AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ More than 30 years after Ruben Acosta learned multiplication tables at Metz Elementary School, he returned with a gift.

Acosta and eight other employees at Texwood Furniture on Tuesday delivered about $5,000 worth of new furniture for the school library. Through the Adopt- A-School program, the employees donated bookshelves, card catalog units, a magazine rack and dictionary stand.

''We are so used to settling for second-, third- and fourth-best at this school that when we get a gift like this, I'm not really quite sure how to say thank you,'' Principal Jorge Luis Rodriguez said.

''I've heard a lot about the problems,'' said Acosta, 44. ''That's why I think what we are doing here today will mean so much to the kids.''

''This is like a birthday,'' said school librarian Patricia Kaplan.

''We adopted Metz because it's very close to us,'' said Texwood President Carolyn Lewis. ''It is largely Hispanic and our work force is about 90 percent Hispanic. When we found out that some of our employees had attended Metz or had children going there, it seemed like the perfect school.''