Voters in the Austin Independent School District will decide this November on a $1 billion-plus bond package to partially fund a comprehensive building maintenance and upgrade plan.
The Board of Trustees approved the proposition unanimously at a meeting Monday night. The package exceeds a billion dollars, but district officials say it would not trigger a tax increase.
Trustee Cindy Anderson thanked the standing room only crowd in attendance for their community engagement.
“This is a bond that does touch every single one of our students and schools, and it is imperative that we are able to do this work. As you know, we didn’t pass all the propositions in 2013 and some of those same issues have been compounded since then. And we need everyone’s support to make sure that this bond is successful.”
The proposal would fund Phase 1 of a 25- year district modernization including new schools, renovations and upgrades. The district’s Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee estimates the district would need $4 billion to fully fund the 25-year renovation plan. The bond would modernize 11 schools in the district and would provide money for the construction of two new schools – a new elementary school in Southwest Austin and a new middle school in Northeast Austin near the Mueller development.
Trustee Edmund Gordon says he strongly supports the plan even, though, he doesn’t agree with everything in it.
Gordon has been outspoken against the bond’s potential separation of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy and LBJ High School. The two schools have shared a campus for 10 years. Gordon told the Austin Monitor that he thinks that decision would exacerbate existing segregation within the district.
“We’re a society, in general, and also state that continues to starve public education,” Gordon said. “I don’t think that this Austin community wants to participate or can afford to participate in that starvation of what is, in the end, for the common good.”
You can see AISD's full breakdown of the plan below.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee estimated the district would need $5 billion to fund the renovation plan.