Across the city, yard signs for and against Austin ISD’s bond can be found as election day grows near. Before heading to the polls, here are five things to know about the district’s $1.05 billion bond.
1. It is the largest in district history.
The $1.05 billion package before voters this November is the most costly bond referendum in AISD history. However, its bottom line only represents a quarter of the district’s total facility needs. According to AISD, the bond’s price tag represents the maximum amount the district can take on without raising its tax rate.
2. Its projects were prioritized based on a “worst first” criteria.
In selecting projects from the district’s Facility Master Plan to include in the Nov. 2017 bond package, the district relied on a criteria of the “worst first,” which was determined through objective facility data, as well as community engagement.
3. It aims to deliver 21st century learning environments.
Through projects ranging from partial and full rebuilds to renovations and capital improvements, the bond’s primary purpose is to “reinvent the urban school experience” by providing modernized classrooms and technology.
4. It will not result in a property tax rate increase.
According to AISD, the district’s taxpayers will not incur a property tax increase should the bond pass. However, those opposed to the bond have questioned the legitimacy of this claim.
5. It has been criticized for favoritism west of I-35.
One of the primary criticisms of the bond is that it favors affluent, predominately white communities located west of I-35. Groups representing East Austin have been especially vocal about their opposition to the package, which they say encourages institutional racism and gentrification. Superintendent Paul Cruz has maintained the bond package touches every corner of the district and is not defined by east versus west.
Editor’s note: The following map shows bond projects associated with specific AISD facilities; however, it does not represent the total bond package.