Jon Long is leaving Eldorado after two successful years as the SCISD athletic director and head football coach. He was on hand Monday evening for the SCISD board meeting where Board President Kurtis Homer told him that the board would reluctantly accept his resignation and that of his wife Stephanie, an elementary teacher. Their resignations become effective at the end of the school year.

Long said later that he is leaving to take a job at Caddo Mills ISD where he will serve as an assistant coach. He noted that he is making the move to be closer to family. Long added that his wife Stephanie has been accepted into nursing school at University of Texas at Arlington.

Long served as athletic director and the Eagles’ head football coach for two seasons, taking the football team into the State 2A playoffs each year. In 2020, the Eagles won a Bi-District game over Iola but had to forfeit the Area round playoff game to D’Hanis due to COVID-19. In 2021, the Warbirds advanced to the Regional semi-final game before losing to Falls City.

Long thanked the board for supporting him during his time in Eldorado.

The board also accepted the resignation of Finance Director Ray Ballew after 23 years on the job and thanked him for his service.

Superintendent Robert Gibson expressed his appreciation to Ray Ballew, praising his dedication and integrity. For his part, Ballew said he wanted to clear up rumors that he was taking early retirement, noting that at the age of 77 it shouldn’t be considered early.

The business of the school district continued, however, and so it was Monday night when it was announced that Lynn Holsey will succeed Ballew as finance director. She has worked as an executive assitant at SCISD for 10 years. Prior to that, she spent 20 years at Lovelady ISD in east Texas.

Solar Projects Abound

Two more solar farm projects were pitched to SCISD trustees during Monday night’s meeting including a 3,500-acre, $588 million project in southeast Schleicher County. The project, known as 12-Mile Solar is planned for an area southwest of Fort McKavett and adjacent to County Road 245.

The second project, tentatively named Altus, is proposed in and around the area currently occupied by the Live Oak Windfarm in northern Schleicher County. That project carries an estimated price tag of $630 million, with 90% of it planned inside Schleicher County. The remaining 10% extends into Tom Green County.

The SCISD trustees voted to accept an application from 12-Mile Solar for an “Appraised Value Limitation Agreement,” perhaps better known as a tax abatement. The district received a $75,000 application fee, two-thirds of which will go to cover the cost of consultants and attorney fees.

The Altus project was not ready to file an application at the meeting, but Superintendent Gibson expects the need for a special meeting before the end of May so that the application can be filed ahead of a state deadline.

The two solar projects join two other already in the works for SCISD, including the $300 million Bridgelink Cave Springs project, 40% of which is planned for an area just west of County Road 320 (Harkey Lane) in the northwest part of the county.

And, just last month, school trustees accepted a tax abatement application from Photosol/Engie for a 200 megawatt solar project valued at $327 million.

That project is also planned for northern Schleicher County.

The trustees heard from Eric Barnett and Mark Ellison, representing 12-Mile Solar and Altus, respectively. They each explained that supply chain issues, particularly with getting solar panels and other equipment from China, could delay the projects by as much as two years.

Routine Items

The school trustees also handled several items of routine business, including the oath of office being administered to Kurtis Homer and Melissa Rodriguez.

The board then elected Homer, Glyn Hutto and Michelle Mynatt to serve as its president, vice president and secretary, respectively.

Lynn Holsey delivered her first financial report to the board. She noted that the district has an overall fund balance of just over $6.5 million with $4.1 million of that being committed for capital improvements.

The trustees also approved a “shared services” agreement with Education Service Center XV and reviewed the estimated appraised tax roll for 2022.

Jon Long updated the trustees on Eagles athletic achievements in recent weeks and the three campus principals outlined activity on their individual campuses as the final weeks of the school year start to wind down.

The board approved a renewal of SCISD’s application to be a “District of Innovation.” They also went behind closed doors for an executive session to discuss personnel matters and school district facilities under the designation of real property. The board returned to open session without taking action on either matter.

The school board has been considering the construction of a new elementary school for many years. After adjourning Monday night’s meeting, the trustees toured the elementary campus to get a first hand look at the condition of the facilities.

Board President Kurtis Homer presided over Monday night’s meeting with trustees Sam Luedecke, Fidel Herrera, Melissa Rodriguez, Glyn Hutto, Michelle Mynatt and Lupe Sanchez in attendance.

The next meeting of the SCISD board of trustees is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, June, 13th in the district’s board room.