Was the baseball/softball complex a good use of permanent school fund?: May We Ask Your Opinion?

Read the stories in the March 28, 2017 edition of the Rains County Leader, then come here and voice your opinions! Our staff wants to hear them all! Thank you for taking time to comment.

38 Comments on "Was the baseball/softball complex a good use of permanent school fund?: May We Ask Your Opinion?"

  1. Paige Hampton | March 29, 2017 at 8:26 am | Reply

    Why not free up funds for a decent tennis court for Rains HS? It’s true that there’s not a lot of interest in the tennis program, but if the facilities were nicer and maintained I know there would be greater interest and pride in the program. Show some pride in all sports offered and provide the students with courts and up to date clothing for the offered sport!

  2. That is a Great Idea
    But also I would love to see RISD having an AUDITORIUM the last shows been a full house! And not enough room to seat down for everyone, plus We can not see the show all the way the Caffeteria is getting Smaller, and Smaller The Town is Growing and it is about time for the Band to have a Descent Place to Practice, and it is Time for the Young Actors And Great Events to Perform in a Nice Wonderful AUDITORIUM.

  3. Yes it’s a great idea. Our children need this brought to our community. We are the just about the only town that doesn’t have softball/ baseball fields of our own. Our kids deserve this!!!

  4. Andrea Thompson | March 29, 2017 at 8:57 am | Reply

    I think it would be beneficial to have rysa separate from high school ball ..crowded parking lot, rysa can’t practice, not enough fields

  5. Yes. I believe that whole heartedly, this would be a large benefit to the district and save a large portion of hassle and direction to the fields. BUT I wish that the “powers that be” would pay a little more attention to the arts. I am a senior at Rains High school. And I take part in theatre activities such as plays and theatre classes. I can guarantee you ever since I joined, I have been heavily equipped with lessons and tools that will be with me for the rest of my life and have also made such strong connections and bonds with the others in our company. I’m not saying to build an auditorium, although that would be nice, but I feel like lately we’ve been neglected. Not just theatre but Band as well. And this is an ongoing universal trend around the world. Sports first then arts. Rains has boasted many times about being different. Why not seize this opportunity to jump off of the band wagon and take a chance? The arts are important. Just as important as the sports. One of the only professions that knows the reason why we celebrate life. It’s all about love and human connection. Thank you for your time.

  6. Mike Donaldson | March 29, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Reply

    Invest in the arts. Especially now that funding for the arts has been hurt at the federal level. Students involved in arts, especially music, tend to have better grades.

    • Yes!

    • Regarding the original question, the amount spent seems excessive, but I do think we needed ball fields at the school. Regarding an auditorium, we need one. I’ve been told that football generates money by their games. I go to the games to see the band. So do many other grandparents and parents.

  7. An auditorium should be on the list before anything else. Yes, the gym can be used like it has been for band concerts and graduations, but the acoustics are horrible. There is already a place to play softball baseball, why not use money on things that we do not have first? Also, I wish that Rains would have a soccer team for the older kids in school. Right now it cuts off at 12-13yo.

    • Ditto on the soccer program! So much interest in the older kids and so much wasted participation for the younger kids.

  8. Jeannine Hayes | March 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Reply

    Good use of funds? Yes, it was a good use. More options should of been sought out. Could the funds been used to serve ALL the district? I think so. The School Board needs to attend MORE Christmas Program at the Elementary,
    Talent Shows at the Intermediate, Career Days at the Junior High and More One Act Plays at the High School. Will the entire Student body of RAINS ISD ever utilize the High School Baseball/Softball Fields? It was a good use of funds, But it could of been used in a better manner. $2.5 million could of gone a long way on a Complex that is needed by ALL THE STUDENTS OF RAINS, not just athletes.

  9. My boys have been involved in sports and theatre all 4 years of High School and while I support the need for a softball/baseball field, the Arts have been neglected. If we find a way to build an auditorium that is up to UIL standards, it would benefit not just the arts but our whole community.

  10. Kendall Cochrane | March 29, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Reply

    I’m involved in both athletics and theatre here at RHS I feel that an auditorium is very much needed almost every day that we rehearse on our “stage” we are interrupted by people in the gym, or just students in the hall ways. An auditorium would be a place for us to rehearse without being interrupted. The baseball players have a venue already where they can go and not be bothered.

