A word from Superintendent Quintin Shepherd of the Victoria ISD

Closing thoughts: Happy New Year VISD update

A word from superintendent Quintin Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D.

As we kick off 2022, I want to share some updates for the district. I will share a little about Mission Valley, VATRE next steps, district renovations, Stroman Middle School, and DAEP and Credit Recovery. Lots of things are happening and I want to keep everyone apprised of the work. Of course, the single best place to go for information is always the Administration Report, presented monthly to the Board of Trustees. This is a detailed explanation of all the work happening throughout the district and can be easily accessed from either our district website or the district app.

The successful outcome of the Mission Valley Elementary School Bond proposal means we can now embark on the process of building a new school at that same site. As we said throughout the process, our next steps would include selling bonds, finding a construction management firm, hiring architects, designing the building, etc. We are just at the first stages of this work. There will be many touchpoints for our community throughout the process. Please also remember that the district committed to a Bond Oversight Committee, which is not something required by law, but something we choose to do to build trust with our community. This oversight committee is made up of community members who have agreed to take part.

The successful outcome of the VATRE means that the district will be able to sustain the increases given in the fall of 2021 moving forward if we remain diligent in staffing and spending. Had the VATRE not been successful, we may have been talking about program reductions or staffing reductions, so I am grateful our conversation can focus on recruiting and keeping highly qualified staff.

District renovations are needed at every campus. The failed bond means most of these repairs will wait. We are using available ESSER monies and limited district resources to tackle the most pressing issues facing us. Several of our campuses will continue to use portable toilets as students go outside to use the restroom, roofs that leak, intermittent HVAC systems, and electrical challenges. As more and more funds are deployed to our aging infrastructure and without the ability to catch up on our large-scale maintenance needs, more funding will need to be directed away from routine and regular maintenance of our existing “newer” campuses (those that are less than 20 years old).

Stroman Middle School has been an ongoing conversation since the failed bond. The four-story building stays closed at this time and students are still at Liberty. When we first alerted the community to mold in that facility, we knew the bond vote would largely determine our future. If the bond had been successful, we were looking at a 2–3-year window before the new Stroman would be ready for students and we planned for that. Since this is no longer a possibility, we recognize the need for a longer-term solution for the students, teachers, and community. A board workshop was held on Dec. 9, where we reviewed various scenarios and determined a few potential courses of action. We have been working through those scenarios for the past several weeks to determine their viability.

DAEP and Credit Recovery programming continue to struggle as limited space is available for those students. We have moved two used portables from William Wood to the Fine Arts Annex building to support DAEP programs. This has increased our capacity, but not to the level we have come to appreciate and expect historically. Several community members have recognized an increase in the number of disruptive students still at their home campus, and this is because we simply have no space for the students. We are actively trying to work through solutions for next year and we will share details when they become available.

By  Supt. Quintin Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D.