A $600,000 video scoreboard proposal voted down in a 5-1 vote by Waxahachie ISD trustees at their Aug. 1 meeting reappeared as a discussion item on Monday night’s workshop agenda.
Trustee Gary Fox, the lone vote during the previous meeting for the scoreboard, which would replace a 7-year-old scoreboard at Lumpkins Stadium, had requested the item be brought up again.
The stadium is wrapping up a $20,784,810 renovation as approved by voters in a May 2010 bond that allocated no funds for a new scoreboard.
During Monday’s workshop session, Fox noted the prior meeting’s discussion amongst board members that questioned whether the community’s businesses would advertise on the new scoreboard.
He said he had contacted Baylor Medical Center, among others, to see if it would be interested in doing a $10,000 per year/10-year advertising contract. He said he was informed the health care provider had already signed a $5,000 contract with an unnamed entity for an insert into the football program, stadium signage and mentions in public announcements during games.
Noting there would need to be coordination of advertising solicitation to avoid double-calls like that, Fox said he had received a firm commitment from one business with several others indicating their interest in seeing more information.
“I’m just trying to get something accomplished in a way we can get something accomplished,” he said.
Discussion during the Aug. 1 meeting noted a minimum of six advertisers would have to commit to a $10,000 per year/10-year advertising contract to cover the cost of the scoreboard proposal.
Unclear during the meeting was whether the school district getting into the advertising business would negatively impact various booster organizations that depend on local business sponsorships as part of their fundraising.
On Monday, Quarterback Club members were present again to state their support for a new scoreboard, saying they are willing to help sell ads to cover its cost.
They noted statements by WISD officials in July that the district expects to carry a surplus into the 2011-2012 budget.
“Why can’t we use that surplus today … to complete the stadium and allow our sponsors to have state of the art advertising?” one asked, with the members indicating they also had received positive responses from businesses interested in the new scoreboard.
As noted during the Aug. 1 meeting, there is no old or new bond money left to purchase the proposed scoreboard – the expenditure would have to come from fund balance.
Resident Tom Baker addressed the board members during public forum in the regular meeting, which followed the workshop.
“I’m coming to you as a taxpayer,” he said. “How can we afford these (large stadiums)? I realize this was passed by voters, but I think we’ve lost our focus somewhere.
“I’m very concerned about this board and our students who are in a major funding crisis now,” he said, noting the $22.175 million bond to cover the renovation costs to the stadium along with upgrades at the softball field and Richards Park equates to a $1.4 million payment for 27 years.
“That’s about $38 million (including interest) … your property owners, your taxpayers are not always going to be there,” he said. “We’re spending too much money for special interest groups. I consider the stadium a special interest and I consider the scoreboard a special interest.
“Schools aren’t brick and mortar, they’re teachers and students,” he said. “We don’t need these Taj Mahals.”
Contact JoAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1452.