City, school district officials set goals for 2010
By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
The City of San Benito and San Benito Consolidated Independent School District (SBCISD) have opened the new year in much the same manner that 2009 ended: in a forward-moving fashion.
According to city and school district officials, projects and objectives initiated in years past will continue to see progress made with some perhaps being completed in 2010; moreover, a number of new initiatives will also unfold in the coming months.
Manuel Lara, city manager for the City of San Benito, said that street repairs, as it has been the case in the past, remains the priority. But there's also a significant movement within the city to establish more entertainment-minded projects, starting simply with park improvements and the repairing of the Newman Building at the municipal airport property, where commissioners hope to someday soon house a multi-use civic center.
“The primary goal is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of San Benito. As far as major projects, we're going to improve streets as we've gotten several of those projects going,” Lara said. “We're also going to improve entertainment at our family parks. We're interviewing for a new parks director, and we're going to spur up the Resaca so families can enjoy that site as well as visitors and tourists. Not to mention we're looking at the fairgrounds and doing a master plan for the project there.”
He added, “This, again, will give us additional family-quality facilities for entertainment and gatherings of all variations. It could be quinceañeras, dances or weddings. We just want to have a variety of options for the citizens of San Benito.”
Concerning infrastructure, the city manager said the city may partner with other entities in alleviating San Benito's damaged drainage system, which has experienced a number of problems since Hurricane Dolly swept through the area in 2008.
“We're having some major drainage issues, and we'll be looking at addressing those issues. We will also be looking at partnering with other agencies, including the county and drainage district, to build good communication with our taxing entities and those who have a major impact in San Benito,” Lara said, furthering noting, “Along with that, we want to be actively involved in economic development, working with the county and neighboring communities to attract business to the Valley. We see 2010 being an exciting year for the City of San Benito.”
SBCISD Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón said the fight rages on in the district's goal to be considered recognized or exemplary by the state. In the past, principal reassignments, the incorporation of curriculum-based initiatives, and the improvement of facilities (such as new science labs and the use of MacBooks in elementary campuses) are just some of the efforts district officials have implemented toward that goal.
According to Limón, TAKS scores in Math and Science, particularly the latter, continue to hold the district back from a recognized or exemplary rating. Still, Limón said progress continues to be made and has confidence that the 2009-2010 school year may be the year. After all, the superintendent said the district has been a few points shy of its goal in the past.
“Our goals for the new year are what we said early in September when we started school: We continue to intend to be a recognized district if not an exemplary district, and to have our TAKS scores in the 90s,” Limón said, adding that, for the first time in years, no SBCISD campus is listed on the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) lowest performing schools list.
“We have some good news as we continue forward with the new year, providing the best education for our students as possible,” Limón said.