Board authorizes administration to secure funding for School of Health Professions
The Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees, during its regular meeting Tuesday night, authorized the district’s administration to move forward in securing funds for a School of Health Professions that could open as early as 2014.
HCISD would fund the $13.9 million project through the Qualified School Construction Bonds program. This program allows school districts to obtain interest-free or very low interest financing. The School district would pay these bonds through its maintenance and operations budget.
The new 500-600 student high school would feature a curriculum geared towards placing students on career paths for medical professions including doctors, nurses and medical technicians. The school would serve students in proposed grades 8 - 12.
"HCISD's commitment to our students and community is that we remain the leader for this region, state and nation,” Board President Dr. Cesar Maldonado said. “The School of Health Professions will help provide a valuable service to our city and region as we work to add more highly skilled and better prepared employees into the local health care industry. The progress of our regional economy is contingent upon how well we prepare students for high paying and demanding careers. Being able to add that kind of value, while being responsible to tax payers, is an extraordinary opportunity for this district.”
The School of Health Professions would also add student capacity at the two comprehensive high schools, which is currently 2,400 students respectively, further alleviating over-crowding.
With the addition of the 1,400 student capacity at the Ninth Grade Academy, set to open in August 2013, the School of Health Professions will allow the district to deter building a third comprehensive high school for 20 years, based on growth patterns. A comprehensive high school could cost as much as $80 million.
HCISD also hopes to partner with the local medical community in order to provide work study, job shadowing and real world experiences for the students in the School of Health Professions.
“Our district’s leadership team, from our board to our staff, is committed to transforming our schools,” Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores said. “Transformation can only come about with bold change. We understand that parents have choices for their children’s education. We continue to assure our parents that the best choice for their child’s education is the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District. Our district is committed to meeting the needs of our parents, students, staff and community. This program will be a win for tax payers who will get value with no additional tax increase; for our local economy, which will gain a more skilled workforce; and for our students and families, who will have more opportunity to obtain a higher quality of life.”
The Texas Education Agency notified HCISD in October 2011 that it was approved for $13.9 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds, a program created from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“Through the terms of this program, we are confident that HCISD’s construction needs will be fulfilled for the next 20 to 30 years," Flores said. "We will not have to utilize our fund balance, which will remain strong through the uncertainty from the state in future budget cuts. We are confident this high school will become a model for our state and nation.”
Between 2001 and 2010, the education and health industries grew 11,400 jobs, 55 percent, in the Harlingen-Brownsville Municipal Statistical Area, according to the 2011 Labor Market Report by Tech Prep RGV. With 32,000 total jobs, education and health are also the largest industry in the MSA.
“As the medical hub of the Valley, we feel this is the best use of these available funds for serving our students and families,” said Dr. Arturo Cavazos, deputy superintendent for transformation and school support. “This school will be about developing the skills necessary for our students to be successful in the 21st century, specifically the health profession. As the medical industry grows in Harlingen, so do the high paying careers that we want our graduates to be able to obtain.”
Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, disability, or any other legally protected status in employment or provision of services, programs, or activities. View Nondiscrimination Policy English/Spanish
El distrito escolar de Harlingen no discrimina en base a raza, color, origen de nacionalidad, edad, religión, sexo, discapacidad, o cualquier otro estado legalmente protegido en el empleo o en la prestación de servicios, programas o actividades.