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AISD Debt-To-Student Ratio Among Lowest in Central Texas

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

As the Austin Independent School District gets ready to ask voters to approve hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing next May, figures published by the Texas Comptroller today show the district has one of the the lowest per-student debt rates among Austin-area school districts.

That said, AISD also has the most debt of any district in the area, at $809,435,850. But calculated on a per-student basis, AISD’s outstanding debt it is $9,492. The Austin school district also has the lowest debt per capita of $1,272.

A lot depends on how you define “Central Texas.” Lockhart ISD, for example, has a lower debt-to-student ratio of just $5,565.75. You will find lower debt ratios in some of the outlying, more rural districts in the region, like Granger ISD, Florence ISD, and Prarie Lea ISD, which has no debt at all. (It also has a student population of 232.)

Tonight, Austin ISD’s Citizens Bond Advisory Committee is holding the second of two public meetings this week to ask people how it should craft a bond proposal. On Monday, the school board approved a timeline that would schedule a bond election for May 11, 2013. Details of the proposal are still being developed, but Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has said the district has already identified $350 million in “critical needs.”

“That’s been no secret in Austin,” Carstarphen said during a board meeting on Monday night. “Walk through any school, and by and large, they have leaky roofs, their plumbing doesn’t work. There are lots of improvements for everything from athletic fields for everything that’s in a classroom that we could be doing and need to be doing for our kids and families.”

Here are the debt levels per-student and overall debt levels of Austin-area school districts. You can find full data for all districts in Texas on the Comptroller’s website.

Austin ISD $809,435,850 debt / $9,492.29 debt per student
Bastrop ISD $181,903,786 debt / $20,115.42 debt per student
Del Valle ISD $165,525,000 debt / $15,508.76 debt per student
Dripping Springs ISD $137,879,999 debt / $30,859.44 debt per student
Eanes ISD $155,600,000 debt / $20,231.44 debt per student
Elgin ISD $75,737,694 debt / $19,208.14 debt per student
Georgetown ISD $214,045,000 debt / $20,559.50 debt per student
Hays Cons ISD $301,495,869 debt / $19,754.68 debt per student
Hutto ISD $175,667,219 debt / $32,567.15 debt per student
Lago Vista ISD $14,161,706 debt / $11,098.52 debt per student
Lake Travis ISD $167,231,266 debt / $24,096.72 debt per student
Manor ISD $190,765,000 debt / $26,594.87 debt per student
Pflugerville ISD $350,205,000 debt / $15,456.81 debt per student
Taylor ISD $58,055,247 debt / $18,885.90 debt per student
Wimberley ISD $36,970,874 debt / $18,466.97 debt per student

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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