By: David A. Diaz
Publication: Edinburg Politics
Dr. Francisco Guajardo is the chairman of the Bond Oversight Committee, a citizens advisory panel which is working with the Edinburg School Board on the best ways to implement the construction plans for new campuses authorized by the May 10 passage of almost $112 million in bonds.
His remarks, which follow, were delivered before the Edinburg school board during its public comment forum at the beginning of the Tuesday, June 10 regular meeting of the school board.
I would like to give a quick report to the community about the recent goings-on with the Bond Oversight Committee.
We have engaged in one workshop with this board, where we had a very good discussion on the plan of action and the timeline that we have done to develop.
We also did a workshop, with certain people on the Bond Oversight Committee, at Region One on bond construction, and everything that is involved in that. What I have to report to the community is that the Bond Oversight Committee is becoming more and more educated about this.
I am also happy to report the school board and the school district administration have been good listeners, to us, as we have encouraged the board and the administration to pursue certain options.
What I mean by that, specifically, is that we are now at a point where the school district needs to decide how all these projects of more than $111 million will be managed.
The conversations have been about whether the school district has the capacity, internally, to undertake such a big project of $111,900,000? We have been studying that. We are not sure that the school district has the capacity to do that.
If the school district does not have that capacity, what alternative paths do we take?
We know, from having studied the issue during the last couple of months, that there is the “McAllen Model”. McAllen, as you know, passed a very large bond issue several years ago, and hired a construction management firm. With a construction management firm, McAllen, in the end, will be on time and on budget. So, that is a model that is actually desirable, and the Bond Oversight Committee has urged the board and the administration to look very carefully at that model as a way to go.
We know that the school district, the board, the Facilities Committee, and the administration has been looking at other options, such as bring in somebody, and staffing the office of that somebody, who would be uniquely qualified to lead such an effort. The Bond Oversight Committee is not completely convinced that is the the most effective way to go, although we are certainly willing to listen to what that possibility would be like.
That is where we are at the moment. We did encourage the school board, the Facilities Committee, and the administration to move on sending out a request for qualifications for a construction management firm. The school district has done its due diligence, and actually has a draft proposal already that will be reviewed by the Facilities Committee, the rest of the board, and the Bond Oversight Committee.
There will be other communications methods that will be employing, such as a web page within the school district’s web site, and so that is in the process of development.
We also will be publishing a story in the next Educationally Speaking newsletter published by the school district, and we also be having an ad in the local newspaper sometime soon.
My report to the community is that things are moving swiftly, I think. This kind of project, we cannot rush through it too fast, because it is too big, too much responsibility, we have to be thoughtful and cautious with our work.
We will be posting when we meet, the Bond Oversight Committee. The next meeting that we have will be on June 25, and we will meet here in this room (Board Room, Administration Building).
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