San Marcos - Buda - Kyle | October 2020

SANMARCOS BUDA KYLE EDITION

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 6  OCT. 12NOV. 8, 2020

ONLINE AT

2020Voter Guide

Hays, Kyle voters to decide on $122 million in bonds Early voting for the Nov. 3 gen- eral election begins this week, which means area residents will be able to vote on a $75 million Hays County bond, and combined with that, Kyle residents will consider an additional $47 million for two bonds. The two bond propositions in Kyle will provide $37 million for the con- struction of a new public safety center for the city’s police department as well as $10 million for a regional sportsplex and festival grounds. However, that bond could resurface for a vote in 2021. Despite the pandemic and eco- nomic uncertainty, ocials from Hays County and the city of Kyle were con- dent the timing was right for their bond propositions. BY WARREN BROWN

IMPACTS

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SanMarcos transportation study advances

A fourth bond proposal for $217.3 million was canceled in August by the Hays CISD school board due to con- cerns about how the coronavirus pan- demic would aect district nances.

“We’re now to a point where the deci- sion needs to be made whether or not we’re going to invest in the commu- nity,” Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said.

The Hays County bond, if passed, will create new parks, trails and con- servation areas across the county.

BREAKDOWN BOND

TRANSPORTATION

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Early voting for the general election is Oct. 13-30, and Election Day is Nov. 3. Hays County will present a parks bond to voters, and the city of Kyle has two bonds on the ballot for its residents. SOURCES: CITY OF KYLE, HAYS COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

VOTER GUIDE 2020

HAYS COUNTY

CITY OF KYLE

INSIDE 26

INSIDE 27

Hays County POSAC (Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission) bond

Kyle Proposition A—public safety center bond

Kyle Proposition B— parks bond

$75 MILLION

$37 MILLION $10 MILLION

BOND ELECTIONS SAMPLE BALLOT

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to expand the county’s parks, trails and nature preserves

to build a centralized police department and emergency operations center

to upgrade two parks and build a sportsplex and festival ground

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THE ART OF GETTING BY An August report on the pandemic’s eect examines unemployment in January and May 2020 for performing artists, such as musicians, and nonperforming artists, such as painters.

Local artists,musiciansderive strategies forpandemic losses

CASA CHOI

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BY BRIAN RASH

PERFORMING ARTISTS

JAN. MAY XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Musician Jill Holecheck said she does not consider sing- ing in two bands her career, but estimates that prior to the pandemic, she derived about 30% of her annual income from paying gigs. Holecheck, who until August lived in San Marcos before moving to Austin, said she and her other bandmates have discussed virtual concerts as well as yard concerts up in Austin that have become more popular lately, but as yet she CONTINUED ON 34

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NONPERFORMING ARTISTS

2.7%

JAN. MAY

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SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR’S CURRENT POPULATION SURVEY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SAN MARCOS - BUDA - KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 11 Upcoming and ongoing road projects EDUCATION BRIEFS 15 News from local school districts CITY& COUNTY 19 The latest local information

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Heather Demere, hdemere@communityimpact.com EDITOR Brian Rash

FROMHEATHER: Fall is among us, complete with a nice drop in temperatures. Enjoy this last month of daylight saving time as we fall back to much earlier sunsets starting Nov. 1. In this issue we have included a sample ballot. Early voting begins Oct. 13, and residents may vote at any location in Hays County depending on residence. In that spirit, we have also included a noncomprehensive list of polling locations throughout the county. Included in this edition, read Reporter Warren Brown’s thorough examination of two major bond proposals on the ballot this November totaling more than $120 million for facilities and park improvements. Heather Demere, GENERALMANAGER

SENIOR REPORTER Warren Brown GRAPHIC DESIGNER Rachal Russell ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Adrian Martinez METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Travis Baker MANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON

2020VoterGuide

SAMPLE BALLOT

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County and school district races BOND ELECTIONS Breakdown of bond proposals POLLING LOCATIONS Where to vote in Hays County

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FROMBRIAN: In this issue you will nd an extensive sample ballot for all of the races and bond proposals voters in Hays County will see at the polls. But the election coverage goes much farther than this print edition. Our online coverage of key November races is extensive. It includes question and answer posts from candidates in races for San Marcos CISD, Buda City Council, Kyle City Council, Hays County Commissioner and several more. Those posts can all be accessed through our website, communityimpact.com/vote. Brian Rash, EDITOR

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DAILY INBOX

CORRECTION: Volume 10, Issue 5 In the October issue, the front-page article on Hays CISD and San Marcos CISD originally stated SMCISD had extended remote learning for all students to eight weeks. This should have said the timeline was extended four weeks to Oct. 5, with an option to extend another four weeks after that if approved by the school board.

