AISD doles out $16 million from leftover bond money
Austin Independent School District is practically rolling in the dough. Monday night, the AISD school board laid out its spending plan for $16 million of the $19 million surplus it received from a 2008 bond program.
"It doesn't happen routinely, really. It's a product largely of the bond program in 2008 and the economy going down, which allowed many of the projects to be brought in under budget," Board President Mark Williams said.
Members decided $10.7 million will be spent on necessary renovations in 34 schools and one other district-owned building.
Another $5.4 million will be spent on portions of the Facilities Master Plan, $4 million of that will address overcrowding at elementary schools in North Central Austin, and just over $430,000 will go to the IDEA in-district charter school in East Austin.
Pride of the Eastside spokesman Vincent Tovar and fellow protesters are still fighting the IDEA charter school, but AISD school board members approved the charter back in December. IDEA will take over Allen Elementary School in 2012 and eventually transition Eastside Memorial High school to for sixth through 12th grade.
"We're against any recommendation of using 2008 bond money to retrofit an in-district charter school," Tovar said.
With so many at the meeting opposed, AISD Board Member Annette Lovoi proposed a compromise.
"I move that we approve the proposal this evening with the addition of $430,040 for Govalle and $430,040 for Ortega," she said.
It's the same amount of money IDEA is getting, and since those two elementary schools get all the students who opt out of the charter school, Board Member Annette LoVoi said they should get some money too.
"We've heard from many parents so I want to respond to that need,” she said.
The board responded by adding LoVoi's stipulation to the plan and paying attention to the crowd. Despite the fact they only heard from a handful of people at Monday’s meeting, it's a sign that packed rooms of past meetings have finally paid off for East Austin schools.
The board will address the needs at Govalle and Ortega Elementary Schools this week. They’ll ask the Community Bond Oversight Committee to weigh in as well.