Superintendent Lance Johnson informed the Waren ISD board of an opportunity available from the federal government to borrow $750,000. These QSAP Funds can be borrowed at a very low interest rate of around .6% and have little or no accountability attached to it, meaning the money can be used for a wide variety of projects within the district. With 15 years to pay back this loan, it will help to keep current yearly budgets balanced while allowing the district to move forward with much needed improvements and upgrades. A portion of these funds will be used to dramatically increase technology into each classroom.
"I believe that the district must take the focus away from teaching to a test and move toward more rigor in the classroom," says Johnson. "We are no longer in a 'sit and get' teaching environment. Students are using technology daily and we must incorporate that into the classroom."
Johnson explained in an email to the Booster, "The Warren ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to pursue a QZAB (Qualified Zone Academy Bond) in the amount of $750,000. This bond is a federal program distributed through the Texas Education Agency, and is available to school districts at sub 1 interest rates and will be repaid through their maintenance and operations fund.
"The money to repay this bond is already in the budget. This program will allow the district to maintain the integrity of its fund balance while taking care of some academic and facility needs. After Warren ISD is approved for the program, the Board of Trustees will vote to issue the bond. We are anticipating this vote at the August board meeting. The areas the Board has decided to allocate these funds are technology infrastructure, technology materials, Warren ISD athletic stadium, and other instructional program improvements. The Board also voted to refurbish the stadium bleachers for $97,000 to include replacing all wooden boards with aluminum. The funds to pay for this project will come from the QZAB at satisfactory completion. Our goal is to have the bleachers completed by the first home Friday night game on Sept. 14."
The board approved a recommendation from Mr. Johnson to immediately begin the work, which will cost approximately $100,000. LMS Restoration, a North Texas company, will come in and clean all the existing aluminum and remove all the old wood from the stands and bleachers. This wood will be replaced with new aluminum planks. The company will also clean and repaint all the railings. The board was assured that this work will be done in time for the first home football game on September 14th.
In other business, the board approved to hold their Board of Trustee Election with Tyler County. The names of those seeking a seat on the Warren ISD School Board will be included on the county ballot as well, making it more convenient for citizens to vote.
The next regular Warren ISD board meeting will be held on August 28, 2012.