San Marcos CISD Superintendent Patty Shafer, left, Trustee David Chiu, center, and Trustee Judy Allen, right. Photo by Sean Batura.
By SEAN BATURA
San Marcos CISD representatives of the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) raised opposition this week to the school board’s plan to purchase the old McCoy’s Corporation headquarters for use as administrative offices.
TSTA San Marcos Chapter Vice President Rebecca Kroener told trustees at Monday’s school board meeting that the district should not spend millions on projects that do not directly affect the quality of student education. Kroener said the district should not initiate projects at the expense of budgeting future teacher salary increases and increased funding for classroom supplies.
“Forty percent of the teachers in the state of Texas have to have a second job during the school year — not during the summertime, but while school is going on,” Kroener said. “The average teacher spends about 15 hours a week outside of class on school-related work … In San Marcos specifically, we had a 26 percent turnover last year. In this economy there wasn’t any place to go to, because nobody was hiring. So the fact that we still had 26 percent of our staff turnover was pretty amazing. We have been averaging about 25 percent for the past four years. Those are teachers. The administration (staff) turnover is a lot lower.”
The old McCoy’s Corporation headquarters consists of a 13,861-square-foot building and a 32,414-square-foot structure. The buildings are located on a 5.14-acre tract at 1200 Interstate-35.
“We’ve got administration at five different sites,” said San Marcos CISD Trustees President Kathy Hansen. “And I think it’s very important, if we can afford it, to have them at one site. And that’s what we’re looking at possibly doing.”
McCoy’s initial asking price for the property is $2.775 million, said Michael Abild, San Marcos CISD assistant superintendent for business and support services. In executive session on Monday, trustees discussed the possibility of offering less than the asking price, said Abild. The Hays Central Appraisal District (HCAD) assessed the property’s value at $1,478,800, which includes $283,680 for land and $1,195,120 for improvements. Trustees will likely make a counter-offer that exceeds the value assessed by HCAD.
Trustees have designated $15 million from the school district’s $23 million fund balance for construction purposes in order to shelter the funds from possible tampering by the Texas Legislature. The school district’s total amount designated for construction is $20 million, which includes the aforementioned reserves, remaining bond funds, and the proceeds of property sales.
Hansen said the district’s plans to acquire the old McCoy’s Corporation headquarters for use as an administrative complex would benefit students.
“I think education includes not just what happens in the classroom, but all the people that do support those teachers so they can do the jobs that they do,” Hansen said.
Hansen said properties currently used for district administrative offices can be sold if the district’s offices are consolidated in one location. Another option is for trustees to offer the properties for lease. Hansen said her preference would be to sell the properties and thus put them back on the tax rolls.
“We do rent facilities, but not to companies that are for-profit,” Hansen said.
Kroener said San Marcos CISD ranks ninth or tenth in teacher compensation among 12 nearby school districts.
Without increasing the property tax rate, trustees increased salaries for teachers in this year’s budget. In this year’s budget, educators receive an additional $1,200 added to each year of their 2009-2010 salary schedule, with beginning teachers starting at $40,600.
TSTA San Marcos Chapter President Susan Seaton attended the school board meeting and asked trustees to “slow down” before approving any projects not related to educational facilities.
“Our contention is to make sure this $15 million is going to directly impact the students of our district,” Seaton said.
Monday, trustees authorized $29,996 in reserve funds for additional school supplies for Hernandez and Mendez Elementary Schools. Hansen said the two campuses had recently “started from scratch” and did not have the same materials in established campuses.
“We thought we’d given them enough before, but when we actually went back and did an inventory, there were items missing,” Hansen said. “So we want to bring them up so all the elementaries look the same.”
On Monday, Hansen said she received no complaints from teachers regarding classroom supplies.
“There’s always going to be teachers that want more,” Hansen said. “But whether they actually need more — and teachers purchase what they feel like they want. Being a teacher for 30-some-odd years, I did the same thing. But it was things that I wanted. I always felt like I had things that I needed. If I wanted something extra in my classroom, then yeah, I felt like it was part of my job to buy it.”Email | Print