AUSTIN (KXAN) — Students and teachers have been sounding the alarm about Austin ISD facilities for years.
“Whenever it rains, we have to set up trash cans all around the schools to catch the leaks,” said Kate Boyle, a student at McCallum High School.
That’s one reason AISD is looking toward a $2.44 billion bond, which would add new technology, and athletic facilities but also add new modernized schools, but what happens if voters don’t approve the bond?
“We would have to look really, really hard as an organization and determine what things have to be adjusted or cut,” said Matias Segura, AISD chief of operations.
AISD eliminated more than 600 jobs earlier this year, partially to increase teacher pay, but Segura said more cuts could be coming if the bond does not pass.
“Many of our teachers can’t afford to live in Austin,” said Segura. “We want to make sure we continue to pay teachers better and raise the salaries of teachers and staff. So, it is very difficult to do that unless we free up dollars somewhere.”
Segura said the district is constantly making repairs which could be going toward teachers. Many schools have to rent HVAC units to keep classrooms cool. Many schools also deal with leaks every time it rains.
“Right now, we have band-aids everywhere, and those band-aids last year cost us $12 million alone,” said Segura.
If the bond does not pass, Segura said the district would have to take a hard look at what they can do to keep facilities operating, but they will have to make some tough decisions.
“We have cut just about everything that can be cut without having an impact to service,” said Segura. “Moving forward, any additional impact or cut would probably impact the student experiences, and that is not what we want.”
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Early voting begins Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 4.