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Austin School Board Member Jayme Mathias’ statement that the East Austin community is relying on history to help make decisions on the bonds is fairly accurate because we don’t want to repeat the past ["Saving the School System
," News, Sept. 8]. Segregated schools like in the past have led to inequities in faculty, education materials and in inadequate facilities. Dr. Mathias has allowed his district to be treated as a second-class citizen. He has refused to listen to the community’s recommendations and has decided that only he knows what is best for East Austin.
The school board’s “Let’s Make a Deal” approach to getting the projects in the bond that get them the most votes is a disgrace and a disservice to the community. By closing the three Eastside elementary schools and Allan, the district makes it certain that there will not be sufficient students to justify a new high school at the Old Anderson campus.
As a plaintiff in the original desegregation lawsuit, DOJ v. AISD
in 1970, I can tell you that these same tactics were being used by the school district almost 50 years ago. The school district is systemically creating a model for segregation with this proposed bond.
Closing Eastside schools that are centrally located and spending more money on new facilities like Mueller and the New Anderson High School doesn’t make sense. Living beyond your means doesn’t make sense. We have over $8 million in current debt from prior bonds, and adding another billion-plus is not prudent. Saying that “it will not increase our property taxes” is very misleading. You are creating a major tax liability for years to come. As ALL the taxing entities decide to increase their tax needs, the property taxpayers will be hit again with higher taxes. Many Eastside property owners cannot afford these increases in property taxes. Many residents have been forced to sell their homes and move to suburban areas that they can afford. Thus, you have a systematic gentrification of the Barrio.
Another bad move is to relocate LASA to Eastside Memorial at the Johnston Campus. The school population (LASA) will now be predominantly white, and the predominantly minority school will be moved into a mostly minority new school (90%). If the school district is determined to move LASA, why not mix the two populations and not build another unnecessary high school?
Using Allan as a middle school, instead of building another middle school at Mueller makes more sense. Allan is only 2-3 miles from the Mueller neighborhood. This would provide a neighborhood feeder school for Eastside Memorial and help integrate Allan.
If the bond passes as is, I predict that more East Austin students will move to charter schools that are opening all around them. This will affect the district’s annual revenue and could require a major tax increase to meet the almost $2 billion debt payments.
The school board president’s statement that the position of the SEAS-PAC is non-negotiable is not truthful when in fact it’s the school district that is not listening to its constituents. The deals that have been cut by the school board to gain the votes has placed the school district in a "take it or leave" position with the Eastside community. The school district’s priority should always be to service all its students. The only winners with this costly proposed bond seem to be the building contractors and campaign donations recipients.
“TIME to start being educators, not real estate developers!”
I love good movies, but I hate bad movies that waste my time and money. After seeing the movie Wind River
the other day I came to the conclusion that I will never trust The Austin Chronicle
’s movie reviews to inform my choice of movies again. I have been burned too many times this summer by glowing reviews of movies like Logan Lucky
(a terrible movie) while terrific movies like Wind River
get only tepid reviews. So in the future I may use the Chronicle
’s movie reviews as an initial screen and then go to Rotten Tomatoes, which has a full-time team of professional reviewers, to inform my movie choices.
I wasn't sure that you had it in you. But Lord have mercy, you pulled it off!
Michael King wrote an entire article about Ellen Troxclair's plan to transfer the HOT fund ["Still Puzzling
," News, Sept. 8], without a single word about the rest of her plan – to hold the effective tax rate increase to 6%.
With all the hoop-de-doo about expanding the Convention Center, affordability has been cast to the wind once again. The last thing Austin needs is more cavernous, mostly empty spaces in the Convention Center. There is no urgent need to attract more growth and cram more people into our already crowded and unaffordable neighborhoods.
If you remember anything about high school math, you can see that annual 8% increases in Austin's tax rate will cause our taxes to double every nine years.
Fortunately, plans are underway to put an end to the high-density, traffic-inducing madness of CodeNEXT. A petition drive will soon evolve and it will be put to the voters. They will decide overwhelmingly not to surrender their neighborhoods to the developers.
Council members running for re-election who ignore affordability will do so at their own peril.