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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Austin Independent School District 7 Bond 2017

“Shall the Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of the Austin Independent School District (the “District”) be authorized to issue bonds of the District, in one or more series or installments in the principal amount of $1,050,984,000 for the construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, renovation, expansion, improvement, modernization and equipment of school buildings in the district, including(I) Technology Systems and Equipment,(II) Safety and Security Systems and Equipment,(III) Improvements to Address Overcrowding and Safety Concerns,(IV) Improvements for Students with Special Needs, and(V) Reinvention Programs For Twenty-First Century Learning; the purchase of the necessary sites for school buildings; and the purchase of new school buses, which bonds shall mature, bear interest and be issued and sold in accordance with law at the time of issuance; and shall the board be authorized to levy, pledge, assess and collect, annual ad valorem taxes on all taxable property in the district sufficient, without limit as to rate or amount, to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds, and the costs of any credit agreements (including credit agreements executed or authorized in anticipation of, in relation to, or in connection with the bonds), all as authorized by the constitution and laws of the State of Texas and the United States of America?”“¿Debe dársele autorización a la Mesa Directiva (la “Mesa Directiva”) del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Austin (el “Distrito”) para emitir bonos del distrito, en una o más series o cuotas sobre el capital de $1,050,984,000 para la construcción, adquisición, rehabilitación, renovación, expansión, mejora, modernización y equipo en los edificios del distrito, incluyendo(I) Equipo y sistemas tecnológicos ,(II) Equipo y sistemas de seguridad y protección,(III) Mejoras para atender las preocupaciones sobre la seguridad y la sobrepoblación,(IV) Mejoras para estudiantes con necesidades especiales, y(V) Reinvención de programas para el aprendizaje del Siglo XXI; la compra de los espacios necesarios para edificios escolares; y la compra de autobuses escolares nuevos, los bonos deberán madurar, devengar intereses y ser emitidos y vendidos en conformidad con la ley en el momento de expedición; y la Mesa Directiva estará autorizada para recaudar, comprometerse, evaluar y recolectar, impuestos ad valorem anuales sobre todos los bienes gravables en el distrito de manera suficiente, sin límite de tasa o cantidad, para pagar el capital e intereses del bono, y el costo de cualquier acuerdo del crédito (incluyendo los acuerdos del crédito ejecutados o autorizados con anticipación, en relación o conexión con los bonos), todo como está autorizado por la constitución y leyes del Estado de Texas y los Estados Unidos de América?”
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Arguments • AISD’s bond package has something for every campus, as well as spending on district-wide facilities and infrastructure. • Overdue maintenance and repairs are a priority item in this bond. AISD operates a many old campuses that are in desperate need of some attention. • AISD has more seats than kids, and some are situated in neighborhoods where large populations of kids no longer live. Meanwhile, other campuses, 10-15 miles away, face chronic overcrowding. The District may have to consolidate and close some campuses if enrollment continues to decline or if the bond fails to pass, but the bond does not mandate any closures. • There are more funds in the fully modernized or new facility projects going to Title 1 schools (those receiving federal financial assistance due to the high percentage of children from low-income households) than non-Title 1 schools. • The improvements also support new programs for 21st century learning spaces for all students, without a tax rate increase. • AISD has adopted its first Master Facility Plan, to prioritize and guide its next 25 years of physical investment. • AISD bonds will be some of the most appealing on the market keeping the district at an AAA bond rating. • AISD has the lowest bond tax rate (at $0.1113 cents) than any of the surrounding Central Texas ISDs. • Every single tax dollar approved for this bond package will stay here in the Austin ISD. None of it will be siphoned off by the state to reduce its own obligation to public education. • These are necessary investments for our children and the schools that are preparing them for the future. • This bond will help keep the Central Texas region competitive in an increasingly demanding marketplace. • If the bond should fail, there would be nothing for anybody. The District will be faced with painful and very unpopular decisions, such as potentially consolidating under enrolled schools into neighboring ones without modernization upgrades, and there will be no relief for overcrowded schools with critical deficiencies, such as HVAC, roofing, electrical and plumbing needs, will get no relief. AISD will have to take funds from its operating budget to make repairs which will impact other teaching and learning decisions and options.
Arguments • The proposed Facilities Master Plan that the Bond would fund would continue institutional racism, discrimination and inequity at AISD and City of Austin. • AISD must rewrite the Bond Plan and fully modernize, fund, value and support all Austin schools equitably. • The Bond Plan would discriminate based on race and class by closing only Hispanic and African American Title I schools in east Austin -- Brooke, Metz, Sanchez, Norman, and Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Academy even though all the targeted schools meet academic requirements and one, Norman is excelling. • The five east Austin schools are being targeted in the Bond Plan for low enrollment; however, 23 schools across AISD also have low enrollments but are not being targeted. • AISD claims that schools rated worst should get funding first, however, east Austin schools with poor facilities ratings would receive only 27% of the bond, or possibly be closed, compared to the 75% that west Austin schools with poor facilities ratings would receive. That criteria is being applied discriminatorily. • These schools are central hubs of activity for their neighborhoods and families; closing, selling or consolidating them would be harmful to the communities, the neighborhood and families. • If LASA were to move out of LBJ and displace the Eastside Memorial High School community from its Johnston Campus as the Bond plan proposes, AISD would again segregate our minority children by creating a district with three high schools that are only African American and Hispanic: Reagan, LBJ, and Eastside Memorial High School at the old Anderson location. • AISD, City of Austin, and developers want profits from land and development sales of now highly desirable neighborhoods in east Austin. • Whether the Bond passes or not, Austin ISD must keep open east Austin elementary schools - Brooke, Metz, Sanchez, and Norman and the middle school Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Academy. • Leave Eastside Memorial High School at Johnston Campus and reopen Allen Middle School in the Eastside Memorial vertical team. • If Austinites were to pass this bond and its associated Plan were implemented as it’s currently written, or, if AISD were to discriminatorily close the east Austin schools and displace Eastside Memorial High School anyway, the District would be in contravention of the 1970’s MALDEF and LULAC lawsuit that ordered desegregation of Austin schools. • The District’s continuing reliance on property value increases is questionable. The District should use only current land values, instead of assuming they will continue to rise. • You can’t borrow a billion dollars without paying more in taxes than you would pay without this new debt. "No tax rate increase" is being used to imply there is no tax increase; the two are not the same.

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