  11. Mascha Taylor | March 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Reply

    I believe the funding should go to the educational departments. We also have other sports that need to be recognized also, it’s just not about softball/baseball. Has anyone put any thought into the fact that our county is growing? Will the schools be over crowded at some point. Plan in advance is needed.
    Education first, sports falls in line.

  12. Karen Melton | March 29, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Reply

    Sports facilities are important to every school, they can serve as a source of pride and spirit for the entire community. But I agree that the arts programs have been neglected for too long. Theater and music programs can serve more students than sports programs can. And the success of these programs should be equal sources of pride for the community. Both of my children were involved in band and theater, so I know how it feels when the kids in those programs see money and support going to sports programs and little or none being spent on the arts.

  13. Teresa Aguilar | March 29, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Reply

    Sports facilities always seem to come first for this school district. While I don’t have a problem with building what is needed I believe more attention needs to be paid to the arts and to other programs. An auditorium or outdoor amphitheater for the arts would be awesome for the band and theater department. Would love more programs that teach kids skills to go into the workforce right out of high school, not every student can or wants to go to college.

    • Diana Stanley | March 30, 2017 at 4:16 am | Reply

      Agreed. Let’s prepare these kids for the world after high school. Give them some skills that might help them to get a job. Go to the high school and see how many of your seniors can make change without a calculator? How about balance a bank statement? Use a check register? Pay a bill? Make sure you’re seated when you do, as you will be shocked.
      Now go sit in on a class at the alternative school. What did you learn today? Nothing! It is sad that these kids are just tossed aside. They are not taught anything, just babysat. I believe we can do better.

  14. Linda Wallace | March 29, 2017 at 9:22 pm | Reply

    I absolutely support the sports facilities including the new baseball/softball complex. I have 8 grandchildren in RISD and have a granddaughter interested in theater, she performed in a play this year. I would love to see a new theater or auditorium but the costs for one is double or triple the costs of the ball complex. As far as safety of having the new complex on the RISD grounds, it does keep the kids from having to drive their vehicles to practice and/or games at a separate facility. RISD has lots of other needs and maybe someday because we have the Permanent School Funds we can meet those needs.

  15. Melissa Hill | March 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Reply

    Moving from a bigger school district to Rains, the special education is lacking in several areas. I know the teachers do the best they can with what they have. Extra money to this department not only helps our teachers but helps the students be more prepared to enter the real world. I know this group of students is small but they deserve the best of what could be provided to them.

  16. Angie Cochrane | March 29, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Reply

    I do support the baseball field. I have boys who are involved in athletics, as well as theatre. However, since my kids have been involved in theatre, which has been the past two years. I am shocked at how they get pushed to the back burner. Cant get buses to take them to things. I have stepped up and driven and pulled trailers for them numerous times. Which, I dont mind doing because I love the program , and adore Mr. Collins! But, the lack of support and involvement that I see is sad.
    Give this program a proper stage and auditorium, give band the auditorium! It can be used for so many things!!! Go watch the One Act Play competition in Cantin one year, you will see the difference in a school who fully supports the arts, and our school. While are acting is just as good, or better….You can see where they have more funds and support behind them. The auditorium could be used for so many things for the district and town.

  17. I think it’s a good ideal but I also think it could be done cheaper. We don’t need fields like they have around Dallas. Let’s not go over board. We could use a better tennis area also

  18. R. Kevin Morris | March 30, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Reply

    Class of ’89 here and I’m pretty sure we’re using the same Cafetorium that we used when I was there. Improvements to the old baseball field and starting to fund a new auditorium might be a better compromise.

  19. I would really like to see more money go into programs that need it besides sports. Let’s get more vocational programs, an auditorium for performances (whether band, award ceremonies, or theater), special education program, and the arts. 2.5 million would go a long way for some of this.

  20. I’m so excited to finally have softball and baseball fields back at our school . I also hope that we can eventually ad on some great tennis courts! I have read comments about theater needing an auditorium . Maybe that can be in the near future as well. I’m all for Rains being top notch in every aspect ! I think we have a lot of people striving for bettering our school!

