Concern, confusion over Edinburg CISD, UTRGV collegiate high school memorandum

dfwnewsa | January 12, 2024 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News

Concern, confusion over Edinburg CISD, UTRGV collegiate high school memorandum

EDINBURG — In a school board meeting Tuesday, the Edinburg school district Board of Trustees discussed the details of a memorandum of understanding with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley regarding a down-the-middle split of cost for a collegiate high school.

UTRGV and the school district signed that memorandum on March 23, 2022 in support of the development and implementation of a collegiate high school.

The memorandum states the total project will cost approximately $30 million which is to be evenly distributed between the school district and the university.

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The UTRGV ECISD Collegiate High School, off of Freddy Gonzalez and Highway 281, broke ground in November 2022 and will focus on academic pathways in areas of education, engineering, computer science and health professions.

An item on the school board’s agenda on Tuesday drew criticism and concern over what is specifically split in the high school costs in the memorandum.

It was regarding the approval to purchase network, wireless and electrical backup hardware and software carrying a cost of $431,574.71.

Board President Carmen Gonzalez asked if the purchase was to be split and Eduardo Moreno, assistant superintendent for Technology Services, said the cost will be 100% on the district.

“These are things we want for our students but what happened to the so-called 50% (split) of everything?” Gonzalez said.

Victor Gomez, district engineer, said the split in the memorandum is specific to construction costs and that the internet infrastructure is the school district’s responsibility.

The memorandum states UTRGV and the district will each be responsible for paying up to $15 million of the anticipated total project costs.

The Edinburg CISD administration building is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy: Edinburg CISD/Facebook)

It includes construction costs, design and project administration costs, other soft costs such as consultant/surveyor fees, insurance costs, inspection fees, furniture, fixtures, equipment, landscaping, moving costs and contingency costs for unforeseen circumstances that arise during construction.

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Gomez told the board they can look at items that UTRGV may be using and try to recoup some costs on that.

“These are things that should have been preplanned,” Vice President Xavier Salinas said. “Yes, we’re doing $15 million each but we also need infrastructure, hardware … everything that we need.”

Asked if there’s an urgency to approve this item, Gomez said it is something that needs to be started.

Trustee Leticia “Letty” Garcia brought up how UTRGV staff will be using the building and its internet infrastructure, asking why shouldn’t it be a part of the split of costs.

“If we’re going 50/50 on furniture that they’ll be using and that our students will be using well this should fall under that same (agreement),” Garcia said.

Gomez said they will have to define items that UTRGV will be using and not using.

Garcia asked for a detailed itemized report of what costs are being split by ECISD and UTRGV and what is being paid fully by the school district for the next board meeting.

The board voted to move the agenda item for its next board meeting and Gonzalez hopes to have friendly conversation with UTRGV officials regarding what is being split.

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