Inside Austin high school in disrepair


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Updated Friday, May 3 at 9:46 AM

AUSTIN -- Even before you see the Bowie locker room in South Austin, you’ll smell it.

“My son's freshman football team had 103 players, and there are locker rooms for 44,” said Bowie parent Ron Jacoby.

You can see equipment stacked on top of lockers and lockers without any locks, which is why parents told KVUE the school has had issues with health and with theft.

“There have been staph infections and there have been some theft issues because they don't have the ability to lock their stuff up,” said Jacoby.

Cheering on the team is the band, but practice isn't easy as students wait in line just to get into the room. Equipment is stacked so high, we’re told the fire department has warned it's a hazard.

“Instruments and bags everywhere, you can't even see the floor,” said band mother Vicki Wood.

It's a similar scene backstage in the theater department. There are nearly 800 students in the Bowie theater program, and one dressing room. However, it’s become a place to keep props because there just isn't enough storage.

In the seating area, caution tape marks off entire rows where plaster has fallen from the cracked ceiling.

“We had the inspectors come in, and it was at a point where they were thinking about shutting the theater down,” said theater teacher Marco Bazan.

"Paint falls from the ceiling right here in the middle,” theater parent Paula Northcutt pointed out.

Parents say the $892 million bond is about safety, but the Travis County Taxpayers Union wants AISD to spend the money they already have more wisely.

“They have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from us, we pay exorbitant taxes and they won't fix basic problems,” said Union Representative Don Zimmerman.

The bond is estimated to cost the average Austin homeowner an additional $70 per year in taxes, but the TCTU says the rate is not guaranteed, and could be higher.

Early voting for the AISD bond runs through Tuesday May 7, and the election is Saturday May 11.

Click here for more voting information.