Above, the San Marcos Consolidated ISD Board of Trustees discuss real estate appraisal and potential sale of land where Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos is located. Screenshot via SMCISD YouTube
SMCISD board tables appraisal on Centro property after community voices concerns
San Marcos community members voiced their concerns regarding an appraisal and possible sale of the property where Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos is located during a recent school board meeting.
The San Marcos Consolidated ISD Board of Trustees was set to discuss obtaining an appraisal and advertising the sale of 2.5142 acres of SMCISD real property at 501 S. LBJ Drive where Centro is located during Monday’s regular meeting.
Dr. Rosina Valle — a former SMCISD teacher and administrator, and a founding member of Centro — was one of many community members to speak during public comment, asking for the board to reconsider the appraisal and possible sale of the property.
“Take a step back and continue the conversations about what preservation of a historic building does and what its benefits are to the community,” Valle said. “I’m here to talk about the preservation. History is our collective memory — a source of wisdom and strength that we can draw in when we need it. Preservation is one of the few things that brings us together as a nation, as a community and as people. I’m actually disheartened that tonight I am here to defend the contributions of our Hispanic heritage, history and culture and Centro.”
The mission of Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos is to serve as a community beacon for the preservation, development, promotion, and celebration of the Hispanic arts, culture, heritage, and values.
“What Centro is, is more than the classes and programs we offer. It is the sustenance for the soul and the future of our community,” said Gloria Salazar, program coordinator and co-founder of Centro. “The value of Centro’s impact on the lives of our community long-term cannot be measured in today’s dollars. The opportunities offered to children, especially economically disadvantaged children, those opportunities can change their life course and affect their whole family. The lessons learned, the nurtured creativity, the sharing, the joy of the diversity of our community will surface and be revealed in the caring adults and leaders they become. Every community needs a Centro. Let’s work together again to keep our treasure, our Centro, in our community.”
The board was set to hold the discussion in closed session, however, the trustees chose to speak in open discussion following the concerns raised by the community.
Trustee Miguel Arredondo asked when and why the item was placed on the agenda following the board’s agenda preparation meeting on Sept. 7. Board President Clementine Cantu clarified that the item was placed on the agenda on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Trustee Kathy Hansen added that the board’s central office subcommittee decided to place it on the agenda to appraise two parcels of land — 501 S. LBJ Drive and 11.958 acres at the intersection of Suttles Drive and Hunter Road — to find out the value of both properties.
“We did discuss that we should look into property that we are not utilizing to potentially look into, I guess, to help us with the funding for our central office,” said Trustee Mayra Mejia, who’s on the subcommittee for central office. “Regardless, we did discuss that our property does need to be submitted for appraisal because it has not been appraised for a couple of years, so it is needed.”
District lawyers provided the trustees with a presentation regarding the two properties and offered two possible motions which would state that the properties are “no longer necessary for school district operations and authorize the district administration to appraise the property and advertise the sale of the property with district policy and state law and, if necessary, retain a real estate broker to facilitate the advertisement and solicitation of the bids.”
Hansen said both motions went “way beyond” what the subcommittee was looking for.
“We’re just asking to know what is the value of both of those pieces of property. Just an appraisal,” Hansen said. “We’re not looking at any of the rest of the stuff.”
The trustees chose to table any further discussion regarding the appraisal of either property.