San Marcos CISD to host April public hearing on potential land donation to El Centro


Residents will have an opportunity to tell the San Marcos CISD board of trustees how they feel about its potential donation of the old Bonham Elementary School campus to Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos, a nonprofit cultural center, on April 15.

The board voted 6-1, with trustee Kathy Hansen as the sole dissenting member, to schedule a public hearing to be held April 15 regarding the possible donation. Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos, also commonly known as El Centro, currently resides at the old Bonham Elementary building at 211 Lee St. in San Marcos.

The prospect of the donation comes as the board tries to garner a broader consensus on where to build a new central administration building ahead of its April vote on the matter.

Currently, the district pays $12,000 a month in rent for a temporary office space ever since it moved out of the original central administration building on S. LBJ Drive upon the discovery of mold.

At their Feb. 18 meeting, some trustees said they believe the board could decide on the site with a less divided board if they knew that El Centro would be unaffected by their decision.

Some board members fear that El Centro, which sits on part of the district property where the old administration building once stood, would be vulnerable to being sold by a future school board if the trustees choose not to build the new office on the same property.

The district is set to consider in April whether or not to rebuild the administration office on the S. LBJ Drive property or to build it on a vacant district property on the corner of Hunter Road and Suttles Drive.

Trustee Miguel Arredondo said he believes the vote would not be so split if some trustees knew that El Centro’s preservation would be ensured.

School districts are allowed to donate what is deemed as “surplus” property, according to Section 11.541 of the Texas Education Code.

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  1. So, these other trustee’s are okay with a gift of taxpayer funds? When do they draw the line of whom they are giving buildings away to? Centro is an important part of the community, but so are many other programs. Didn’t Miguel Arredondo recently claim in the Daily Record that Centro was a poorly run organization and he no longer wanted to be associated with it? Wonder what office he’s trying to run for now?

  2. The ISD should never give away anything; it should be selling for the highest price it can get and using the funds to do its JOB: educating. Just the idea to gift land is nuts.

  3. The building is the taxpayers of San Marcos and should not “donated” or be given away as surplus. There are other just as worthy nonprofits that should be given the opportunity. This is political theatre at its best! The Centro is a hub for the likes of the Democratic Party it has a entire room dedicated to LULAcC which is an arm of Planned Parenthood! It also only displays democratic propaganda like the league of women voters. Simply for the programs it runs art & music classes, and pictures of left leaning Latino leaders and a nicely done memorial for a founder it should be able to be function from only one room The entire building should not be given to them it should be divided amongst other cultural groups in the area such as gardening clubs, after school care , active senior groups, research center.
    The best home for all the pictures or art is at the
    Cuahetemoc hall they would fit nicely there. All in all the property is too valuable to just be considered surplus. We. are not a sustainable community if we
    give in to pressures of left or right. We always need to look at things fiscally first and then fairness and heartstrings last. The Centro simply cannot continue to run as it i has very one sided . Racism stops when you want it to. Everyone has a past so hold on to the best of it (no one is asking you to forget )but the
    future is now and the worst thing about it is the worst organization that promotes to keep mainly Mexican Americans ,African Americans etc. down is Planned Parenthood and LULAC works for them and they have a designated meeting room in your building! So what gives? Wake up! The local Catholic Church would not agree to be any part of this. They simply did not ask if members are pro-abortion if your going to church, you naturally would be in the same belief as the church! It seems there are many that feel there is an option. There is not! The church is always for LIFE! The TRUE FAITH of the church never lies with the people’s actions or lousy “choice”.
    Virgin Mary portrait is surely weeping to know the
    room next door is a meeting place for such an
    organization. Stop the oppression on your own
    people. People step up! Don’t be afraid!

  4. Magdalena O. Villanueva

    INDEED! there are many other programs needing financial assistance; but how many FREE programs can we name that actually render services to low income families, unwed mothers, etc. It is sad that we have become an egotistical society by thinking ONLY about monetary issues; instead of focusing on the wellbeing of our entire society.
    I’m surprised Ms. Hansen voted against the potential donation of the old Bonham Elementary School – she is a former Wimberley TX resident and completely aware of the increased Hispanic population in Central Texas, who need our moral and intellectual support. The Hispanics, Senior Citizens, and ALL NEEDY people have received FREE EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS from CENTRO’S programs. As a consequence, in the future, all of them will be contributors to our State’s economy by earning decent salaries utilizing their new learned skills.
    The Centro is managed by VOLUNTEERS and sustained by public donations. Juan Miguel Arredondo’s opinion about a poorly run organization might be based on his short-term participation as a Volunteer Board Member of El Centro. If you want an entity to succeed, you have to invest all necessary time and efforts to make it so. A perfect example would be the late Mrs. Ofelia Vasquez-Philo who dedicated many years of her life encouraging low income families to IMPROVE THEIR EDUCATION AND GETTING INVOLVED in all issues concerning our population as a whole.

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Anna Herod
Anna Herod covers local government, education, business and the environment for the San Marcos and Hays County communities. Born and raised in Texas, Anna moved from North Texas to San Marcos in 2014 where she has been covering local news ever since. Her bylines have appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, Hays Free Press and The Burleson Star. She is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
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