The Hays CISD board of trustees reconvened Thursday night. Here's what they discussed:
1. Joint Hays CISD and YMCA natatorium approved
After months of debate, the HCISD board of trustees approved the joint Hays CISD and YMCA natatorium 4-2 with one abstention.
HCISD will contribute $5 million to the future construction of the natatorium that includes a 10-lane swimming pool.
During the meeting, several residents, including students on the swim team and previous YMCA members, spoke in favor of the natatorium. Hays County Justice of Peace Scott Cary encouraged the board to approve the natatorium, describing his time at the YMCA and the benefits it could give the community.
Several speakers also spoke against the pool. One speaker told the board of trustees that if the district could not afford a 3 percent salary increase for teachers and are entering the school year with a $3.4 million deficit, then that the district could not afford a $5 million pool.
Trustees Esperanza Orosco, Vanessa Petrea and Teresa Tobias thought the pool was good concept, but said with budget struggles and school issues, such as faculty staffing and two school on the Texas Education Agency Improvement Required list, this was a bad time for funding the natatorium.
Trustees Bert Bronaugh and Petrea said if this baseball or football they were talking, they would not be debating if a new place to practice was needed.
"We either need to not have this [swim] program or do right by our kids. I'm sure we spend more on other athletics," Petrea said.
Trustees Bronaugh, Holly Raymond, Petrea and Willie Tenorio voted to approve the future pool while Tobias and Orosco voted against it. Trustee Merideth Keller abstained.
The pools will be located at the YMCA's proposed Camp Cypress in Buda and hopes to open in fall 2018.
2. Budget and tax rate approved
The board of trustees also approved a $159.9 million Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget with a $3.4 million deficit during its meeting tonight.
The school district is covering its deficit by pulling $1.6 million from its savings account.
The district will be maintain its total tax rate of $1.54 per $100 valuation, which has not increased in the last four years.
According to the HCISD board of trustees, 86 percent of the approved $159.9 million budget will go to staff and faculty salaries, which HCISD Public Information Officer Tim Savoy said was in hopes attracting additional teachers and staff members with competitive salaries.
Teachers, nurses, counselors, librarians and auxiliary staff will receive a 2 percent raise.
The budget does include minor budget cut, however Savoy said the cuts will not have a huge impact on students and staff.
“Any time you have a budget cut, it translates to a cut in some type of service that will affect students and staff. We believe these cuts will have the least impact on our students—that is the cut to the central office-level, non-fixed cost department budgets,” he said.