MCISD approves Tom Landry scoreboard project funding

Dr. Carol Perez was adamant on Wed. that no taxpayer money would be used to fund a new scoreboard for Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium.

This week, the Mission Consolidated Board of Trustees met for a regular meeting. In it, they discussed the scoreboard project, which is estimated to cost $1.6 million.

The item was presented by Assistant Superintendent for Finance Rumalda Ruiz. Ruiz and staff recommended that the funding come from internal finance (the general fund), and that it was the most beneficial option.

“We’ve been discussing this project for a couple of months already,” Ruiz said. “We don’t have to worry about any IRS compliance issues, we have leverage in obtaining additional discounts once we go through a procurement process to get the price for the project.”

Ruiz also added that the general fund balance is strong and can withstand the cost of the scoreboard.

“From ‘17-18 to ‘18-19 we had 153 days available of cash on hand, and that increased to 160 days,” Ruiz said. “That’s very close to six months of having enough cash to cover us.”  

Ruiz said that the Texas Education Agency recommends a district has two months of backup, and a financial advisor recommends three. Additionally, Ruiz and Perez spoke about the inclusion of advertisers, who will recoup the costs of the scoreboard project over the next ten years.

“The intent of administration is to replenish the $1.6 million over ten years, which is the average life of the scoreboard, through advertising revenues,” Ruiz said.

The Tom Landry Hall of Fame Stadium Scoreboard Project will include a new LED video panel, sponsor panels and an improved sound system. Ruiz said the project will be beneficial to district students.

“We already have a line of people to advertise,” Perez said.

Board member Petra Ramirez asked if they would be implementing a 10-year contract with advertisers to ensure all the funds be replenished in time. Ruiz said that when they last tried that in 2010, the only group willing to agree to a ten-year contract was Mission Hospital.

“We are competing with other school districts, and they don’t want to commit that long,” Ruiz said. “The benefit that we have right now is that sponsors are reaching out to us rather than us reaching out to them. So the district has a competitive advantage that vendors are wanting to come to the stadium.”

Administration is earmarking $160,000 in advertising revenue from the scoreboard annually. Perez stressed that with hard work from administration, they have already begun securing advertising funding from companies throughout the area, and hope to regain all the expenditures in five years rather than ten.

“We want to make it very clear that no taxpayer funding will be used for this project, it will be dependent solely on advertising,” Perez said. “The sky is the limit on advertising, so we’re going to try and pay it in half of the time possibly. We’re really going to do a lot of legwork.”

The board approved the project funding unanimously. The old scoreboard parts will be sold in an auction.

Additionally, they approved an expansion of the Pre-K 3 program, which was implemented in select schools last year. MCISD will be expanding these services to all elementary campuses, and have included eligibility for the children of district employees.

Currently, the program serves children who have turned three or four by Sept. 1 of the current school year and meet the eligibility criteria established by TEA. 149 students are enrolled in the program right now over seven classrooms in the district.

MCISD has extended the eligibility for students of district employees who do not meet the criteria as an employee benefit.

Because of the socioeconomic standing of many MCISD families, it is difficult to find reliable childcare that is affordable. The district is hoping to serve the needs of the community at a wider level. 

This article originally appeared in the Friday Jan. 24, 2020 issue of the Progress Times.

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