March 7, 2018

Volume 1, Issue 8

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

Good afternoon LISD,

LISD voters will soon be heading to the polls to cast their votes in the 2018 LISD Bond Election. The proposition calls for $150.7M to be used for construction of Cigarroa High School, a completely new Cigarroa Middle School and the construction and/or renovation of the Nixon High School Vocational Building, and ROTC Building. If approved, the bond will also include a Martin High School Science/Multi-Purpose Building, new construction at Ligarde, Kawas, and Dovalina Elementary Schools, and land acquisition for Cigarroa Middle School. Contingent upon available funding, LISD may also be able to complete the construction of the District's Administration Building and a renovated Nixon Athletic Weight Facility.

A comprehensive review of the current condition of our existing facilities, the instructional needs of our students and possible funding sources have been extensively considered in contemplating a bond election. Thus, to take full advantage of the state's existing debt allotment available to Districts seeking to construct facilities, LISD has chosen to conduct its bond election this spring. It is important to emphasize that if approved by LISD voters, approximately 70% of the bond construction program costs will be paid by the State of Texas while the remaining 30% will be paid by LISD.

To further clarify the positive impact of this financing opportunity, the State of Texas will fund approximately $105,000,000 of the bond while LISD will assume approximately $45,000,000 of the debt incurred for the construction projects previously mentioned. Moreover, taxpayers, 65 years of age and older, with a homestead exemption will not be affected.

It is also important to note that all registered voters living in LISD are eligible to vote in this bond election. Early voting begins April 23 and continues through May 1, 2018. Our Bond Election Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 5, 2018. (Please see visit the LISD Bond Election Webpage.) Bond project presentations are currently underway at all LISD schools and at several community organizations. We encourage everyone to attend these informative meetings to learn more about the proposed construction projects. Specifically, we have scheduled a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, April 16th a 5:30 p.m. in the Meeting Rooms of the Jesus Martinez Performing Arts Center to present the bond election proposal, along with other important topics for our parents and families.

Congratulations to the Nixon and Cigarroa girls' and the Nixon and Martin boys' basketball teams for representing LISD and Laredo in the UIL State playoffs. The Nixon Lady Mustangs, who were the undefeated District Champions of District 31-5A defeated Brownsville Pace to earn their Bi-District Championship. The Lady Mustangs also secured their first Area Championship by defeating Corpus Christi Ray. The Lady Mustangs were also Regional Quarterfinal qualifiers. The Cigarroa Lady Toros had a great season and were Bi-District qualifiers. The Nixon boys' basketball team were the District 31-5A champions, while the Martin boys' basketball team was the District 31-5A runners up. The Martin Tigers were Bi-District and Area Champions. The Tigers were also Regional qualifiers for the second consecutive year. The Mustangs earned the Bi-District and Area Championship. The Mustangs defeated Brownsville Pace in Regional Quarterfinals and Austin LBJ in Regional Semifinals to reach the Elite 8 for the second time in three years. The Mustangs finished the season as Regional Finalists. It truly was a great season for Laredo ISD basketball teams.

Read Across America Week was celebrated with a proclamation ceremony and Family Reading Night at all of our elementary schools. Mayor Pete Saenz and County Judge Tano Tijerina read the proclamation and took the time to read to our little ones. Guest readers dropped by our schools to share their favorite books with their young audiences. Joining me as guest readers throughout the district were LISD Board members, local elected officials, media celebrities, LISD administrators, and members of the Princess Pocahontas Court. Reading supports cognitive development, improves language skills, and prepares our students for academic success. I thank our guest readers and LISD's librarians for making Family Reading Night a big success.

I would like to thank the Laredo Commission for Women for naming me to their 2018 Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held last Sunday at La Posada and it was a pleasure to have my family in attendance. It's an honor to be inducted alongside Yolanda Gutierrez Garcia, Sandra Cavazos Ayala, Olga Gentry, Melissa Joy Hinojosa Garcia, Sister Maria Luisa Vera, Carolyn Leyendecker, and Viviana Lee Frank. The Commission is the brainchild of LISD Board member, Dr. Cecilia Moreno, who brought the idea to the City in 1994, after serving on the Texas Governor's Commission for Women. The City of Laredo Commission for Women promotes equality in legal, social, political, economic, and educational opportunity and advancement for all women in our community.

The recent threats of school violence have caused disruptions in campuses all over the country. Rest assured that the safety of all LISD students and staff is a priority for our district. With this being said, every threat is investigated thoroughly. LISD will hold accountable those involved in any hoax, joke, or prank that jeopardizes the safety of all. The LISD Police Department has partnered with all community law enforcement agencies to deter any disruption to the delivery of quality instruction. More importantly, I urge all of our staff to be vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity or threat to campus administrators or legal authorities. If you see something, say something.

This morning, the Laredo ISD Board of Trustees, dedicated the C.L. Milton Elementary School Early Childhood Center in honor of Mrs. Minerva Perez Casarez. Mrs. Casarez began her teaching career in 1974 at Ryan Elementary School. She continued teaching at Milton Elementary School until she retired in 2016. The ceremony was filled with family members and former colleagues of Mrs. Perez Casarez. Congratulations to Mrs. Casarez and all of her family.

Best wishes to the Martin and Nixon High Schools One Act Play (OAP) casts who are competing tonight in the District Contest in Mission. Both casts impressed the judges at last week's Zone Competition. MHS sponsor Daniel R. Castillo says they are performing scenes from "Cinderella Waltz." NHS sponsors Marco Gonzalez and Joe Flores say the Mustangs are staging "Peter and the Starcatcher."

We are saddened over the passing of Cigarroa High School teacher, Jacinto Castro., who passed away this week. We will always remember him for his enthusiasm in the classroom, his carefully planned Toro Legend ceremonies, and his genuine interest in the students of CHS. Mr. Castro had worked with LISD for 39 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Castro Family and his colleagues.

I would like to remind our employees that our Office of Communications will host their 8th annual "Bowl for Kids" Tournament for all LISD employees on Thursday, April 19, at 5:30 p.m. at Jett Bowl North. Entry fee is $150, which includes three games for a team of five, t-shirt, and an opportunity to win door prizes. I encourage all district campuses and departments to gather a team for this very important cause.

The days are getting warmer in South Texas and the wildflowers are springing up all around us. It's time for a well-deserved Spring Break for everyone at LISD. Go have fun with your friends and family. Get some fresh air and come back safe and sound ready for any challenges looming before us.

Best always,

Dr. Sylvia G. Rios

"What counts can't always be counted; what can be counted doesn't always count." -Albert Einstein

"Lo que cuenta, siempre puede ser contado; lo que se puede contar no siempre cuenta." - Albert Einstein



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