$434K scoreboard OK’d for Bearkats

RAYMONDVILLE — Applause roared last night as school board members voted 5-2 to purchase a $434,349 scoreboard to stand over Bearkat Stadium.

In a special meeting, board members selected the jumbotron video scoreboard over a $607,000 model.

Board members Judy Gutierrez and Janie Cruz-Rivas voted against the purchase from Nevco, a leading manufacturer of video scoreboards listed on the state’s BuyBoard, a purchasing cooperative of state-approved vendors.

Board member Mario Tijerina spoke out in support of the purchase of the scoreboard. which he said could be used for graduations, field days, band events and playoff games.

Meanwhile, a class of media students will learn to operate the video and sound system, Tijerina said.

Tijerina said board members — not Superintendent Stetson Roane — pushed for a new scoreboard.

“Schools all over the Valley have had them for years,” Tijerina said of big video scoreboards.

However, Gutierrez expressed concern the purchase would cut into academic spending.

“Are we investing in our students?” Gutierrez asked. “We need computers, lap-tops for our kids. We need to see that every student in our district is taken care of.”

In response, board President John Solis said the district earmarked $300,000 to hire consultants who helped the district boost students’ state test scores.

“This is something that will benefit our students and our community,” Solis said. “Sometimes we have to face the tough decisions. All of our decisions are for the betterment of the school district and the betterment of the students.”

After the meeting, Roane said the district could dip into its fund balance to buy the scoreboard in time for the Bearkat’s first home game Sept. 7.

“This is something I believe we can afford,” Roane said in an interview.

Officials said the scoreboard could generate revenue through the sale of advertising.

The district’s fund balance stands at $7.9 million, capable for operating the district for 119 days, David Longoria, the district’s chief financial officer, said after the meeting.

Roane said the new scoreboard will replace a 15-year-old scoreboard damaged in a wind storm more than two months ago.

Even before the storm’s damage, the old scoreboard’s sound system poorly operated while part of its digital display had not worked for two years, Roane said.

As board members earmarked $18,000 to repair the old scoreboard, he said, they began discussing plans to buy a new one.

Last week, school attorney Gustavo Acevedo said the board was not required to go out for bids if it purchased the scoreboard through Nevco, a state-approved vendor listed on the BuyBoard.