AUSTIN (KXAN) — This November voters might see a multi-million dollar bond on the ballot for the Austin Independent School District. Before anything is finalized the district will ask the public where they want to see their tax money spent.
Over the last year, the Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee created a 20-year master plan for the district. All of the projects would cost about $3.9 billion. Now it’s up to the public and ultimately the school board to decide which projects should be funded through a November bond election.
Kendall Pace, the AISD Board President, says the bond needs to stay under $1 billion – likely around $900 million. There is a 16 page list of projects that have been prioritized which includes five new schools, repairs to almost every school in the district and upgrades to technology.
Some of the most expensive items include providing every student a Chromebook laptop, updating all network equipment and replacing the teacher’s computers.
Pace said they are also looking at what to do with vacant or under-utilized schools and property before finalizing the bond.
“We recognize that we can’t necessarily go out and ask the taxpayer for bond money if we are still sitting on property so we are doing all of that now,” says Pace. “I want the taxpayers and voters to know that we are going through this thoughtfully and carefully.”
Public feedback is scheduled for:
- Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Austin High School (6-8 p.m.)
- Wednesday, May 17, 2017 –Millennium Youth Complex Recreation Center (12-2 p.m.)
- Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – Bowie High School (6-8 p.m.)
- Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Reagan High School (6-8 p.m.)
- Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Travis High School (9-11 a.m.)
- Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Austin High School (10-2 p.m.) *Outreach Event
Following the public feedback the board will review it on May 22. June 1 they will finalize the bond and on June 19 could approve it.
The board and district are off during the month of July.