Students start lining up for lunch as early as 10:30 a.m. at Cook Elementary School, where 965 pupils are crammed into a school meant for 545.
Lunch is done in shifts over a three-hour period so the children can fit into the cafeteria, part of the creative use of space that becomes necessary when more than 40 percent of the school’s classes are held in portable buildings. Dismissal is another multipart drill, with teachers serving as traffic cops while coordinated waves of students head to their parents’ cars or walk home. If everyone tried to leave at the same time, they would have gridlock.
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Proposed bond package
On Monday, the Austin school board will decide whether to put on the May ballot an $883 million bond package that includes:
• $349.2 million for building renovations, repairs and improvements.
• $232.4 million for safety and security upgrades and relief from overcrowding, including three new elementary schools and additions to seven other schools.
• $166 million for academic programs, fine arts and athletics, including $20 million to renovate the Alternative Learning Center to house the School for Young Men, an all-boys school scheduled to open in 2014.
• $135.6 million for health, environment, equipment and technology, including maintenance.
What it would cost homeowners
The tax impact of the school district’s $883 million bond issue would vary for homeowners and property owners, depending on assessed values.
For a $100,000 home, the bond would increase school district taxes by $29.75 to $1,085.45 annually.
For a $200,000 home, the bond would increase school district taxes by $64.75 to $2,362.45.
For a $250,000 home, the bond would increase school district taxes by $82.25 to $3,000.95.
For a $300,000 home, the bond would increase school district taxes by $99.75 to $3,639.45.
For a $400,000 home, the bond would increase school district taxes by $134.75 to $4,916.45