AG hosts health fair, open house
Alba-Golden school was teeming with visitors last Tuesday. The campus hosted a late afternoon elementary school open house and combined it with a health fair. At the conclusion of the events, …
AG hosts health fair, open house
Alba-Golden school was teeming with visitors last Tuesday. The campus hosted a late afternoon elementary school open house and combined it with a health fair. At the conclusion of the events, Superintendent Cole McClendon conducted a public forum regarding the upcoming bond election.
An unofficial count of visitors to the open house and health fair would put the number in the hundreds. The health fair was a first-time event and was staged by school nurses Jill Boykin, LVN, and Natalie Fortner, RN.
Boykin reported that 27 vendors participated in the health fair. The event featured information about services – such as those offered by the Family and Youth Success Program – to free haircuts courtesy of Guys and Dolls of Alba.
A tour of the elementary school classrooms with Principal Kevin Wright highlighted the present need for the new elementary school wing.
“You can see we are completely maxed out on space,” Wright said. He gestured to the amount of material in the computer lab which also serves as the gifted and talented classroom and the robotics lab.
“Every possible reconfiguration and repurposing we could do to maximize available space has been done,” he stated. “We simply need more square footage.”
That dilemma is at the core of the $16 million bond proposal.
As McClendon amplified at the public forum, “We do everything we possibly can to retain the 15-16 students per class ratio. But, at some point, unless we provide more classrooms, the number of students per class will be forced to increase. We view a small student-to-teacher ratio as the key element to our school’s continued success.”
As if on cue, the teachers and students of Alba-Golden Elementary School this year provided proof of the quality of education at the school. Alba-Golden Elementary won first place in the UIL district academic competition.
During the public forum, McClendon stepped through the process behind the bond proposal as well as the needs and requirements for each of the three parts of the project: the elementary school addition, the construction of a competition gymnasium and renovations to the career and technology education center.
The need for a new gym is easy to understand as the school has simply already out-grown the present one. McClendon detailed more rationale for pursuing a new gymnasium, but the need is obvious.
The career and technology center work is aimed to do two things: renovate the shop areas to bring them all to proper safety standards and to provide added space to facilitate trade certifications.
After a brief presentation, McClendon fielded questions from the audience. He was asked to explain the status of the district’s present fund balance and how much of the fund balance is proposed to go toward project construction.
He stated that the fund balance – approximately $6 million – is mandated to be kept at certain levels by the state. The fund balance is insufficient to finance the needed improvements. He added that the school board has communicated its intent to contribute $1 million toward the career technology center renovations.
The next question was regarding the duration of the loan. Although the exact terms (interest rates and life of the loan) will not be set until the day of the signing, it was expected that the bond would mature at the 25-year mark.
The final query was about the future growth and school infrastructure. McClendon explained that the present proposal allows for the continued accommodation of students at current levels. Future growth projections are not met by this bond proposal. He explained that meeting current requirements is a prerequisite to meeting future requirements.
The district has installed a tax-impact calculator on the website www.alba-goldenbond2022.org. District residents can go to that website, enter the appraised value of their property and see the tax impact of the bond.
McClendon closed the session by committing to respond to future questions directly. He provided his email, email@example.com, and stated that all questions he receives will also be posted with appropriate answers on the school webpage.
Early voting is set for April 25-May 3. Election Day is Saturday, May 7.