"For all that Austin wants, how do we want to fund it?" asked AISD Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. That's the question that led district officials and board members to decide to hold a bond election May 11. Two of the propositions in the $892 million bond package were approved.
Proposition 1 will provide up to $140.5 million in improvements to technology and equipment upgrades.
Proposition 3 will provide up to $349 million for school repairs across the district and library renovations.
The two propositions that failed, 2 and 4, would have provided funds for fine arts and athletic programs, and addressed overcrowding, which has become a serious issue within the district. Dr. Carstarphen said the voters sent a message. "Send us back to really utilize all the available space in the district first and that will mean we have to have a conversation about policies and practices whether that's transfers and boundaries"
While it's not on the table at this point, that could mean the possibility of school closures in the future in order to maximize all AISD facilities. It's an idea that was been extremely unpopular when brought up several years ago.
"They're not making wise use of our tax dollars," said Don Zimmerman with the Travis County Taxpayers Union. His group urged voters to say "no" to the bond package. He believes taxpayers give the district enough.
"Everybody wants good education for their kids. I think the people that are voting no are saying, look, we've paid hundreds of millions of dollars for security, maintenance, hundreds of millions, where has the money gone?" he asked.
Carstarphen has said she realized there's a heavy burden on taxpayers, but that the district wants all schools to get the improvements that are needed.
"Trying to do what we need to do with our growing population and at the same time being fair to taxpayers is even tougher in Austin."
Click here for a list of bond requests by each school per proposition: http://www.austinisd.org/bond