  21. I think many of the people commenting here needs to read up and educate themselves as to what the PDF is, and the specific items it can be spent on. Through proper management over the last several years, the district has been greatly from the availability of funds. Yes, the school has had a field to use via the RYSA, and they have invested money in it over the years. But now the time is right for the school to have their own.

  22. Mary jo Dougherty | March 30, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Reply

    School sports are very important, but what most don’t realize is that the interest on the permanent school fund can be, and is used for maintenance and operations of the school, which offsets your tax bills. If we deplete the permanent School fund by 1/3, we lose a lot of income for school operations which will have to be made up by higher school taxes.

  23. I am confused at why it is costing 2.5 million to build the ball fields, they better be darn nice when they are built.

  24. I don’t understand why it takes 2.5 million to build ball fields. I think it would be great to have the fields at the school again. I think it would be a better idea to spend the money on something that would benefit more than just the athletes. Athletics just got a nice new football field…I think it’s time to spend a little on some other department.

  25. Joe Humphrey | April 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Reply

    I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to comment regarding the use of Permanent School Funds for a baseball/softball fields made with synthetic surfaces. I was one of the five Commissioners’ Court members who unanimously voted to authorize RISD to utilize the funds in this manner.
    As a former teacher I also have concerns about the use of taxpayers money on athletic programs vs academic programs. Mr. Donaldson raised the issue of higher grades by fine arts students, especially by band students. Although I do not have the hard data I think the same can probably said of females who participate in athletics and males who compete in swimming and cross-country. Just my observation of the type of students that I have observed in my 37 years of teaching. Young women just seem to be more mature and more focused than the typical young man (There are always exceptions to the rule). Sports that involve more individual vs team effort such as swimming, distance running and cross country which involve more individual focus attracts different personality types. This self-discipline, in my opinion, often translates to academic effort as well.
    I was a three sport letterman with honors All district honors in Football and Basketball. I also finished in 5th place at the State Track Meet in the 400. I was on the honor roll almost every six weeks with very little study. I was consumed with sports. I learned a lot in athletics about endurance, staying the course when the going gets tough, etc. that I am not sure I would have learned in academics. I also learned how to work together toward a team goal and put the good of the team and my team-mates ahead of my own personal desires at times. Learning how to be a leader is often touted as being one of the most important things that one learns in sports. I actually think most of the team members just learn how to be good followers.
    Having said all of this, I have often wandered if I might have been a better student had I now been distracted by sports. Who knows. Some of my classmates also learned a lot in Public Speaking and Leadership in Vocational Agriculture under the tutelage of Ernest Holman. Unfortunately I couldn’t be in two places at the same time.
    Regarding my vote to approve the expenditure of funds from the PSF.
    I was originally leaning away from approving the expenditure and maintaining the fund balance. Several factors changed my mind during the last 24 hours before the vote.
    1. Some people who I admire and respect told me to keep the PSF fund high and just use the interest (available school fund). They were of the opinion that the fund should never be touched. The name “Permanent School Fund” implied to me that only proceeds from the investment of the fund should be expended. Ms. Dougherty is correct that the investment proceeds can indeed be used for whatever the School decides is appropriate and the use for operating can slightly decrease the taxes necessary for operation. Given the current market conditions $2.5 million invested in CD’s at approximately one percent generates approximately $25000 annually.

