Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In efforts to curb the district’s $13.7 million budget deficit, McAllen ISD took action at Monday’s meeting by voting to terminate a $2 million contract with the International Museum of Arts & Science (IMAS) and begin to mediate with Quinta Mazatlan over a $4 million project.

The McAllen ISD school board voted to terminate the contract with the International Museum of Arts & Science for an educational wing with the district’s name for a learning space for three times the number of students who currently attend.

The project had a funding of $2 million coming from ESSER II funds. With about $686,000 already being allocated to the project, there was about $1.313 million left in the budget.

“I move that the board of trustees terminate the contract, invoking the 30-day clause in the contract with IMAS and reallocate the district funds designated for it to address internal student and staff educational needs within McAllen ISD,” Trustee Sam Saldivar said.

Seconded by trustee Sofia Peña, the motion passed 5-2 with only Board President Debbie Crane Aliseda and trustee Elizabeth Kittleman opposing it.

Aliseda said with a few invoices still outstanding, the district will probably look at about $1 million in total that will be moved to the general fund balance to help with the budget deficit.

The board also approved to invoke paragraph seven from the memorandum of understanding between McAllen ISD and Quinta Mazatlan and initiate mediation to reach a resolution with the district’s community partner.

The project’s budgets, also coming from the ESSER II funds, had a budget of $4 million with close to $1 million already being allocated. This leaves a balance of $3 million that will go toward the district’s general fund balance to help with the budget deficit.

Quinta Mazatlan on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The memorandum was for the purpose of a collaboration between the parties to support the McAllen ISD Discovery Center as part of the larger Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlan containing over 11 educational pods and educational opportunities to be constructed by the city in collaboration with the district and other community partners.

The board president said the contact mediation could result with termination, lowering the amount or payment periods over the remaining amount.

The motion was passed 6-1 with Aliseda the only voting against it.

“I understand, given our financial situation right now, it seems like a logical thing to do … however, for myself, the bigger picture was my word and my word is my integrity,” she said. “We had contracts that we negotiated and signed back in 2021 and these nonprofits … budgeted and ordered things and built things based on the guarantee of our word.”