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

IMPACTS

COMPILED BY WARREN BROWN & BRIAN RASH

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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COURTESY TEXAS BEAN AND BREW HOUSE

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IN THE NEWS 4 JCPenney , which has a San Mar- cos location at 800 Barnes Drive, is expected to enter into a $1.75 billion sale agreement with commercial real estate companies Simon Property Group and Brookeld Property Partners. The sale is expected to move Plano-based JCPenney out of bankruptcy and prevent liquidation of its assets, according to news announced in a Sept. 9 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. “Simon, Brookeld, the lenders, and the company, the creditors committee are all committed to moving this forward quickly and saving JCPen- ney as we know it,” said Joshua Sussberg of Kirkland and Ellis law rm, which is representing JCPenney in this process. 512-392-6860. www.jcpenney.com 5 St. David’s HealthCare added a texting service in September to provide families of surgical patients with up- dates. Given the coronavirus pandemic, visitations and waiting room capacity are limited. The service will provide families with a unique code allowing them to receive automated texts when the sur- gery begins, when the patient leaves the operating room, and when the patient is ready for outpatient services or is set to be discharged. St. David’s has seven hospitals across Central Texas, including its San Marcos location at 1330 Wonder World Dr., Ste. B104. 512-341-6414. www.stdavids.com CLOSINGS 6 River Rose Boutique closed its store at 105 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos at

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NOWOPEN 1 The Root Cellar , located at 215 N. LBJ Drive, San Marcos, has reopened for curbside pickup and delivery only and for the time being will forego dine-in accommodations. According to owner Kyle Mylius, patio dining will become available in the near future. The estab- lishment closed due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic March 20 and reopened Sept. 8. The upscale casual dining restaurant uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients and under- went a kitchen remodel while closed. House specialties include dishes such as

3 Texas Bean and Brew House , locat- ed at 1328 N. I-35, San Marcos, celebrat- ed its one-year anniversary Sept. 20. The establishment serves craft coee, beer, burgers, pizza and tacos, and it oers healthy menu items as well as to-go items and pastries. Menu items include B&B Loaded Chips, fried pickle spears, loaded chicken taquitos, beer-battered pollock tacos, chipotle BBQ pulled pork tacos, various kinds of pizza, muns, pies, cake and more. Texas Bean & Brew House also serves numerous varieties of coee and beer. 512-214-8101. www.texasbeanandbrewhouse.com

Bourbon Pecan Chicken and the Salmon Fillet with Balsamic Glaze. 512-392-5158.

www.rootcellarcafe.com ANNIVERSARIES

2 Central Texas nance company C orri- dor Title , which has oces in San Marcos, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary Oct. 25. Corridor Title, which closes real estate deals and provides title insurance for change of ownership for its clients, is lo- cated at 133 W. San Antonio St., Ste. 100, San Marcos, and also has oces in Austin and Dripping Springs. 512-392-8910. www.corridortitleco.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Galaxy Bicycle Shop in SanMarcos is having diculties keeping inventory. HEATHER DEMERECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Central Texas outdoor recreation shops scrambling to keep inventory

San Mercado is located at the Price Center & Garden.

COURTESY PRICE CENTER

the end of August after opening Sept. 2, 2016. It was owner Chelsea Rogers’ second location. The rst location was opened in New Braunfels in July 2014 and remains open, as does another location in Lubbock. River Rose Boutique sells women’s clothing, jewelry, accesso- ries and home goods. Rogers’ husband, Randy Rogers, is the frontman of the Randy Rogers Band. 830-302-7488 www.shopriverrose.com RediClinic , owned by Rite Aid, closed all A Sept. 25 release from the Price Center states San Mercado’s second Saturday spot will include live music from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Shoppers will also have access to the center’s new SHOP 1893, which will feature a variety of heavily discounted items. The release states admission to San Mercado is free and open to the public, and a limited number of vendor spaces are available for $20 outside and $30 inside. The monthly market FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN San Mercado , a popular market space for local vendors, will return Oct. 10 to a regular slot from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Price Center & Garden, located at 222 W. San Antonio St., San Marcos.

