Austin Schools' $892M Bond Plan Draws Attention

Monday, April 29, 2013

The architects have spotted wide variances between preliminary estimates and costs on several projects, documents obtained by the American-Statesman show. New outdoor restrooms and concession storerooms, for example, are budgeted to be installed at all high schools for $10 million but could cost closer to $2 million. Indoor bleachers are budgeted at some high schools for $591,446, far more than the $77,511 it cost to replace bleachers at Travis High School.

District officials point out that a new database will guide the repair work that makes up more than $300 million of the proposed bond spending, and they say the school board and a citizens committee spent more than 1,600 hours to make the estimates as accurate as possible.

It is clear, however, that the biggest bond proposal in the school district’s history was assembled on a tight timeline — largely in an effort to land it on the May 11 ballot — and some say more time was needed to fully vet the numbers.

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