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mrs aaron
Mueller Community

Posts: 767
Joined on August 31st, 2007
by mrs aaron on January 20th, 2008

We need to focus on the CBAC and getting our message out from now until Jan 27.
Once public input is received, the CBAC will reconvene to discuss the citizen input and make a final determination on the recommendations that will be submitted to the Board of Trustees on January 28, 2008.

Email your message to to get it to the CBAC.

It wouldn't hurt to get out ahead on the Board of Trustees also. Cheryl Bradley is our area rep. But Mark Williams is the President and his term expires in May 2008.

AISD Office Address for All Board Members
1111 West 6th Street
Austin, TX 78703
Fax: 414-1486

another Editorial option

From the Chronicle:
Citizens' Committee Shuffles AISD Bonds
January 18, 2008
Plans are firming up for Austin Independent School District's interim bond-election package to propose major investments in buildings and technology. On Jan. 10, the 2008 Citizens' Bond Advisory Committee added items to its list of projects for the public discussion that took place this week before making its final recommendations to the board of trustees on Jan. 28.

The committee had already preliminarily approved $172 million for projects deemed essential: new labs to meet increased math and science graduation minimums and kitchen renovations, as well as cost-cutting innovations, such as capacitor banks that could cut electricity bills by $2 million a year. However, with overcrowding becoming a major problem, the committee adopted proposals for a new $25 million elementary school. This is in addition to two undesignated schools already funded under the 2004 bond issue. Four schools – Linder, Barrington, Hart, and Langford – received preliminary approval for eight new classrooms each. The construction would move students from temporary structures, but without adding to core buildings. "What does it really solve," asked Tri-Chair Mark Curry, "beyond making [the classrooms] look prettier?"

Two days earlier, the committee lent its support to more than $69 million for technology investments, influenced by a combination of new online testing requirements, the need for equipment replacement, and the announcement from Pearson School Systems that it will stop supporting the current records software. "We can give you a jump-start on technology," Tri-Chair Amy Wong Mok told staff, "but we need a strategic vision, so we don't have to jump-start every five years." Members were also concerned the funding could not include cash for information-technology support staff. "You wouldn't buy buses and not hire bus drivers," said member Rudy Montoya.

Not every proposal passed. Proposals for a Mueller Airport Elementary, a second undesignated elementary, and a middle school were put on hold, as was $4.9 million for library books. The committee is wavering on the proposed $30 million performing-arts center. With earlier plans to add it to the Long Center seemingly dead, the Rathgeber Family Part­ner­ship had discussed offering land at Mueller: If that offer would expire before the next proposed full bond date, the committee may still decide to recommend it.

Repayment of the bonds, as well as the potential impact on appraisal taxes, also raised concerns. AISD has only 13 cents left for maintenance and operation costs out of the Legislature's cap of $1.17 per $100 of valuation. But a rate increase may be unavoidable: Resale values are static, although with Texas leading the nation in construction starts, new homes could offset that. AISD staff reported that reaching the cap could be avoided by doing two or three staggered sales of $50 million-$100 million each, with larger sums put off until smaller, more immediate projects are completed and partially paid off.

AISD Scrambles for Another Bond Election
Less than four years after its last bond issue, the Austin Independent School District is considering another bond election for next May that could mean up to $200 million in what the district describes as new urgent funding for local schools. In 2004, Austin voters approved $519 million in school bonds, but according to AISD facilities Executive Director Paul Turner, changing circumstances in the district demand an interim issue. "If it's something that can wait, we'll put it in the parking lot until next time," said Turner. "We're looking at things that require immediate attention."

Since October, the 21-member volunteer Citizens' 2008 Bond Advisory Committee has been considering proposed projects, mostly driven by essential repairs, swelling student numbers, and changing curriculum requirements. If successful, this bond issue could solve immediate demands and push back the next major issue from its currently proposed date of 2010 by two years. This time, the committee is only looking at programs it classifies as sufficiently urgent not to be postponed. "The way we're approaching this is: What are the consequences of us not making a decision?" said committee tri-Chair Geronimo Rodriguez.

The largest proposal is the potential construction of additional elementary schools and perhaps a junior high to alleviate significant overcrowding. Several schools have been evaluated as being over 125% of capacity, although the committee is still waiting for a final demographer's report, expected in early December. "There's population growth and population movement," said tri-Chair Mark Curry, "so there's a need to consider where you might build those schools, so you can reset boundaries and balance that load."

