City, AISD, ACC All Win Approval for Major Investments

Voters boost big-ticket bonds

ACC's $770 million bond will fund the construction of two new campuses (Photo by John Anderson)

The Austin Independent School District's $2.44 billion bond package, composed of three propositions, passed in full. Prop A, winning with 72% of the vote, makes up the vast majority of the program with $2.3 billion focused on infrastructure improvements at campuses across the district. These should save the district around $12 million spent each year on repairs. Some of the big ticket campuses to receive modernization are Travis High with $250 million, Burnet Middle School with $158 million, and Northeast Early College High School/International High School with $117 million. Prop B, with $75.5 million for technology, got about as much support, while Prop C, which will put $47.4 million toward stadiums, passed with 58% of the vote.

The city of Austin's own Proposition A, at $350 million, may seem less impressive than the school district's, but it's the city's largest housing bond to date. About 73% of voters also said yes to this. Funds from 2018's $250 million package are running out, so this bond's passage means the city will be able to keep subsidizing income-restricted housing through its Austin Housing Finance Corporation. It can also purchase land for affordable units and pay for home repairs in cases where homeowners face displacement, among other things. To fill those pots, owners of median-value homes in Austin ($358,400) will pay an extra $46.59 in property taxes on their next bill.

With 71% of the vote, Austin Community College's $770 million bond to build two new campuses and improve the 11 existing ones passed. One of the new campuses will crop up at the Pinnacle site in Oak Hill, which was closed in 2018, and the other will be somewhere in booming southeast Travis County. Much of the money will go toward expanding workforce development programs, especially in manufacturing and trades including welding and nursing. As for the ACC Board, Sean Hassan and Manny Gonzalez, both competent incumbents, ran unopposed, and Steve Jackobs, the only candidate who actively campaigned for Place 6 and the well-qualified former executive director of Capital IDEA, a nonprofit that helps adults enter high-skill trades, won with 57% of the vote.

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