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All about community

Editorial by Rickie R. Harris

Our school district is appreciative of the phenomenal support that we receive from our community. We are also pleased to be able to give back to our community. Recent WOCCISD actions have supported local non-profit organizations and our employee community. These actions also have the potential to save taxpayer dollars in the future.

During the month of October, all of our campuses participated in the Orange County United Way Drive. This local non-profit campaign provides support to local organizations that assist families with food, shelter, counseling, and help during emergencies. We are glad to be a part of this effort.

Also in October, our finance staff finalized the sale of $9.225 million of refinanced bonds. This prudent move will result in considerable savings and positively impact our budget in years to come. Through this sale, we were able to lock in an interest rate of 2.174 percent, which is much lower than the estimated 2.57 percent that was presented to our Board of Trustees in September. This rate will result in a present value savings of $2,023,000 or 21.85 percent and a total cash flow savings of $2,485,000 over the life of the bonds. Although this savings does not currently help the District’s maintenance and operations budget, it does reduce the amount of debt service the District currently carries.

Also at our September School Board meeting, information was shared regarding our 2015-2016 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) rating. We were very pleased to report that WOCCISD received a Superior Rating which is the highest rating available. We work very hard to maximize district dollars while at the same time providing outstanding educational services with highly qualified staff through programs that meet and exceed state and federal guidelines. Our vision is to empower lives through excellence every day!

This week, in appreciation of our internal community and in an effort to support staff retention, surprise bonuses were awarded to WOC employees who returned for the 2016-2017 school year. We are grateful for their experience, their commitment to our students, and their support of the district. Thank you for all that you do.

We also want to say thank you to the Orange, West Orange, and Pinehurst communities for all of the support given to our Stallion and Mustang athletes this fall. We look forward to seeing you and the greater Orange County community in the stands as the Mustang advance into the state football playoffs!

As contemporary author John Maxwell said, “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

Go Mustangs!

Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD