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Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District will go forth with selling $98.6 million in bonds after the Texas Education Agency approved its application for Instructional Facility Allotment (IFA) funding.

Voters passed the bond initiative in May 2010. But the voting item was contingent upon the district receiving the state funds, which should account for about half the bond amount.

“The voters spoke last spring,” Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores said. “Our community believes in its public schools. We take our responsibility seriously in making HCISD the lighthouse school district in the Rio Grande Valley, the state and the nation.”

“Now that the TEA has allotted the funds, it is our responsibility to make sure the money is spent efficiently and that projects are completed with the focus clearly on improving the instruction of our children, while enhancing the quality of life for the entire Harlingen CISD community,” Flores said. “We are confident that we will be able to serve our community in taking on such a critical responsibility.”

Property tax payers will pay for the rest of the bond through a tax increase of 9.7 cents for every $100 in property value. The tax rate was $1.125 for every $100 in property value in 2009.

“Harlingen’s future will be determined by how we educate our youth,” Board of Trustees member George McShan said. “This is an investment in human capital that will result in an enhance quality of life for the entire community.”

Harlingen CISD hired a financial adviser earlier this year to manage the selling of the bonds. The district will begin selling the bonds this month, depending on when the best interest rates are available.

Districts who pass bond issues may apply for the funding through the TEA, which determines who gets funding by assessing each district’s average daily attendance and its average property values.

For more information on IFA, visit the TEA’s school finance page.

District officials expect facility and renovation projects to start at the campuses by the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.

“I am excited to see how high this district can soar,” Board of Trustees President Verna Young said. “I look forward to working with the board, HCISD employees and the entire community in shaping our district.”

Projects from the bond initiative will affect all of Harlingen CISD’s campuses. The project list includes building a performing arts center, aquatic center, a new middle school and a ninth grade campus.

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