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Education

Some Nonprofits Want to Put Affordable Housing at Allan Elementary

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Nathan Bernier, KUT News
Allan Elementary is one of ten AISD properties that the district has put out bids to possibly sell.

It’s no secret Austin ISD is strapped for cash. So to help make ends meet – the district put ten of its properties up for possible sale. Many of the properties are plots of land, but the list also includes the district headquarters on Sixth Street and the Allan Elementary campus in East Austin – and that has some people excited.

“Our dream is to save the school. But on the land that’s available we’d build affordable housing. We think we can fit about 200 apartments and some town homes that would be affordable for lower income families, as well as school district employees," said Walter Moreau, the executive director of Foundation Communities, an affordable housing nonprofit.

Moreau says the group is preparing a proposal for the site. It would include a health center, learning center, a financial center and it would keep the school building for the nonprofits that already exist there.

“By adding affordable housing in East Austin, we also help bring families with children to the community that would go to the other elementary schools in the area," Moreau added.

Many schools in East Austin are under-enrolled as lower income families with children leave and are replaced by wealthier homeowners who don't have kids.

Moreau says Foundation Communities is still figuring out financial terms, and the land would need to be rezoned to build homes. As of now, the plan also includes some housing for Austin ISD teachers and staff.

"If all of those services are right outside your doorstep, people participate. They join a walking club. They participate in fitness classes and cooking classes," Moreau said.

The Allan campus stopped being an elementary school in 2013. The previous Austin school board voted to turn the campus into an in-district charter school run by IDEA Public Schools, but the community protested the change and several board members were voted out of office. Their replacements canceled the contract, which closed the school. Now, it an AISD pre-K center.

The deadline to bid on the land is 2 p.m. on December 14. 

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