Austin ISD superintendent outlines safety, bond spending plans for school year

Austin ISD students will return to school on Monday, but students and parents can expect some changes this school year.

For one, six more police officers will be on the district police force.

“Additional officers will help us do a lot more things. We will be assigning one of those as a mental health officer,” said Chief Ashley Gonzalez back on Aug. 7.

In the wake of concern for school shootings across the nation, Superintendent Paul Cruz says students will continue to participate in active shooter safety drills as needed.  Austin ISD officers will continue to work in conjunction with the Austin Police Department.

“We also know there are changes that occurred over time. We want to make sure we have enough police officers, we also want to make sure our police officers are trained with the latest safety procedures and approaches,” said Dr. Paul Cruz, Austin ISD superintendent.

Also, spectators can expect a new policy to be enacted for sporting events and other extra-curricular activities.

“So we're looking at a clear bag policy but that's for our stadiums. We've shaped our policy around what we know is done at the Erwin Center,” said Cruz.

In addition, this year, the bond approved by voters, will go into effect. 

“We are going to open up a dual language high school this year. We started with an elementary, middle and now a high school,” said Cruz.

Also, new construction projects are set to begin this school year. So there may be some logistical changes

“It does involve relocating different students to different facilities,” said Cruz.

The district wants to remind drivers that citations averaging $300 are given out to anyone running a stop arm.

“It's very important for parents and family members to talk to their children about school safety, when they are walking to school or waiting for a parent pickup,” said Cruz.

Cruz also mentioned the district is facing declining enrollment numbers, which they think is because of affordability issues. They plan on implementing more programs that will keep families in Austin ISD.