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TCTU asks the Austin ISD Board of Trustees to halt the demolition plans for T.A. Brown Elementary, makes new PIR

Media Advisory

June 15, 2017

AUSTIN, Tx —

The Travis County Taxpayers Union (TCTU) has asked the Austin ISD Board of Trustees to immediately halt the demolition plans for T.A. Brown Elementary pending a second opinion on the structural condition of the foundation.

“We have issued an extensive Public Information Request (PIR) for AECOM contractual obligations and detailed ‘engineering studies’ which AISD staff claims justifies demolition of the building”, says Don Zimmerman, Director of TCTU.  “We suspect there was political motivation behind the press conference and exaggerated claims of irreparable damage, and the sudden closure of the school, to build political support for the demolition and around $30 million dollar reconstruction of the school, as part of the exorbitant $986 million Bond this November”.

 

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June 15, 2017

TO:  Austin ISD Board of Trustees

FROM: Travis County Taxpayers Union

Greetings,

We have reason to suspect that “engineering studies”, generated by sole-source consultant group AECOM, exaggerated claims of structural deterioration at T.A. Brown Elementary, and possibly other facilities, for the political motivation of gaining voter sympathy and support for the exorbitant $1 billion Bond contemplated for Nov. 2017.

 

We ask the AISD Board to execute these steps immediately:

* Prioritize fulfillment of the Public Information Request for T.A. Brown School

* Immediately HALT demolition plans for T.A. Brown Elementary

* Request a separate structural inspection, from a separate structural engineering consultant (not affiliated with AECOM and its subcontractors), who answers solely to the AISD Board of Trustees.

Best regards,

Don Zimmerman

Director, TCTU

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June 15, 2017

TO:  Austin ISD Public Information Office

FROM:  Don Zimmerman, Travis County Taxpayer’s Union

RE:  Six detailed Public Information Requests for AECOM contract origin and certain deliverables for T. A. Brown Elementary School

Dear Administrator:

  1. We request the Condition Assessment Reports for T.A. Brown Elementary School (School), which were produced by AECOM, and all subcontractors operating in conjunction with or under the direction of AECOM, and other consultants paid by Austin ISD in conjunction with the School assessment (collectively, “subcontractors”);
  2. We request the School Structural Investigation engineering reports provided to Austin ISD by AECOM and subcontractors, including Existing Conditions, Engineering Analysis, Recommendations, and Probable Cause, and especially, the “engineering report” which led to the sudden “cancellation” and removal of students from the school, per the media stories below (Nov-3, 2016):

http://kxan.com/2016/11/03/structural-concerns-force-friday-cancellation-at-brown-elementary/ http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/215420399-story  http://www.kvue.com/news/education/classes-canceled-at-ta-brown-elementary-due-to-structural-issues/347482745

  1. We request e-mails and written communications between Austin ISD staff and AECOM (and subcontractors) staff which led to widespread media reports, and Austin ISD media announcements supporting statements like “ The supports that hold up the floor in classroom wings and the cafeteria have deteriorated so badly that structural engineers and district leaders fear a portion of the floor could collapse.”  Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/local/austin-brown-elementary-stay-shuttered-because-unstable-floor/q9lx8UTDyZT4GTBO2wY1SI/

 

  1. We request all e-mails and written communication between Austin ISD staff and the engineer “Anna Boenig”, who was publicly identified on TV news story, in a press conference organized and attended by Austin ISD staff, as making this statement:   “We do not recommend this be repaired at all. It would not be feasible. The damage is to every single beam in some areas affected. It would be a hazard for any contractor to work under there,” said Anna Boenig, P.E.   Source: http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/215420399-story
  2. We request all e-mails and written communication between Austin ISD staff and AECOM engineers and consultants regarding the preparation of the press conference, including the decisions regarding which photos to publicly display, where the public presentation of the School structural issues were raised.
  3. We request a copy of the contract with AECOM, and billings and payments so far for work done on the School,
  4. We request electronic and written communications between Nicole Conley and AECOM staff regarding the School, for the 6 months prior to the November 2017 media reports listed above.
  5. We request copy of the School demolition permit, and the technical documentation supporting that demolition permit application.

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