AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin ISD board of trustees on Thursday officially approved a motion to call for a bond election this fall.
According to the district, this $2.44 billion bond package provides funding for improvements to enhance safety, centers on equity, benefits every campus and address affordability.
Here's a look at the highlights of the 2022 bond:
- Security improvements — Install secure entry vestibules at every campus, upgrade doors and locks, and add new security fencing.
- Addressing systems and facilities with critical deficiencies — Repair HVAC, plumbing, roof and other chronic maintenance issues, including projects at every elementary and middle school with critical deficiencies.
- Modernization — Renovate 26 aging facilities through full or phased modernizations, including eight high schools, five middle schools and 13 elementary schools.
- Athletic improvements — Upgrade turf, lighting and seating at the athletic facilities at every comprehensive Austin ISD high school and fully renovate Nelson Field.
- Expand career and technical education spaces — Build permanent facilities for CTE classes to replace smaller portable buildings at Akins and Navarro early college high schools.
AISD leaders discussed the bond package in a press conference Friday:
"This has been a massive community effort and it shows," said Trustee Lynn Boswell. "I want to thank everybody ahead of time for work that is to come. We love our schools, our students, our teachers and this is a way to really take action and do all we can to give them what they deserve."
The proposed bond would raise the debt service portion of the school district's tax rate by one cent per $100 of value for the 2023-24 school year. However, according to a release from AISD, because of property tax compression, the AISD school board will still lower the overall total tax rate by 6.5 cents this school year and an additional three cents in the next school year if the bond passes.
Because of recent legislation, voters will be asked to consider three propositions to encompass all projects in the bond package:
- Proposition A: General Purpose $2,316,025,000
- Proposition B: Technology $75,541,000
- Proposition C: Stadiums $47,434,000
"We all win when we are a more equitable society, and this bond promises more investment in title 1 schools than has ever been proposed," added President Geronimo Rodriguez. "Every family also benefits from this bond creating new pathways for kids from communities who have historically missed out."
One local school that would see a major benefit from the passage of the bond would be Travis Early College High School, which is set to receive $252 million in modernization improvements. Athletics facilities, first opened in 1953, in particular would see great improvements.
For instance, the football field lacks pained yard lines and lighting, the weight room sits in a former garage with poor AC, and the locker rooms often lack hot water. Additionally, football coach Joe Martinez says he has broken his foot three times after stepping into holes on the athletic fields.
“We don’t have lines painted on the field, because we don’t have anyone to paint them,” Martinez said. “It’s just green grass and weeds so the kids don’t know how far they need to run to hit 10 or 20 yards. It’s only when we show up to a game at another facility with a nice, lined turf field that they see what a football field should be.”
The school district is planning to host a series of community information sessions about the newly-approved bond election starting in September. Early voting begins on Oct. 24 and Election Day is on Nov. 8.
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