By Robert Morales —
CCCAISD trustees on Monday night approved a measure that gives Superintendent Marc Puig the authority to bid the construction of a new track and renovations to the football field and field house. The approximate cost is between $2.5 – $3 million, said Mr. Puig.
As was reported in the Advocate recently, CCAISD has a fund balance of about $4.1 million. That amount will likely surge to about $6 million in January, according to Mr. Puig. If the district does not use some of that money, it would almost certainly be “recaptured” by the state.
Under Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code, wealth equalization is defined in the following manner: “For the purposes of the school finance system in Texas, districts are designated as either property wealthy or property poor. The relative wealth of the school district is measured in terms of the taxable value of property that lies within the school district borders divided by the number of students in weighted average daily attendance (WADA). Chapter 41's provisions are sometimes referred to as the “share the wealth” or “Robin Hood” plan because districts that are deemed to be property wealthy are required to share their wealth with property-poor school districts. The funds that are distributed by the property-wealthy districts are “recaptured” by the school finance system to assist with financing of public education in school districts that are property poor.”
Put another way, CCAISD is on the brink of recapture based upon the formula the state uses to calculate whether a district has to give back some of its money to the state to help fund a school deemed to be “property poor.” It is important to emphasize that “property wealthy” and “property poor” are relative terms that don't necessarily mean a school district is rich or poor.
By any measure, Plano ISD is property wealthy in terms of its high valued real estate. Plano, a suburb of Dallas, is also considered a wealthy city. In fact, at one time, one of Plano's zip codes was considered among the wealthiest in the U.S.
On the other hand, CCAISD is a small school district with a student population that fluctuates from year to year. There can be no comparison made with a city like Plano, and although the state may label CCAISD as property wealthy, it is far from being a wealthy town.
Mr. Puig said he would seek bids in January with the goal of breaking ground in March, and a tentative completion date in July.
Construction for a new track and stadium renovations would be funded directly from the district's fund balance and not from a bond issue. Because the money is in the bank, there would be no need to raise taxes. The project would be completely paid for with the fund balance.
“There's no reason not to move forward with this,” said Trustee Lisa Cottrell shortly before the vote was taken. “This is a wise decision,” added Trustee Dion Corrales. “Do we really need it?” asked Trustee Rocio OÃ±ate. “Yes we do.”
Board members also approved the purchase of two new vehicles for the district that would cost between $38,000-$50,000. Mr.Puig explained that although the district's vehicles were
in running condition, they've exceeded well over 100,000 miles, and may not be as trustworthy on the road as they were when the vehicles were newer.
Prior to the vote for this agenda item, Ms. Cottrell emphasized that the district had been “frugal” with its money, and that the vehicles were a need and not a want.
In other action, trustees:
* approved TASB Policy Update 98
* approved the purchase of a new school bus that would cost between $100,000 – $200,000
* approved the sale of a lot to Alfredo Federico for $4,560
* approved seeking new bids for E-Cycle 17
* approved consolidation of Junior High/Activity and Campus Funds into Secondary/High School Activity Funds.