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Aledo ISD

AGC meets for final time before Board presentation


Monday, Jan. 23, marked the last meeting for the Aledo Growth Committee before presenting the final draft of their bond proposal to the board of trustees later in the week. According to AGC Co-Chairman Dan Reilley, the result of Monday’s meeting will be a thorough plan the group, which has met more than a dozen times since August of 2022, has collaborated on to ensure the short-term issues the district will encounter are addressed completely and responsibly.

“The plan [for Monday’s meeting] was to take all the information that we had and to come together with a packaged bond for May of 2023,” Reilley said. “Our hope was also to tackle our long-range plan over the next 10 to 12 years. With the discussion we had, which was extremely productive but also thorough; we didn’t even get to the long-range plan part of our planned meeting. We focused all our attention on making sure we had all our ducks in a row, every voice had been heard, every concern had been voiced and addressed to the satisfaction amongst the group.”

The short-term plan took particular emphasis during the meeting. If the short-range plan, which encompasses only the next couple of years, does not pass during the May bond election, the timeline gets pushed to or beyond the time frame the demographer reports state the district will already require the next phase of facilities to be open to students.

“You’ve got to keep the ball moving forward,” Reilley emphasized. “Every time you have a checkpoint where the community says no, it just puts you further behind your plan. You can have a perfectly orchestrated timeline that looks good on paper, and then when you don’t get the seal of approval from the community, it just puts that timeline back a few years.”

And extra years are not kind in regard to the needs the district has in terms of adequate infrastructure being in place to handle the expected continuation in growth, but also in terms of the costs associated with meeting those needs.

“With the data points we have, one of the challenges that we’re looking at, even since we started this work in August, they have changed in January,” Reilley pointed out. “Not only is the cost changing, but interest rates are changing. [Housing] developments and potential developments have slowed. Chatter that you hear about this community coming, or that community coming, well that’s not what we heard in August. If there was a takeaway from Monday’s meeting, it’s let’s focus on the immediate needs with the data that we’re certain about.”

In light of the new information coming before the group in January, the financial planners for the district took time during the meeting to update everyone in attendance of how these pricing changes will impact the overall plan and timeline the group has worked so diligently on over these last many months.

“When you look at the projections going out, it became obvious that what we wanted to do for the next phase was not going to be feasible this time,” Reilley mentioned. “The big focus of what’s coming out of this presentation is addressing the immediate capacity concerns at the elementary school level and setting the district up for the most flexibility to get to the next phase.”

So according to Reilley, the main short-term focus will be to build another elementary school and to secure land for another middle school and land for a second high school.

“We know we’re going to need a middle school at some point,” Really said. “But, you have to have the land.”

As the time comes for the AGC to make its appeal to the board and prepare to receive feedback on its recommendations, Reilley feels good about the work accomplished by the group since August.

“What we’re going to present on Thursday, I’m extremely happy with and proud that we’re going to be able to present something that certainly addresses the immediate needs of the district,” he added.

While much of the recent discussion has shifted away from long-range strategy planning, it’s not a topic that is being scrapped entirely. Once the board meeting concludes the community will have a week to go online to provide any feedback or recommendations they wish to make. Then, on Feb. 6 the AGC will meet for a final time to put the finishing touches on the short-term proposal that will be on the bond election in May. The rest of the meeting time will be devoted to developing a long-range plan the group feels confident will address the district’s issues well over the following decade.

For those who are unable to attend Thursday’s special school board meeting, the video of the meeting will be added to the Aledo ISD website on Friday. To access that video, visit aledoisd.org. In the drop-down menu click on school board, then click on board meeting videos to locate the video dated Jan. 26.

The AGC wants to hear from as many voices in the community as possible as they near the finish line for the work they’ve focused on for so many hours. Anyone who would like to offer suggestions via the community feedback form, or just become more informed about the data the group has had at their disposal throughout this process, go to aledoisd.org/AGC. Also follow along with The Community News as we continue to follow this story as it develops.


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