East Austin group fighting against bond they say will close several community schools

Multiple school properties could be sold in the next five years to lower a proposed bond project costs to under $1 billion.

AUSTIN - Multiple school properties in East Austin could be sold in the next five years to lower Austin ISD's bond project costs to under $1 billion. But some say the district is going in the wrong direction.

Monday, members of "Keep East Austin Schools" held a rally outside of AISD headquarters in Downtown Austin.

The group detailed reasons why they don't support the bond. First, they believe the bond plan would consolidate five east Austin schools, leaving Latino and African American communities displaced. 

Members say Austin ISD claims that this bond addresses the “worst-first”, meaning the schools in worst conditions would have their facility issues addressed first. However, they believe that statement is not true.

According to research listed in their press release, the group states that in the case of high schools, one high school receives 42 percent of the bond funds that are located in far Southwest Austin, while the three combined East Austin high schools receive 19 percent: Eastside Memorial, LBJ, and Reagan.

The research goes on to say AISD won't close schools, but instead consolidate. But to "Keep East Austin Schools" that means closure. 

Some of AISD's proposed bond includes:

$80 million to build a new, modernized high school for Eastside Memorial plus, $25 million for a state-of-the-art elementary school to serve the Metz, Sanchez and Zavala communities.

Hilda Villalobos Alvarez has a son that attends Eastside Memorial. She said she's worried about his transportation needs.

"Once they move us over there, if it passes, that's an hour away -- whether you are riding a bike or not. There's not going to be a bus. They've already told us there will be no buses," Alvarez said.

Early voting begins on Oct. 23 followed by Election Day on Nov. 7. To read more about the bond, go here.

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