improve if COVID-19-related lockdowns diminish, Giant, which Maron and others said is the largest bicycle distributor in the world, had crippling rst quarter sales for 2020 once China began locking down. Now, local shops are reporting likely shipping delays of popular models until as late as December or January 2021. Paul Culverwell, a sales associate at The Peddler Bicycle Shop’s West Parmer Lane location in Austin, said some shipments of bikes from their distributors that include Giant and Canondale are on hold until as far as May 2021, and Erin Mikrut, an employee at The Chain Link Bicycle Shop in New Braunfels, said the issue has hit her shop as well. At Galaxy Bicycles, Baron said the shop’s normal inventory amounts to roughly 300 bikes in stock. He added that includes an approximate amount of about 170 on the showroom oor at any given time. “Right now, we have less than 10 bikes [in the shop],” he said.

BY BRIAN RASH

When combined with temporary state restrictions due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, many local bicycle shop owners are speculating a perfect storm of low supply and high demand is the main reason for changes in an industry that has of late been turned on its head. Besides customer demand, many major distributors have had to temporarily pause production around the start of the pandemic, and sales orders are still barely trickling in to local shops. “Every industry that’s outdoor related has been sucked dry,” said Casey Maron, a bike mechanic for Galaxy Bicycles in San Marcos. Maron said major global bicycle distributors, such as Specialized, Canondale and Giant, with which Galaxy Bicycles is partnered, have many local shops waiting months until they can receive new ship- ments of popular models. A May 15 report from trade publication Bicycle Retailer and Industry News stated even though production and revenue could

is in part funded through grants from the San Marcos Arts Commission, and proceeds from booth rentals benet the Price Center, which is operated by the Greater San Marcos Area Seniors Association, according to the release. 512-392-2900. www.price-center.org

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of its Texas clinics Aug. 13 and moved to a new business model focused on tele- medicine. Rite Aid Virtual Care, powered by RediClinic, connects patients with board-certied clinicians. According to the company’s website, RAVC clinicians can diagnose and treat common medical conditions. They can also write and elec- tronically send prescriptions. RediClinic had 36 Texas locations across 21 cities before the closures. 833-423-7334. www.rediclinic.com

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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4 A new Marco’s Pizza location in Buda has already broken ground and is aiming to open sometime in November, according to co-owner Ryan Wagner, who said the location will be at 1245 Main St., Ste. 210, Buda. Wagner said the restaurant will be a quick-serve restaurant and will deliver. Popular on Marco’s menu are the All Meat, Pepper- oni Magnico and White Cheezy pizzas. 512-400-3045. www.marcos.com 5 Development company Sparrow Partners announced it has broken ground in early October on an active adult com- munity in the Plum Creek development, located one block west of I-35 in Kyle. A press release from Sparrow Partners states Sage Plum Creek will be a 185-unit community with resort-style amenities and a daily schedule of events including happy hours, wine tastings and tness classes. The release states the rst resi- dents should be able to move into units at the 6-acre property, located at 1075 Vaughn St., Kyle, toward the end of 2021, and then more units will continue to open up after that. 512-391-1789. www.plumcreektx.com CLOSINGS 6 The owners of Two Wheel Brewing Co. , located at 535 S. Loop 4, Buda, announced via social media Sept. 2 that they have decided to close the busi- ness permanently. The announcement is conrmed on the brewing compa- ny’s website. Information from Two Wheel Brewing Co. states it had been in business for four years before having to shutter its doors. 512-361-3401. www.twowheelbrewing.com

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NOWOPEN 1 Kids Tooth Team opened Sept. 15 at 1245 Main St., Bldg. B2, Ste. 300, Buda. The pediatric dentistry team provides a fun and engaging environment for its patients with the goal of keeping chil- dren happy and healthy. Kids Tooth Team specializes in gentle preventive care and minimally invasive restorative services. Personalized care is also available for patients with disabilities, health con- cerns and sensory issues. 512-355-7030. www.kidstoothteam.com

COMING SOON 3 Lowe’s has signed a lease to occupy a signicant portion of Kyle Crossing Business Park with a 120,000-square-foot distribution center. This is according to a press release from Plum Creek, a 2,200- acre, master-planned community one block west of I-35 that contains the Kyle Crossing Business Park, located at 1980 Kohlers Crossing, Kyle. Terry Mitchell, who oversees development at Plum Creek through the company Momark, said he anticipates the distribution center will be open by the end of 2020. www.lowes.com

