On Feb. 23, Austin ISD trustees approved emergency purchases for an estimated $845,446 worth of damages related to Winter Storm Mara.
Nayeli Santoyo, AISD media relations specialist, said the number is an estimate of what the district has seen so far.
The authorization given to school officials for the emergency purchases will last for six months and can be made using general funds, or disaster relief funds if those become available, according to AISD Executive Director of Construction Management Michael Mann.
The storm swept over the Austin area Jan. 31-Feb. 3, bringing with it below-freezing temperatures and precipitation. As a result, dangerous road conditions and power outages were widespread throughout the area, causing Austin ISD officials to make the decision to close school those days. All campuses except Hill Elementary School were able to reopen Feb. 6. Hill Elementary School students and staff were hosted at Padron Elementary School until Hill Elementary School could reopen.
"The resulting damage included 23 campuses and facilities without power, and the majority of the AISD campuses had tree and limb debris that caused electrical wire damage, obstructing roadways, parking lots, playgrounds and courtyards," Mann said in his request to the board.
Mann said the damaged facilities were assessed, and repairs began immediately in order to allow students and staff back on campuses by Feb. 6. This authorization by trustees, he said, addresses purchases of goods and services that were necessary to restore the campuses and facilities.
Also on Feb. 23, trustees approved paying teachers and staff for the days the district was closed due to the storm.
According to AISD policy, the district allows each employee assigned to a regular, budgeted position with benefits to continue to be paid for their regular duty schedule regardless of whether the employee is required to report to work unless otherwise provided by board action. Those who qualify include classified, exempt and nonexempt employees who were unable to work due to inclement weather from Jan. 31-Feb. 3, who will not work to make up those service days.