Some of that need for new schools could be offset by adding classrooms and staff to existing schools, and recent curriculum changes have created an immediate demand for science labs. Starting with the 2007 freshman class, Texas high school students are required to take four years of math and science to graduate, and some of the money could go for extra lab space. New classroom construction costs could total more than $100 million, but tri-Chair Amy Wong Mok stressed that the need is immediate. For example, Linder Elementary, designed for 600 students, now houses more than 900 and starts serving lunch at 10am to fit them all in. "Those children can't wait any longer, because they'll be in high school by the next bond," she said.

Extra upfront cash could also be requested to allow new facilities to integrate green-building techniques, including innovative heating and cooling systems, thereby cutting energy consumption long-term. The committee is considering investing in capacitors for the electrical system (which could save the district more than $1 million annually in utility bills), as well as the continuing replacement of the aging bus fleet for less polluting options. "There's a big discussion there, judging hybrids against reduced-emission diesel," said Rodriguez.

One big-ticket item that may not seem as urgent as the mandated classroom construction projects is a new districtwide performing-arts center for high school and junior high students. In 2004, residents voted 2-to-1 to approve $7.7 million for a similar project on or near the McCallum High campus, but that project was dependent on matching private funds that never materialized. According to Curry, the committee considers the 2004 vote a sign the community backs the concept, but the old bond proposal has expired – so the committee negotiation process resumed from the beginning. "We're discussing the need for a performing-art center against where to put it," said Rodriguez.

One alternative under consideration is to house the PAC at the new Long Center for the Performing Arts, under construction on Riverside. Proposals for the center originally included the 700-seat Topfer Theatre, but this plan was put on hold due to funding shortfalls. The committee is considering funding a mixed-use space available to both AISD and the center, and Long Center management welcomed the idea. "We're standing here with open arms should AISD decide we're the right choice," Long Center Executive Director Reynolds Redd Jr. said.

The next big step is the demographer's report, due Dec. 1. This will give the committee exact student numbers from which they can gauge the pressure on classroom capacity. They plan to make their recommendations to the AISD board of trustees by Jan. 28, which should allow for further public consultation. To reach the May ballot, the board must adopt the proposals by March 7. The citizens' committee will be accepting any additional public proposals for projects until Dec. 4: Urgent proposals might be added, while those of a lower priority will be held over until the next major election. "The one procedural issue we all understand is that we're on a compressed time schedule," said Rodriguez, "but we want to make sure that we are as transparent and accountable and open as possible."

Speaking of transparency, I have requested the unposted CBAC minutes for Dec 18, Jan 8 and 10. I have also requested the capacity numbers for Campbell, Sims, Pecan Springs, Harris, Ridgetop, Norman, and Lee.

I sent this to the AAS, but doubt they will print it. I hate the 150 word limit.

An elementary school has always been in the master plan of Mueller. Catellus has donated land for it. It was in the 2004 bond program recommendations.
We want to be a part of a positive boundary discussion that benefits not just our new neighborhood, but the surrounding area as well. Too many parents are sending their kids to private schools in the area. We will work to change that. We believe in public schools.
Enrollment projections from the district suggest that neighboring campuses can accommodate the influx of Mueller students until the 2012-13 school year. A school put on the 2008 bond probably wouldn’t be built until 2012. Planning for growth makes sense.
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Mueller Community

Posts: 1149
Joined on August 18th, 2007
untitled topic
by langhugh on January 20th, 2008

Another Outlet for feedback is the AAS's Homeroom Blog where there is a post requesting public comment on the items left out of the 2008 bond:
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Mueller Community

Posts: 334
Joined on August 19th, 2007
untitled topic
by icemonkeyharvest on January 20th, 2008

That PDF I linked to didn't reflect the capacity change due to additions to elementary schools from the 2004 bond package due to their completion schedule. So, I made up a PDF showing where money went from the 2004 Bond package and where money is planned to go in the current 2008 Bond package.

There were a lot of renovations done to elementary schools in the last bond, to what extent I'm not sure. They could be anything from new windows to plan overhauls.

2004 Bond and Projected 2008 ES Bond Distribution

Here is where I collected the 2004 Bond info.

Proposed 2008 Bond Summary
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mrs aaron
Mueller Community

Posts: 767
Joined on August 31st, 2007
untitled topic
by mrs aaron on January 20th, 2008

Lee and Harris are now frozen to transfers.
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gamesss zone

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Joined on December 21st, 2019
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