AUSTIN, Texas - Voters approved a $2.44 billion bond package for the Austin Independent School District.
In a press conference Wednesday Interim Superintendent Dr. Anthony Mays told reporters it is "the largest school bond package ever approved in Central Texas."
The money allows the district to make safety and technology upgrades, equipment purchases, repair and modernize buildings.
Mays said "CATs" or Campus Architectural Teams will form in coming weeks for the 25 AISD schools set to be modernized. The teams will be composed of school principals, staff, teachers, architects, general contractors and district officials.
Austin ISD Chief Financial Officer Ed Ramos said the district spends $12 million on repair costs annually.
"We also know that we spend $1.7 million to rent HVAC equipment just to keep our broken equipment functioning and our buildings cool," he added.
Ramos estimates the fixes will save the district approximately $18 million in repair and $6 million in reduced utility costs over the next 5 years.
"And those are actual savings in our operating budget that we can now use for teacher salaries and employee salaries," Ramos said.
With the districts budgeting cycle he said it is unlikely teachers will see a pay bump as a result of the bond package for at least two years.
Lisa Gutierrez, a teacher and cheerleading coach at Travis Early College High School, will likely receive the pay increase. She plans to retire from the school she graduated from in the 1990s. She said not much has changed, her classroom still has many of it’s original 1950s fixtures.
"Our Travis community for so long has been looked down on and overlooked and. We want these kids to feel that pride again…. We want them to feel good about where they go to school," said Gutierrez.