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Plano ISD Approves Building Purchase For Planned Academy

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News
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(Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images for Bing)

(Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images for Bing)

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PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) - For some, a former AT&T call center at 1701 Alma Road in Plano would make a great place for a long-awaited academy housing 600 Plano ISD students.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is a win for the students of Plano,” one parent told PISD board members at a meeting Tuesday night.

The price tag, at $6.3 million, is a real bargain, others told the board.

“A building we’re getting for less than a third of the actual cost,” said Adrian Rodriguez. “And we’re getting this with bond money where we’re not affecting salaries.”

Others told board members they were worried about the cost of maintenance and operations, which the district estimates would cost more than $1.7 million over five years.

“M & O is where teachers salaries come from. I cannot look at another teacher who’s been RIF’d [laid off through a reduction in force] because we bought a building,” Kelly Thomas told board members.

Another parent told the board, “It’s an irresponsible decision to be making at this time when we just laid off 233 teachers. The idea might be great but the timing is terrible.”

But the district says it’ll look for corporate sponsors to cover the M & O. The board of trustees approved the purchase of the building on a vote of five to two.

Some wonder if the vote would have passed if board members had waited until after the May 14 school board elections.

Tuesday night’s board meeting was originally scheduled as a work session. But during the board meeting, district officials explained their option to purchase the building ends on April 20.

Carolyn Alvey said that everyone supported the idea of the academy, herself included. But she wants to see a master plan and budget for it.

With the district facing a loss of $30 to 60 million in state funding, there are many questions about the future that have no answers.

Some parents would just like the board to provide more information. “I would really like to see you all be more forthcoming with your plan for the academy. Thank you,” Denise Cook said.

The academy is set to open in the Fall of 2013.

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