Board to discuss new school proposal

Austin Public School board members will discuss a proposal to curb increasing enrollment issues by adding a new school later this month at a special session. The proposal, in its rough stages, would include a new school for fifth and sixth graders and additional classrooms and renovations made to Woodson Kindergarten Center.

The proposal was made by a facilities task force, comprised of community members and district officials. The task force began meeting in January to discuss a 2009 demographics report which states the district would grow by almost 500 students by 2014. A facility usage study done last year revealed seven out of eight school buildings were either at or over capacity for the current school year.

The school board will hear presentations on various aspects of the plan as well as listen to community member presentations on potential building sites for a new school.

Aside from a new school and Woodson renovations, the task force recommended district officials analyze how a new school would affect the district’s budget, as well as recommend any proposal the board adopts to be less than $30 million. Mark Stotts, district finance and operations director, said district officials would put together a plan between $25 and $30 million if board members agreed to the proposal.

No formal action has yet been taken on the proposal. If board members decide to pursue a new school, a bond referendum would take place in November.

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