the most important factors that homebuyers consider when purchasing a new home, the tour is a great resource for agents wanting to familiarize themselves with the various district-offered programs throughout the city.
In the wake of major budget shortfalls and declining enrollment, due in part to the State of Texas’s recapture fund, Austin ISD is considering the consolidation of some of its schools. Last month, AISD released its 2019 Reinvention Planning Map, which divides the district into five distinct regions. The decision on what changes will be made will be largely based on the district’s intent to renovate older campuses, as well as proximal distance to local neighborhoods.
Fortunately for Austin homeowners, recently approved school finance reform will alleviate the strain of property taxes, reducing recapture by 47 percent in the next two years. Entitled House Bill 3, legislators were also able to increase education funding from 38 percent to 45 percent. While it’s a short-term solution, House Bill 3 sets a positive precedent for future school finance reform. In the meantime, however, ABoR aspires to mitigate concerns for consolidation through its partnership with AISD. RL