Austin ISD trustees voted Monday night to approve a new program that establishes targets for the number of contracts awarded to women- and minority-owned businesses, known as a Historically Underutilized Business program.
The HUB program is intended to provide equal opportunities for all vendors to garner Austin ISD contracts.
"While our primary focus is educating AISD students, we understand the importance of being a good partner in the greater Austin community as well," said Superintendent Paul Cruz. "What is good for our community is good for our students."
Though the district has had a voluntary HUB program for years, a disparity study indicated that there were additional measures that could be taken to increase HUB participation when awarding contracts.
The district's Construction Management Department will be the first department to fully implement the program, beginning Nov. 15 with bond-funded construction contracts. The rest of the district will further expand implementation next school year with professional services HUB requirements.
"AISD's new HUB program will help broaden opportunities for local businesses and ensure our contract awards reflect the communities and families we serve," said Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley. "Our chambers of commerce, trade associations and community members helped us shape this exciting new HUB program. We look forward to continuing to work together to support our diverse, school communities-and to build AISD's future together."
AISD contracts with various companies to provide services for more than 12,000 employees and operate 130 schools every day.
The HUB certification will be conducted by groups approved by the state of Texas. The district will also accept Minority-owned Business Enterprise and Women-owned Business Enterprise certifications issued by the city of Austin, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification issued by the Texas Unified Certification Program.