Real estate seemed to be on the minds of many attending Aledo ISDs first Brown Bag Lunch of the school year. Most specifically, the real estate that would occupy AISD’s fifth elementary school; and by a Nov. 1 deadline.
Superintendent Derek Citty addressed attendees Thursday at McAnally Intermediate on a variety of topics, but it was the location of the district’s next elementary school, drawing the most discussion.
“Our demographer, Templeton Demographics, for the first time recommended we consider shifting our focus,” Citty said. “They suggested, instead of building north, around the Walsh Ranch area - where we’re going to be given a lot of school sites - to look back to the south.”
Citty said it made a lot of sense, based on the capacity of the campuses in the southern part of the district, to locate the new $28 million elementary school in the south as well.
“We’re reaching capacity at Vandagriff and Stuard already so it makes sense to at least consider the fifth elementary in the south.”
He said the biggest problem looking to the south wasn’t the procurement of the land, but was the lack of water and sewer infrastructure.
By contrast, Citty said that one of the problems building the campus in the north, would be redrawing the attendance lines.
“I’ve been through this before and its not a pleasant process,” Citty added. “No body leaves happy.”
Citty said it will be a long discussion, one that the district would have many times, over the next few decades.
“Our demographer predicted this year we’d have 5170 students,” he said. “At the start of the school year we had 5,251, up by approximately 80 students.”
Citty fielded questions from technology in the classroom, to crosswalks, and the use of portable buildings. But it was statements by Arlene Chapin, regarding the district tax rate, that was most on her mind.
“I want everybody here to understand this tax increase pays off debt - it doesn’t go towards teachers salaries,” Chapin said. “There’s nothing about this tax rate, this...17 percent that helps teachers or students.”
Chapin said if the [district] was in the position where they had to raise taxes 17 percent, along with property values that have gone up, maybe it was time to start looking at cutting extra curricular activities.
Citty asked which ones would she cut?
“I wouldn’t be opposed to a 25 percent across the board cut in all extra curricular activities,” she said. “You’re taxing people right out of this community.”
The next Brown Bag Luncheons are:
▪ Sept. 16 – Coder Elementary School
▪ Sept. 22 – Stuard Elementary School
▪ Oct. 1 – Vandagriff Elementary School