Austin ISD is considering a bond that includes housing aid for teachers

The district will hold a series of meetings about the potential bond, and in August the board will decide whether it will go to voters in November.

AUSTIN, Texas — A local school district tries to find ways to help teachers stay and live here. That help for Austin ISD staff could come from a November bond election.

AISD has already partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing for staff and the community in Austin locations. However, the bond proposal could be a way to help more teachers.

“It’s a tough job for teachers in Austin right now,” said Billy Dragoo, who has taught AISD for 29 years and is only a few years out of retirement.

He and his wife Annie Dragoo teach theater together at Austin High School. He said it is much more challenging to be a teacher in this town now.

“You need about $59,000 on average to pay a one-bedroom rent. Well, you know, I’ve been teaching here for almost 30 years and my salary is barely over that,” he said.

The district is considering putting a $1.5 billion bond on the November ballot. It may include things like safety and security, modernizing facilities, improving technology, and implementing a teacher housing program.

“We are looking at several locations that will no longer serve in schools or that are classified as redundant because they have never been schools,” said Austin ISD Operations Officer Matias Segura, “and figure out how we can include affordable housing or housing for the workforce on these sites.” sites.”

Segura said Austin ISD is in the process of repurposing buildings by identifying future uses for district properties that are underused or no longer in use. He said the district hopes a plan like this will not only attract teachers but also retain those who are already there.

“There’s a role to play in fighting this, you know, the affordability crisis that’s here in Austin. Given that AISD is a very large landowner, and given that we’re one of the largest employers in Central Texas , and given that, you know, our teachers, who are absolutely critical to student success, many of them can’t afford to live here,” Segura said.

For educators like Dragoo toward the end of their careers, it’s something he wants to see for his younger peers.

“What a great blessing for educators to not have to worry about being able to afford to live in the city where they teach,” he said.

The district will hold a series of meetings about the potential bond, and in August the board will decide whether it will go to voters in November.

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