AUSTIN - Austin ISD approved the $1.05 billion bond they have been debating for weeks during its meeting Monday.
The grand total equals $1,050,984,000. Although the total exceeds $1 billion, district officials stressed they achieved their goal without raising the tax base in Austin. After hearing dozens of parents and community members, the board kept their list of items from the last meeting. It includes 16 new, or modernized campuses.
It designates $70 million to begin construction on new facilities for the Ann Richards school and nearly $60 million to start construction on a new "NorthEast" middle school.
Menchaca Elementary School is also included in that list.
Principal Eliza Loyola says there are many physical issues with the school.
"The needs of this building include a new roof, new electrical, new plumbing, new HVAC system,” said Loyola.
The plans for Menchaca are to build a new school on the property and tear down the old one.
Superintendent Paul Cruz and the district said the basis for the bond recommendation is the Facilities Master Plan, which the Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee worked on for two years.
"They looked at the conditions of our facilities,” said Cruz. “They looked at the educational opportunities across our sites, they looked at overcrowding, they looked at out-year data.”
Because AISD said the tax rate will not increase, taxpayers like Roger Falk, who's an analyst for the Travis County Taxpayers' Union, said his organization is taking a closer look at funding.
"They need to tell the average home owner what their payment is,” said Falk. “Not smoke and mirrors and subterfuge that the tax rate isn't going to go up. How much is this going to cost us?”
This is how the district said the bond will be funded:
A borrow and repay as you go financial model, like a credit card.
The district said bond approval is like increasing the credit limit – and it doesn't mean they'll be pulling all the money right away.
“I see our debt structure paying down,” said AISD’s executive director of finance David Edgar. “So that there is capacity in the future years to issue new debt without having to increase that tax rate.”
The district said it is also using land sales and previous bond contingency funds to pay for the projects.
On Monday, the board also passed an amendment that any leftover funds would go towards schools with overcrowding issues.
Voters will get the chance to pass or reject the bond proposal in November.
TAP HERE to see the list of bond items. The district is still adding to the list.
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