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20120420_MissionCISD_two_color_BIGMISSION — Trustees for the Mission Consolidated Independent School District voted to spread remaining funds from a 2008 bond over a number of projects, including the aging agriculture facility and the newly approved Early College High School.

The 2008 bond money, which included construction of a new elementary school for $15 million, has been divided up for different urgent needs in the district after the construction for a new school was no longer needed. Already, the district has reallocated $10 million for major renovations at Mission High School. Before beginning this project, MCISD must first tell the Texas Education Agency what it plans to do with the remaining funds.

The facilities bond oversight committee met recently decided to tackle items that had already been on the drawing board. Those projects include the new heating and air system at Cantu Elementary and the enclosure of Leal, Cantu, Mims and O’Grady elementaries. The total estimate cost of these projects is $3.5 million.

That leaves the district with almost $2.1 million.

While a few board members and bond oversight committee members said they’d rather fund the ag building renovations, others, including Superintendent Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez, asked the group to consider funding construction efforts for the ECHS.

“It’s a difficult decision to meet every need, but we should try to fund ECHS,” he said, adding that MCISD is lagging behind other districts by not having the program.

Board President James Olivarez suggested the board split the money evenly, but Gonzalez said $1 million wasn’t enough to fund ECHS if that same amount was being used for school enclosures.

“Shouldn’t the Early College High School have a higher value,” the superintendent asked.

In the interim, ECHS will be housed at Veterans Memorial High School, but once the program grows, district administrators said they’d need a place to house the students and administrators for the program. This week, the board also OK’d a feasibility study for the construction of the school.

Olivarez said the $1 million estimate might not be used entirely for the ag building, but Rick Rivera, the executive director for maintenance, facilities and construction pointed out that the estimate could be accurate for a $700,000 construction effort. The remaining funds would be used for different fees associated with the construction.

The board ultimately decided to allocate $700,000 for the ag building and the remaining $1.3 million to the ECHS. Should the district need more money for the project, administrators will have to approach the board for additional funding, Gonzalez explained.

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