2 On June 6, Texas State Optical opened a location at 1245 Main St., Ste. 330, Buda. The rst Texas State Optical opened in Beaumont, Texas, in 1936 and has opened dozens of locations across the Lone Star State. In addition to selling prescription glass- es and contact lenses, the company’s optometrists provide eye exams; visual eld testing; retinal and corneal screen- ing; and referral and postoperative care for cataract surgery, glaucoma or other surgeries. 512-398-3553 www.tsosouthaustinbuda.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY WARREN BROWN & BRIAN RASH

REGIONAL IMPACTS COMING SOON 1 Dripping Springs restaurant Roll- ing in Thyme and Dough announced Aug. 15 that it is preparing to open a new drive-thru location on the corner of RR 12 and Fitzhugh Road north of the city later this fall. The restaurant’s original location, which sells homemade breads and serves breakfast dishes, sandwiches, soups and desserts, is located at 333 W. Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs, and will continue to be open. 512-894-0001. www.thymeanddough.com RELOCATIONS 2 Cowgirls and Lace —which relocated to a new Dripping Springs storefront last winter before closing in the spring due to COVID-19 re- strictions—celebrated a ribbon-cut- ting and reopening ceremony for the space at 1111 W. Hwy. 290 with the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 18. The boutique sells home goods including small furniture, pillows, candles, fragranc- es, fabrics and window treatments and has been in the Dripping Springs area since 1993. The store is open

and is also continuing to sell prod- ucts online. 512-894-0350. www.cowgirlsandlace.com IN THE NEWS 3 Crepe Crazy , a Dripping Springs- based restaurant, is planning to ex- pand outside Texas. The deaf-owned and -operated business announced Aug. 27 it will be opening in Balti- more, Maryland, later this year. The original Crepe Crazy is located at 660 W. Hwy. 290, Ste. B, Dripping Springs, and a second restaurant has operated at 3103 S. Lamar Blvd. in South Austin since 2015. 512-524-3198. www.crepecrazy.com FITZHUGH RD.

Marcela Kourkova has been creating murals and art throughout Buda.

COURTESY MARCELA KOURKOVA

FEATURED IMPACT IN THE NEWS Several businesses throughout Buda have been receiving aesthetic boosts thanks to local artist Marcela Kourkova, who has been painting and drawing murals at participating establishments. Kourkova, an elementary school art teacher, has created art and murals at three local businesses in Buda. She said via a press release the rst mural she did was for Esther’s Tex Mex Restaurant, located at 1 210 Main St. Another project features Kourkova creating a chalk mural every rst Saturday of the month at The Carrington

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House, located at 2 300 Main St. Kourkova also completed a mural at Mill & Grain, located at 3 306 S. Main St. Reach Kourkova at 512-586-4369 marcelastudio@yahoo.com

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES City’s study on future transportation needs keeps advancing

COMPILED BY WARREN BROWN

ONGOING PROJECTS

WHAT COMES NEXT FOR THE STUDY The planning study will provide recommendations for three transportation corridors and create guidance for potential hot spots for future mixed-use developments.

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Kicked o in spring 2020, the San Marcos Platinum Planning Study’s intent is to create recommendations on how to plan the growth of trans- portation corridors in a way that improves connectivity, respects the character of San Marcos and fosters mixed-use developments. The city of San Marcos and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization continued to make progress on their study in September during a virtual open house they created to give the public an avenue to provide feedback and communi- ty-sourced data. Population growth was one of the catalysts for the report, which projects a 267% increase in the city’s population by 2045, according to the presentation made for the study. The study focuses on three transportation corridors: Guadalupe Street/SH 123, SH 80/Hopkins road

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CAMPO San Marcos Study Corridors area CAMPO San Marcos Centers Study area Guadalupe and Hopkins corridors North-South Connector

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Downtown/city government complex Midtown Center Medical Center

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Construction continues on Hopkins Street between Scott Street and Johnson Avenue. The second phase of the project is expected to begin in November and will span from Johnson to Bishop Street. Temporary speed re- ductions from 30 mph to 25 mph were implemented Sept. 25 on Belvin Street and San Antonio Street. Timeline: May 2020-summer 2022 Cost: $10.1 million Funding sources: city of San Marcos, CAMPO

