The 25-person committee researched enrollment growth, past bond construction, current facilities and possible financing methods before coming to their decision.
Eddie Montalvo, the chairperson for the committee, presented the findings of the committee at a recent board meeting, explaining their decision to petition the board for a bond election was unanimous.
The decision was primarily based on enrollment trends during the last several years throughout the state, county and district.
“High school enrollments across the state and here in the Rio Grande Valley, in comparison to that of Sharyland, show that the time to build is now,” said Montalvo.
The district already owns property where a second high school could be built. District officials said a school could be built off of 6 ½ Mile Line and Shary roads.
The enrollment at Sharyland High School (SHS) is expected to be over 3,100 this year. Due to the growth in the area, projected enrollment numbers could be as high as 3,600 before a second high school is built.
The district has 9,805 students enrolled so far compared to 9,544 at this time last year. SHS peaked at 2,998 students last year. Superintendent Scott Owings said he could see the district reaching at least 10,200 students before the end of the year. Last year the district had just over 10,000 students enrolled.
Montalvo said there would be benefits for students, families, teachers and the institution as a whole. Benefits included better attendance, retention, behavior, increased participation, more commitment, safer schools and better support for staff and students.
The committee, in asking for a second high school, would also generate the support of the community to get the bond approved in November’s election.
“Our students in this community can’t afford to postpone this need any longer,” said Montalvo.
The SISD board will vote on the issue Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at SISD’s Administration Building.
“We’re on board,” Dr. Noe Oliveira, SISD board vice-president said.
Other board members echoed their support.
“We were under the feeling that we needed a second high school and we wanted to get input from other leaders in the community…and help us sell this new idea,” said board member Fernando Ramirez.
The committee is expected to meet again Monday. The meeting is open to the public.
“All the input I consider from community members is very valuable,” said Dr. Noel Garza, board member. “In this case all the committee members are all valuable members of our community.”
Garza also asked Montalvo if finances were presented and discussed in the committee’s decision making process. Montalvo assured Garza and the board that Jesse Muñiz, assistant superintendent for business and finance, presented financials. All viable options of financing the new high school were also considered, said Montalvo.
“Your committee is going to put a mark on the historical landscape of Sharyland,” said Longoria. “As we’ve grown over the decades, we’ve now reached the point…to now move on to two high schools.”
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