AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a perfect world, all Austin Independent School District campuses would be equitable in terms of resources and opportunities.

While the district strives for this, that’s not the case yet, according to Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Austin.

“There are big differences between some of our schools, particularly those schools that are surrounded by neighborhoods that are economically disadvantaged, that have parents that are struggling to get by,” Doggett said.

Doggett and AISD are thrilled to partner together, announcing $4 million in federal funding that will be distributed among 36 campuses district-wide.

These campuses, a school official said, are in lower income areas.

The money will fund two new projects: outdoor learning spaces and launching a college and career preparation pilot.

This would specifically support more outdoor learning spaces, outdoor classrooms, and exhibits, according to an AISD school official. It would even fund field trips for outdoor learning experiences, more college visits starting with kids as young as 5th grade, a district-wide internship program, industry partner visits and more.

One of the campuses receiving funding is St. Elmo’s Elementary School in south Austin.
Students there are already thinking about their futures.

“I want to own my own business when I grow up,” 5th grader, Karely Rodriguez said.

Her classmate Alex Tzoz is dreaming big too.

“I would like to be like an engineer or have a career like in the sport,” Alex said.

Because of new federal funding, both students can get help achieving those goals.

These kinds of opportunities have already made an impact.

“I’m a low-income, first-generation student,” a senior from Navarro Early College High School said. “When you’re given the opportunity where you don’t have to worry about like the finances and you have this early college program that helps you and prepares you for for college, it’s truly is amazing.”

AISD is still working out the details on how much money each campus will get for the two new project. It said funding will be considered on a case by case basis.