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The five-year grant funding the ACE Afterschool Program will expire in July. Burnet Consolidated Independent School District is in the process of applying for Cycle 10 of the grant to fund an additional five years.

Because awarding of the grant will not be announced until sometime in July, the district is developing two plans: one assumes BCISD receives the ACE grant and the other assumes BCISD sustains an afterschool program for the 2018-19 school year with local funding.

If BCISD is awarded the ACE grant, then parents can expect the same high-quality ACE Afterschool Program serving more than 800 students a day. If the district is not awarded the grant, then the district is prepared to offer a new, locally funded afterschool program.

On April 16, the BCISD Board of Trustees allocated funds to underwrite a majority of the costs of a non-grant-funded afterschool program. This locally funded afterschool program would be offered at all BCISD elementary campuses 3:15-6:15 p.m Monday-Thursday. The afterschool program will have a new name but will continue to offer homework help, tutorials, and fun enrichment activities in a safe environment.

The three biggest changes with the locally funded afterschool program are:

  • the enrollment will be limited to 105 students at each elementary campus;
  • transportation will not be provided;
  • and a very affordable fee of $20 per month will be required.

To plan for the 2018-19 school year, BCISD will host an afterschool program registration event in May. More information on the afterschool registration event will be coming soon, so watch the district’s website and Facebook page.

In addition to allocating funds to support an afterschool program, the board also voted to take action to save taxpayers money. It approved the early payment of bonds totaling $2,550,000. This early payment of bonds, called Bond Defeasance, is a strategy used to decrease the interest expense paid on the district’s bonds. This specific defeasance saves BCISD more than $200,000 in interest payments. The early payment also lowers the district’s future annual debt payments, thus providing flexibility for future tax rates and the ability to address future district facility needs with limited to zero impact of the tax rate.

Finally, I want to wrap up by sharing six words with you: Your Generosity. Our Community. Their Future. These six words capture the mission of the Hill Country Community Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to the support of civic, health, and educational programs that enrich the lives of Burnet residents. The foundation invests in students and the community by offering a scholarship to every student graduating from Burnet High School or Quest High School who is pursuing post-high school education or training.

You can see the Hill Country Community Foundation at work at 7 p.m. May 17 as it awards more than $300,000 in scholarships to Burnet and Quest students. Since 1983, the foundation has awarded $4.88 million in scholarships to Burnet graduates. That is an incredible investment in our young people and a commitment you won’t find in other communities, big or small.

If you want to see this community’s investment in our future at work, feel free to join us at Burnet High School on May 17.

Keith McBurnett is the superintendent of Burnet Consolidated Independent School District.