Portables see many work orders, little improvement


Leaks from the roof of a portable classroom leaves water damage on the ceiling of academy coordinator Misty Lindsey’s portable.

Diego Gutierrez, Sports Editor

When Akins originally opened in 2000, it was designed to accommodate 2,400 students. Since then, the student population has swelled to about 2,800.

To accommodate the growth, the district has added the New Tech and the STEM wings, but that still has not eliminated the need for the campus to rely on more than 20 classrooms housed in portable buildings.

Portable buildings are supposed to be temporary but at Akins they have become more of a permanent fixture with most of them being here for more than 15 years. According to Akins Principal Tina Salazar, there is only one solution to permanently fix the problem.

There’s at least one work order a week on something in the portables.”

— Misty Lindsey, Social Services Academy Coordinator

“We need a building,” Salazar said. “(The portables are) at least 18 years old.”

The deteriorating conditions of the portables have become an everyday headache for students, teachers and administrators, Salazar said.

“Every day, we’ve had problems with the floor giving in, problems with mold, problems with water dripping down,” Salazar said. “We’ve had problems with the electricity.”

To deal with the problems, administrators and campus maintenance sta have to submit work order requests for repairs to be made.

“There’s at least one work order a week on something in the portables,” said Misty Lindsey, Social Services Academy Coordinator. “It’s possible for there to be between 50 and 100 work orders in a school year.”

I’m an ideal person but I have no hopes of AISD doing anything (about the portables) in my high school lifetime.”

— junior Sido Diaz

This year, 50 to 100 work orders have been submitted for the portables, Lindsey said. The repair process is complicated because some of the portables are owned by the district and some are leased to the district by a private company, so they must be repaired through different channels.

“I’m an ideal person but I have no hopes of AISD doing anything (about the portables) in my high school lifetime,” junior Sido Diaz said.

One reason the district lacks the funds to properly care for or replace the portables is the district’s “recapture” problem, which requires that property tax revenue that would typically go to the district is sent to “property poor” districts. Salazar said she can see the issue from both sides.

“Back in the day, I taught in Lockhart and it was lopsided,” Salazar said. “The really rich schools who were property rich or who had industry, all of that went to the schools and they had everything.”

District officials are lobbying members of the state Legislature to provide relief to districts like Austin ISD. ey are asking the state to reduce its reliance on Robin Hood to fund public schools so Austin ISD has enough money to take care of basic needs like repairing and replacing the portable classrooms.

“I think it’s unwise to expect everything,” said Cecilia Gutierrez, who teaches in the portables. “I hope that we get a revision of recapture of Robin Hood that we could keep more money and not give away as much we continue to teach the best we can.”