Central Texas students head back to school

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and JESSICA VESS / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 29 at 11:33 AM

AUSTIN -- Central Texas students are back in school.

Close to 85,000 students went back to school in the Austin Independent School District Monday. AISD Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen criss-crossed around town to visit campuses while Round Rock Superintendent Dr. Jesus Chavez spent his last first day of school sending bus drivers onto the streets.

At Reagan High School in Austin, a pep rally kicked off the new school year. Carstarphen stopped by to talk to teachers, parents and students.

The school stops are an annual tradition for her. She began visiting campuses last week when teachers went back to class. She will continue to make the rounds over the next week.

"It's a lot of excitement. Sometimes there's tears by both the parents and the students depending on the age group. But, you know, it's the magic of the first day of school, you know. I was like everyone else. I didn't sleep at all last night," Carstarphen said.

Carstarphen started her morning at one of the district's bus barns. She greeted drivers before they went out on their first routes of the year. Go here to find AISD bus stops in your area.

The superintendent's day ended with a tour of Murchison Middle School. That campus is actually one of the most crowded in the district. Carstarphen says relieving those crowds is one of the district's top priorities this year.

Students in Round Rock are also back in class. Superintendent Dr. Chavez sent 260 buses on their way Monday morning. It was a bitter-sweet moment for him. After eight years, he's retiring.

Chavez is proud of how the district has grown and changed during his tenure.

"We've grown about 7,000 students in the eight-year period that I've been here," Chavez said. "Our principals will tell you it's about continuous improvement, that's what the game is about. It comes back to the great and wonderful people that we have."

Round Rock ISD says a computer glitch left six kids without a bus route Monday morning, but otherwise everything went smoothly.

One thing every school district did Monday -- remind drivers that there's no texting or cell phone use in school zones. Passing buses stopped for picking-up and unloading students is illegal as well. For the next two weeks, expect to see more law enforcement officers out watching drivers to make sure drivers are following the rules. A ticket could cost you as much as $1,000.

Go here to see KVUE viewer photos from their first day of school.

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