A plan to spend almost $889 million on upgrades to buildings and facilities in the Austin school district school will be presented to the school board for consideration tonight. The recommended bond package is the result of months of work by a citizens advisory committee.
The bond package proposal is divided into four separate parts: $350 million for critical repairs, $264 million to help build more schools and add classrooms to alleviate overcrowding, $131 million to be spent on fixing cafeterias, technology and science labs and energy conservation, and another $145 million on facility improvements for fine arts, athletics, career and technology, special education. You can read the breakdown in this AISD document.
The bond package does not enjoy universal support among school trustees. AISD board member Robert Schneider, whose district includes Southwest Austin, says he would like to see the bond package pared down to just the $350 million in critical repairs until a broader facilities plan is in place.
"My observation is that we’re spending a lot of money on facilities that are going to be 50 or 60 year-old buildings," Schneider said. "I wish we had a better plan for how we manage our facilities and what we do with them, but unfortunately, that’s not where we’re at right now.”
If approved by voters, the $889 million dollar bond package would raise property tax rates by 3.5 cents per $100 dollars of assessed value. That translates to an increase of $70 dollars a year for the owner of a $200,000 home.