Sale of 4 district-owned properties, initiation of purchase for new headquarters and more agenda items Austin ISD trustees approved Monday night

Austin ISD trustees voted on an instructional calendar for school year 2018-19.

Austin ISD trustees voted on an instructional calendar for school year 2018-19.

A slim agenda was in front of the Austin ISD board at Monday's regular meeting; however, several high-level items were approved on consent, including the sale of four district-owned properties, the initiation of a new district headquarters purchase, approval of the 2017 tax levy and more. Here's a snapshot of some of the most significant items approved by trustees:

Approval of the sale of four district-owned properties, including the AISD headquarters
Tonight, trustees approved the sale of the district's 2.8-acre downtown Austin headquarters, along with four other AISD-owned properties.

A call for bids on the properties—which include the Carruth Administration Center, the Millett Opera House, the Baker Center, and two tracts of land at Doris Drive and Tannehill Lane,  were made in September.

Here's a snapshot of the winning bids:

  • SDC Austin Development Services will purchase the district's headquarters, the Carruth Administration Center, for $36.5 million.

  • The Foundation for the Preservation of the Historic Millett Opera House, Inc. will purchase the Millett Opera House for $3 million.

  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas will purchase the Baker Center for $10.6 million.

  • Two district-owned properties on Tannehill Lane and Doris Drive will be sold to the city of Austin for a combined amount of nearly $3 million.

According to the district, $60 million in revenue will be realized by these sales.

Both the city of Austin and Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas have agreed to develop a portion of the properties as affordable housing.

Authorization of the superintendent to enter into a contract for purchase of a new district headquarters
With the sale of the current downtown headquarters comes the need for a new administrative center. A facility known as the Southfield Building, located at 4000 I-35, Austin, has been identified for purchase by the district.

According to the district's Executive Director of Communication and Engagement Reyne Telles, the new headquarters will help to relieve traffic and parking headaches associated with the current location.

The new location will also provide a "centralized access point" for customers and will bring together several departments previously housed at different locations.

A portion of the revenue from the current headquarter and Baker Center sales will be used to purchase the Southfield Building, a Nov. 27 press release said.

Tonight's approval will allow the superintendent to negotiate and enter into a  fully-executed contract for purchase of the new facility. Once closed, some employees will begin working in the facility immediately, the district's communications department said.

Approval of the 2017 tax levy
On tonight's consent agenda, district trustees approved the 2017 tax levy of $1.3 billion.

The levy is the adopted tax rate of $1.192 per $100 home value times the taxable value of all property in the district's jurisdiction.

Approval of the 2016-17 financial audit for submission to the Texas Education Agency
This district's auditors have completed evaluation of AISD's financial statements for fiscal year 2016-17 and are issuing an unmodified opinion to the Texas Education Agency, according to background documents associated with tonight's agenda.

District trustees were asked to give staff the green light to send the audit to the TEA. The item was approved on consent.

According to the district, Texas Education Code requires all school district financials to be audited at the close of each fiscal year by a certified public accounting firm registered with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy.

Approval of the CodeNEXT resolution
On Nov. 14, trustees reviewed a resolution showing the district's support for CodeNEXT, the city of Austin's rewrite of its land development code.

In hopes of reinforcing its need for more flexible zoning to support affordable, family-friendly housing for its students, tonight, trustees approved the resolution.

Main points of the resolution included:

  • Encouraging the preservation of older market-affordable single-family homes, duplexes and multi-unit housing types.

  • Increasing opportunities for “house-scaled” residential zones that provide for building types which demonstrate a higher yield of students, such as duplexes, townhouses and single-family homes.

  • Increasing opportunities for accessory dwelling units in a variety of residential zones that may result in additional income for families or provide affordable housing for educators and district staff members.

  • Expanding the city’s density bonus program to include nonresidential properties and use the proceeds to create permanently affordable family-friendly housing.

Draft three of CodeNEXT is slated for release Nov. 28. In February the adoption process will begin.

By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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