    The PSF originated when the State gave every County a certain amount of State land so the Counties could sell the land to generate revenue to start schools in their county. The funds generated by the land sales could only be used to construct permanent facilities (buildings and other structures) and could not be use to cover operating costs. All but six counties (I think this is the correct number) sold their land and used it for build schools. There are only two reasons Rains still has a Permanent School Fund. The county actually sold their land, but the buyer eventually defaulted on the payments and the land came back to the county. The second reason is that oil was discovered before the land could be resold. Therefore Rains, Alba-Golden and Miller Grove schools benefit proportionately to the number of students attending those schools who reside within the county boundaries.
    Regarding the Synthetic Field vs Natural Turf
    I had numerous questions concerning the costs of a synthetic field, mainly regarding the cost. I am a data driven decision maker and emotions rarely play into any of my personal or county financial decisions. How much is this going to cost? How much does it cost to maintain? Why can’t we continue to use the RCSA fields? How long will the field last? What will be involved in replacing the synthetic surface when it wears out? How much would it cost to build an auditorium? How about other facilities?
    I spend half a day with Assistant Superintendent Jeff Fisher asking about the cost. He assured me that when you factor long term costs of natural vs synthetic the the costs are comparable. Initially the cost is greater because there is a larger investment in the sublayer of the fields. Once in place the costs of maintaining the fields (reworking infields, mowing, watering, striping etc.)are extremely minimal for the synthetic. Factoring in the man-hours necessary to maintain the natural turf remain high as long as the field is there. A synthetic turf lasts between 12-15 years on average. The substructure of the field is in place and should not require any work other than placing a new carpet. When you average in the initial cost with the long term replacement costs vs maintaining a natural field moves in favor of the synthetic. Facilities (building, gyms, fields, etc are 50+ year investments. I do not know if I made the right decision or not, but I am comfortable with it today. Time will tell.

    How much money will the school lose from the loss of investment on the $2.5 million dollars? What will the cost of a similar facility be 3, 5, 10 years from now? Construction in the Dallas Fort Worth area is increasing at a rapid pace. If we wait will the costs increase faster than the value of the fund. I have seen extreme inflation after the Vietnam War when CD’s had almost a 10 Percent return, but construction loans were 15-18 percent.
    Eventually I decided that it was less risky to spend the money on the fields now rather than risk the PSF devaluation due to inflation.
    Regarding Safety–I may be old but not to old to remember what it was like to be a teen-age driver. Many of our baseball and softball players leave the campus in personal automobiles which creates the potential for accidents, both fender benders and deadly. I lost three students in one accident during the school day. The loss of three students in a deadly accident has a long reaching impact on all the students who knew and cared about them. It felt like there was a dark cloud hanging over the school the rest of the year. The RYSA has been most gracious and accommodating for many years, but it is time to let them have full use of their facility.
    I would be remiss if I did not make a comment regarding the theatre and drama department. I have been most impressed by the students involved in the program and the impact Mr. Collingsworth has on his students. They need a better facility.

    One additional comment regarding use. Superintendents Rouse and Fisher have assured the court that the fields would be available to the community at large.

  26. Joe Humphrey | May 24, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Reply

    Always reread any post before it is posted (multiple times). I left out a comma when explaining the amount of interest income currently generated by the Permanent School Fund. The correct amount on 2.5 million should have been $25,000. The current rate of inflation exceeds the amount of interest generated. Waiting to use the money would have probably resulted in greater expense in the long run.
    As noted in my lengthy comment, if you have the patience to read all of it, I think that Fine Arts is very deserving and I certainly empathize with Theatre students having difficulty learning lines and rehearsing with such an open facility.
    To be fair the purpose of the Commissioners court in these matters is to approve or disapprove the disbursement of funds requested by the School Boards for projects that qualify. In my opinion commissioners Court should only in rare instances over-ride the decision of a duly elected School Board. They should be more closely attuned to the perceived needs of the students. We are a diverse population with diverse opinions and needs. Public officials will never make everyone happy. It is our job to study the issues, including gathering opinions of the public and then trying to make the best decision we can knowing full-well that there will always be some dissent.
    God Bless the staff and students of Rains ISD, the School Board who labor tirelessly for free, the parents of our students and all of the taxpaying citizens who support the education of our youth. If you study the educational systems around the world, you will find that the free Public Education system in the United States stands alone in its efforts to educate all students. Many naysayers point to the poor showing of the our schools on various tests in comparison to other systems around the world. What they fail to tell you is that many of these systems have multiple tracts and only the elite students in those systems take the tests used to make comparisons. Oops, I feel a rant coming on, so I will stop here.
    Thanks to all of you who take the time to voice your opinions either in support or opposition. Freedom of Speech is still alive and well in the USA. I pledge to take my job seriously and to always strive to seek out the facts before making decisions.
    Joe Humphrey
    Commissioner Precinct 4

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