JISD board receives updates on cafeteria and megawatt solar construction

Efrain Treviño, from SFE, discussed the food service at the District. First, he said that the amount of breakfasts, which are free to all students, are down. He feels this is in part due to a more accurate accounting at the cafeteria than at the classroom. However, with the reimbursement of $2.14 per student, they are still doing well in the budget.

Lunches have gone up, with more free meals. Part of this is the prohibition of parents bringing lunches to their kids during the day, which the District stopped allowing this year. The a la carte business was up, but their catering was down. They did not have the grandparents’ luncheon this year, so they lost that amount, which is counted in the lunch totals.

Overall, there is a slight deficit in the cafeteria budget. He commended his team for working so well in the new building and with new equipment. In order to bring more students in, they are offering incentives, such as blue tooth speakers and Amazon tablets for a raffle.

The Roving Chef program, which is for Kinder students, is always a big plus. His department is doing other things, such as a Fall Fest and a farmer’s market where students and their parents can learn about foods and nutrition and be introduced to such things as grapples and goose berries. The High School Career Path classes have been studying health and sanitation and have handed out surveys for the cafeteria to get feedback from the students.

Megawatt solar construction update

The next presentation was by Randy Jenks from Core Solar, an Austin based company. They are developing a project on 1,000 acres on 173 and CR303 for a 125 megawatt solar construction that will cost between $110 and $120 million. The state will allow tax abatement if the County will rezone this area for reinvestment. Af- ter that, the company can apply for Chapter 313, with the state. If the Comptroller’s office approves, the company will be out all the money and there will be a “hold harmless clause” in their contract with the school. However, once everything is in place, the District will get an additional tax income from the project. They will get the abatement for 15 plus three years and will pay on the full value for 10 years, then on the depreciated value after that. The County has to be on board first and he meets with them on November 13. If everything goes through, they will bring in professionals to manage the plant, but will hire locally for other jobs.

Terry Smith, who is a former principal, superintendent and worked for Region 20, has no connection with Core Solar, but consults for and stands completely with the school districts. He’s worked with over 100 projects and pointed out the many benefits of the project. This money wound supplement the ADA money from the state; there would be the hold harmless agreement; the taxes will be paid on the full value and these devaluate quickly; the state use the prior year’s tax base to value their limits, so this big payout would not affect that and it costs nothing to the District. As a third party, they would run the numbers and determine the true value of the project to the school and paperwork would not be done by the school administration. This would also be a good economic development move since there would be a job growth of about 10 employees. Since this cannot be split between Districts, Jourdanton would solely benefit. Before anything, however, the County has to approve the project and zone the property for reinvestment. They will contact the District as soon as they know anything.

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