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SOURCES: CITY OF SAN MARCOS, CAMPOCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

DISCOVER Introduce project and gather initial input

EVALUATE Analyze input to develop preliminary concepts

RECOMMEND Gather input on preliminary concepts and rene plan

REPORT Finalize concepts and implementation plans and share nal report

Spring/summer 2020

Summer 2020

Fall 2020

Winter/spring 2021

and the North-South Connector East of I-35. Another portion of the study focuses on areas under consider- ation for mixed-use developments, or activity centers. Three of these centers include government build- ings along Hopkins Street between downtown San Marcos and I-35,

a Midtown Center and a Medical Center within the Medical District east of I-35. The next phase of the project will involve nalizing concepts and implementation plans for a report that will be shared sometime this winter or in spring of 2021.

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF OCT. 1. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SBKNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. had deteriorated and was replaced, and utility crossings were potholed. Timeline: July-October 2020 Cost: $850,000 Funding source: city of San Marcos University Drive in San Marcos Construction on University Drive on the edge of the Texas State University campus was expected to be completed by Oct. 30 but could conclude sooner, according to Project Manager Shaun Condor. An existing wastewater main

I35 at Posey Road project continueswork Phase 3 of construction is

The northbound and south- bound frontage roads were converted from two-way to one-way, and the northbound I-35 York Creek Road entrance ramp, Centerpoint Road exit and the southbound I-35 Posey Road exit are now open. Timeline: February 2019-late 2021 Cost: $31.7 million Funding sources: city of San Marcos, CAMPO

underway for this project, and crews have shifted southbound I-35 trac to the center portion of the overpass. Construction on the southbound side of the overpass is ongoing. Posey Road to the east and west of I-35 is being widened to align the roadway underneath the future overpass and will include designated right-turn lanes to and from the frontage road.

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CASES MISSING The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations for Hays County residents came under ocial scrutiny in July, which led to the discovery of 160 hospitalizations that went unreported by the county until Sept. 24. These hospitalizations occurred earlier in the year and were not active when they were announced.

350

Hospitalization discrepancy reported by Hays County.

300

250

Hays County discovers hospitalization data discrepancy.

200

Rep. Erin Zwiener begins public inquiry into hospitalizations.

150

100

50

160 previously unreported hospitalizations are added to Hays County’s COVID-19 reporting.

0

SOURCE: HAYS COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

JULY 3 NOT REPORTED BECAUSE OF THE JULY 4TH HOLIDAY.

HEALTH CARE

160 Hays County COVID19 hospitalizations unreported for months On Sept. 23, there were 180 total reported hospitalizations of Hays County residents due to the corona- virus. On Sept. 24, that gure jumped to 341—an 89.44% increase. Ascension Seton hospitals were not tallied as a COVID-19 hospitalization in reports to the county unless testing for the virus was conducted by the BY WARREN BROWN about the discrepancy without going into the hospitals to perform their own assessments. He also said the hospital conrmed to the county that it was providing all the data it was required to report. “Hays County—the entity that’s hospital, according to Hilsenbeck, who added that was Hays County’s understanding of the situation.

of county-level hospitalizations also has a direct impact on public policy, Hilsenbeck said. “Should we reopen restaurants? Can we bring students back to schools? Can we open businesses? Those critical pieces of information, like hospitalization cases, are all fac- tored into those types of decisions,” Hilsenbeck said. “... I know that the factors that they’re using at the state—it’s the same ones that we’re talking about here.” In September, Gov. Greg Abbott used the ratio of COVID-19 hospi- talizations to non-COVID-19 hospi- talizations at the regional level to declare whether some hospitals could provide elective procedures. He used the same ratio for nursing homes and allowances for their visitors. Broken up over six months—roughly the time between the rst reported case in Hays County and when the reporting issue was discovered—there were an average of 26.66 unreported hospitalizations each month. How- ever, they would likely be skewed toward June and July when the county witnessed a large surge. Seton, which operates hospitals throughout the Austin metropolitan area, did not address questions from Community Impact Newspaper about whether the same discrepancies appear in hospitalization numbers reported in other counties.

