Thursday, March 21, 2019
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Sharyland-LogoDespite having a “tight” budget that forced the Sharyland school board of trustees to only give a one percent pay increase to teachers-half of what they’ve received in the last three years-Sharyland trustees approved the purchase of an $800,000 LED scoreboard to replace the one at Sharyland High School’s Richard Thompson Stadium.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, officials stressed the need for a new scoreboard and said the district is only committed to a fraction of the $800,000.

“The existing scoreboard has been here for more than 10 years and they don’t make parts for it anymore,” exiting district Superintendent Robert O’Connor said Tuesday.
“There’s no option besides going out for another scoreboard and the board made the right choice in waiting until we had sponsors to pay for it.”

During a presentation, the district’s Director of Maintenance Mark Dougherty said the district will work with the South Dakota-based manufacturing company Daktronics to make the new scoreboard. The district is committed to pay $200,000 for the scoreboard and will pay off the total amount in a five-year payment plan.

The remaining $600,000 will come from a dozen committed sponsors-such as Plains Capital Bank, El Patio Mexican Restaurant and Chick-fil-A- who each have a three-year commitment plan with the district.

“We waited and waited to ensure we had the necessary funds for the scoreboard and feel comfortable moving forward with it,” O’Connor said. “Waiting for the sponsorships pushed the timeline a bit late but we’re being good stewards to the tax paying community by waiting for these funds.”

Dougherty said the old scoreboard will be completely torn down to make way for the new one, which will be completely digital and bigger than the current scoreboard. A date for when the scoreboard will be ready has yet to be finalized.

“We anticipate using a temporary scoreboard for at least the first two games of the upcoming football season,” Dougherty said. “It’s a project that will take us all summer to complete.”

The district also approved a pay increase across the district for all district employees, with teachers seeing the biggest increase.

District teachers will see a $500 increase-or a one percent increase-making the district’s new starting pay for teachers $46,750. Administrative professionals, clerical and auxiliary workers, meanwhile, will see a one percent of pay range midpoint increase.

The total estimated cost of the salary increases is $727,927.

O’Connor mentioned the board has been given two percent pay raises in the last three years but unfortunately, it could not happen again this year.

“It’s always been about giving pay raises as much as we can but... without student growth or more money from the state, the budget is going to get tighter every year, O’Connor said. “It’s unfortunate but we’re glad this is the fourth year in a row that we’re able to give something back to the community.”

Maria Vidaurri, the district’s new superintendent, was at the meeting Tuesday, marking it her first one as the new superintendent. She said the pay increase will ultimately let district employees feel appreciated regardless.

“Anytime you can give a little bit to show your appreciation to the teachers and staff is excellent,” Vidaurri said. “There may be those times when you can’t but we certainly want to tell teachers and administrators we thank them for their job.”

The school board also approved a date for a hearing for the proposed district budget and tax rate for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The hearing will be held Monday, June 18, at 5:45 p.m. at the Sharyland High School Auditorium.