Austin ISD Schools to Get $4 Million in Federal Funding to Help Narrow Equity Gap

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a perfect world, all Austin Independent School District campuses would be equitable in terms of resources and opportunities.

While the district is working towards it, that’s not yet the case, according to Democrat Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Austin.

“There are big differences between some of our schools, especially those schools that are surrounded by economically deprived neighborhoods, that have parents who are struggling to get by,” Doggett said.

Doggett and AISD are excited to partner together, announcing $4 million in federal funding that will be distributed across 36 campuses across the district.

These campuses, a school official said, are in low-income areas.

The money will fund two new projects: outdoor learning spaces and the launch of a college- and career-ready pilot project.

This would specifically support more outdoor learning spaces, outdoor classrooms and exhibits, according to an AISD school official. It would even fund field trips for outdoor learning experiences, more college visits starting with fifth graders, a district-wide internship program, industry partner visits, and more.

One of the campuses receiving funding is St. Elmo’s Elementary School in South Austin. The students are already thinking about their future.

“I want to own my own business when I grow up,” said fifth grader Karely Rodriguez.

His classmate Alex Tzoz also dreams big.

“I would like to be like an engineer or have a career like in sports,” said Alex.

Thanks to new federal funding, both students can get help to achieve these goals.

This type of opportunity has already made an impact.

“I’m a low-income first-generation student,” said a senior at Navarro Early College High School. “When you’re given the opportunity where you don’t have to worry about finances and you have this early college program that helps you and prepares you for college, that’s really great.”

The AISD is still working out details on how much money each campus will receive for the two new projects. He said the funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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