City, school district team up for Burnet’s State of the Community

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — In another event that further illustrates the relationship between the city of Burnet and Burnet Consolidated Independent School District, officials are inviting citizens to a State of the Community address.

Mayor Gary Wideman and BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett will each speak March 4 at the Burnet Community Center, 401 E. Jackson. A free barbecue lunch will be served, and reservations are not required.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Both entities will have staff members from various departments in attendance to answer questions from the public.

Wideman said having employees from each department makes it easier for citizens to talk about concerns with those staff members. Often times, a resident will ask the mayor a specific question that’s important to that individual that he is not as qualified to answer.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t know who to talk to,” he said. “They come to me or they go to the city manager when you can work that out by going to the (employee of that department). This is an opportunity for them in a comfortable setting to access any part of the city without being uncomfortable. Getting folks to talk to you, I think we owe it to them.”

McBurnett and Wideman will address the crowd about 12:20 p.m. and stay to answer questions following the speeches.

This is the third year the two entities will co-host the event. Before, BCISD and city hall conducted separate state of the city and state of the school district addresses.

Two years ago, the two groups teamed up to do a research project together, the mayor said. That event revealed several similarities.

The chemistry between the two groups was apparent from the start. Representatives developed a trust that allowed each side to excel.

And because they combined their efforts, the project was more comprehensive and timely, which allowed members to move on to other duties.

That success has only deepened the ties between the two.

To Wideman, the relationship between the two can be summed up in a saying of BCISD athletic director Kurt Jones: “None of us are as strong as all of us.”

“In my business, it’s all about building a team,” Wideman said.

The latest example of the working relationship between the city and BCISD is the school resource officer, the mayor said.

The two entities each pay the officer because officials believe in the importance of having an officer who spends time at each campus for the safety of students and educators.

“I have kids in school,” Wideman said. “They’re the future.”

The biggest reason the two decided to have one event is for the convenience of the citizens, the superintendent said, and both the school district and city hall have the same outlook and work on the same projects.

“We’re targeting, often times, the same people,” he said. “The way of the city is the way of BCISD; the way of BCISD is the way of the city.”

Wideman said his talk will center around infrastructure, the sewer plant, some of the water challenges that may be coming and other projects.

McBurnett said he plans on giving an update on the $26.75 million bond approved in November, the challenges of decreasing enrollment, what the Texas Legislature will discuss involving education, and the unique programs at the different campuses.

“I think what makes it successful and unique is the collaboration,” he said. “I don’t think you can go to other communities and have a State of the Community event.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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