Thursday, December 15, 2016

Austin ISD actually does something (modestly) encouraging....

"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
1 Peter 4:10

It's not a secret that we've been extraordinarily critical of Austin ISD's finances over the years, but this is a step in the right direction:
The Austin school district on Wednesday afternoon unveiled the 40 bids and proposals for 10 of its properties, including the district’s headquarters just west of downtown.

Some of the proposals are intended to create affordable housing in Austin. The city of Austin, Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and several well-known developers and nonprofits sought the properties, which included vacant land as well as such buildings as the downtown Millett Opera House (home of the Austin Club) and the Baker Center administration building in Hyde Park.

While the dollar amounts for the bids were released publicly, the details of the proposals weren’t disclosed.
 A few thoughts:
  • The housing numbers are probably too small to make a major difference...but for a city that needs to construct 150,000 units of new housing over the next decade, every little bit helps.
  • We've seen the suggestion made online that the headquarters on West 6th st should be converted into high rise condos; we'd fully support such a decision, but that probably makes far too much sense to ever be considered by this city.
  • Shedding some of their incredibly valuable real estate is the absolute bare minimum Austin ISD needs to do to get their finances in order.
We remain in wait and see mode, but nevertheless we encourage more thinking along these lines by the district:
The bids come amid the district’s efforts to create a 20-year facility master plan, which could call for building six new schools and closing up to 10 aging campuses in poor condition, in preparation for the next bond package, which could come as early as November. District leaders have said they must demonstrate efficiency with their surplus properties before asking voters to approve new projects.
Read the whole thing here.

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