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Mission CISD hosts Back-to-School Bash

20140808 MCISD Back To School lg-37It was an event 12 months in the making.

Mission Consolidated Independent School District’s first ever Back to School Bash was an unequivocal success as thousands of Mission, Alton and Palmhurst residents took advantage of the free backpacks and free or reduced cost services being provided to MCISD students Friday at Mission High School’s V.F. Neuhaus gymnasium. According to the school district, 2,000 backpacks were handed out to students.

As the doors opened at 6 p.m. and the first of the hundreds of families lined up outside Neuhaus gym streamed in, volunteers from the school district, local businesses, civic organizations and neighboring towns began handing out backpacks filled with school supplies to any and all MCISD students in attendance absolutely free of charge.

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Mission celebrates 20th National Night Out

20140805 Mission-National-Night-Out KO 6029Mission celebrated its 20th National Night Out on Tuesday at Leo Peña Placita in downtown Mission by passing out school supplies to children and offering a full range of local entertainment for those present to enjoy.

Mission Crime Stoppers and the Mission Police Department sponsored the annual event.

The line waiting for the school supplies stretched from east to west on the south side of the placita with hundreds in line. Diane Hernandez, a volunteer with Mission Crime Stoppers, said there were approximately 1500 bags of school supplies for children. The bags contained a spiral notebook, folders, erasers, pencils, colors and other items children would need for school when they return later in the month.

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Mission CISD proposes three-cent tax increase

MCISDlogoThe Mission CISD Board of Trustees rejected a proposal Wednesday night to increase the district’s tax rate by 5.5 cents as suggested by Superintendent Ricardo Lopez. Instead, the board is considering a 3-cent tax rate increase.

The superintendent recommended the 5.5-cent tax hike this year, followed by a series of 2-cent tax hikes each year until the Interest and Sinking (I&S) Fund tax rate reaches 26 cents.

The district is facing a $5 million shortfall in debt service for 2014-15 unless the budget is reduced or taxes are increased, or a combination of the two.

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Districts face different challenges

20140808 School-BudgetIt’s no secret La Joya ISD is home to some of the most low-income children in the area. Many of the district’s 29,000 students come from homes in the colonias, some without indoor showers.

La Joya Independent School District includes the types of neighborhoods that attract church groups from nearby and afar during the summer and over Spring Break hoping a week of good deeds will mean something to families struggling to make ends meet in the rural western portion of Hidalgo County. Every Christmas, the more blessed of district’s own students come together and campaign to raise presents for their poorer classmates, picking a day to board buses and spread out across the area to deliver their holiday goodies.

Statewide, La Joya ISD ranked in the bottom 20 of Texas’ 1,000 school districts when it came to wealth per weighted average daily attendance, a method the state used to measure the amount of wealth per student using property values, according to the Texas Education Agency. In 2011, the amount of wealth per student in La Joya ISD was $55,569. That was down $6,000 from the year before. In comparison, Mission Consolidated ISD was listed at $79,504 and Sharyland ISD was $192,957.

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Palmview looks to annex to the north

City-of-Palmview-LogoPalmview annexed area to the south of the city last year, and now they’re looking north.

At a recent meeting, City Manager Ramon Segovia presented two phases to consider, stretching from 2 Mile Line south to city limits and between Moorefield and Abram Roads. The swath of land is divided into two to be annexed in two phases.

Segovia said the city had not determined the acreage of each phase. Rather, he asked the Board of Aldermen to let him know how the city should proceed, whether the city should expand into one or the other phases.

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UTRGV president visits STC’s Nursing & Allied Health Campus

20140808 Bailey-visits-STCGuy Bailey, president of UT Rio alley was welcomed by Shirley A. Reed, president of South Texas College and administrators at the STC Nursing & Allied Health Campus in McAllen on July 29.

During the visit, Bailey had the opportunity to speak to current STC Dual Enrollment Medical Science Academy (DEMSA) students and an alumna currently doing research with Yale University.  They are all prime examples of the quality education and bright futures South Texas College provides for students pursuing careers in the medical field.

DEMSA students Tania Vargas and Marco Cruz were both interested and eager to hear about UTRGV and their possible future prospects with the medical school. As a student at McAllen High School, Vargas has plans to attend a medical school in Texas and pursue a degree in anesthesiology. Cruz is a student at Sharyland High School, and his goals consist of obtaining a bachelor’s in biology and then pursuing a doctorate degree to eventually practice psychiatry in the Rio Grande Valley.

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La Joya ISD eyes $337M budget

2014 LJIS LOGOEmployees are getting 4 percent raises, buses are getting GPS and students are getting a $12 million natatorium in the $337.6 million proposed budget presented by La Joya ISD administrators Wednesday.

The added expenses mean the district will dip into its $116 million fund balance. Alfredo Vela, assistant superintendent of administration and finance, estimated the district would need more than $23.6 million from its reserves to cover the budget. The district is maintaining its $1.31 tax rate.

It was the first time the district publicly released the budget projections, though staff and board members have said throughout budget workshops that the district would be using some of its fund balance.

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Human trafficking at issue in hearing

20140724 LA-JOYA Human-trafficking-panel 0063LA JOYA—Victims of human trafficking are reluctant to make an outcry because of the life of crime to which they have been accustomed, Capt. Ron Swenson, of the TABC Special Investigation Unit, said at a hearing last week on human trafficking.

During a Texas Joint House/Senate committee hearing held at the La Joya ISD boardroom, Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, said La Joya and other cities lining the border are currently home to the trafficking of women and minors.

“My particular focus is to make sure there is not one child that ends up in the commercial sex trade industry,” Huffman said. “I think we need to stay focused today about why we are here and that is to address the interim charges that we have been given as a committee to study. Hearing testimony on how to combat sex trafficking along the Texas border and to discuss services available to victims. ”

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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