The sudden addition of 161 hos- pitalizations was not due to a new surge in serious cases, but was instead an update issued by Hays County to account for a discrepancy in how a regional medical system recorded COVID-19 hospitalizations and how the county interpreted the data, according to Hays County Communi- cations Manager KimHilsenbeck. “There is a distinction or a dier- ence between what the hospital is interpreting as its legal obligation and what we would like in terms of numbers. We want to express the reality,” said Mark Kennedy, general counsel for Hays County. “The legislative obligation, or the statutory obligation, that the hospital has is dierent than that, and they’ve expressed that.” The number of Hays County residents currently hospitalized was unaected by the update, and the reporting of COVID-19 deaths was not aected by the issue, Hilsenbeck said. One of the hospitalizations reported Sept. 24 was a current case. From the beginning of the pan- demic until mid- to late August, Hays County residents admitted to

reporting those numbers to the pub- lic—doesn’t just want compliance,” Kennedy said. “We want to reect reality.” Hilsenbeck said the COVID-19 hospitalizations went unreported to local health ocials until the mis- communication between Seton and the county was recognized following public inquiries made by state Rep. Erin Zwiener, DDriftwood, in July. Zwiener had acquired hospital data from Seton with discrepancies distinct from the ones reported Sept. 24. Community Impact Newspaper learned of the unreported hospital- izations in mid-September and was working to verify the information when the county released the update. While a clear picture of county hospitalizations is beginning to come into focus, the impact of them going unreported is still murky. “The reason these numbers are so important is because they are how Hays County residents make decisions based on what levels of risk they can accept in their day-to-day life,” Zwiener said. Having an accurate understanding

Ascension Seton provided the following statement: “Ascension Seton reports cumulative numbers of hospi- talizations to the Texas Department of State Health Services. This is done by reporting daily admissions, hospital- izations and deaths to EMResources. Hays County and all other counties have access to their respective county information at the state level. At the request of Hays County, Ascension Seton currently provides a daily report with this information to Hays County.” Kennedy said it would have been impossible for the county to know “THE REASON THESE NUMBERS ARE SO IMPORTANT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE HOWHAYS COUNTY RESIDENTS MAKE DECISIONS BASED ONWHAT LEVELS OF RISK THEY CAN ACCEPT IN THEIR DAYTODAY LIFE.” STATE REP. ERIN ZWIENER, DDRIFTWOOD

13

SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from San Marcos CISD

COMPILED BY BRIAN RASH

SanMarcos CISD calls joint electionwith Guadalupe County SANMARCOS CISD Officials on the San Marcos CISD board of trustees called for a joint election with Guadalupe County during their Sept. 21 regular meeting. The election will be for SMCISD’s single-member District 1 position and takes place Nov. 3. Incumbent Miguel Arredondo is running against challenger James Bryant Jr. for that seat. Arredondo is also running for mayor of San Marcos. He said he can technically run for both because the SMCISD election was originally slated to be in May but was postponed due to the pandemic. If he wins both, he said and Hays County verified, he would then have to choose which office to hold. Early voting for the election begins Oct. 13, and there are no other races taking place within the district for the November election.

SanMarcos CISDboard votes against temporary raise for hourly employees

time-and-a-half pay to some employees. Barton said the district used an overtime pay function, and it did not come close to the amount the current proposal seeks. Officials voted 4-2 against the raise during the Sept. 21 board of trustees meeting, with trustees Arredondo and Anne Halsey voting for the pay increase. SOURCE: SAN MARCOS CISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER SMCISD’s fund balance as of mid-September $ 14.65 million RAISE The rejected pay raise was deemed not feasible by the district’s finance department. $ 2 Proposed pay increase for roughly 600 San Marcos CISD hourly employees $ 114400,,000000 Estimated monthly cost to implement the raise /HOUR NO ROOM FOR A

SANMARCOS CISD Hourly employees at San Marcos CISD were looking at a proposed temporary $2 per hour pay bump starting Oct. 1, but the district’s budget cannot currently bear that increase. This is according to James Barton, SMCISD’s assistant superintendent of business and support services, who said so far there is not a fiscally feasible path to execute the increase. The move would cost an addi- tional $140,000 per month in payroll expenditures to implement, Barton said, adding that is not even the proposal’s biggest hurdle. One of the most serious chal- lenges is that the district modifies salaries for its annual employees so they receive a consistent check on months with fewer work days such as November and December and through the summer, he said. “The $2 additional is paying for hours that they will actually receive

later,” Barton said. “It doesn’t all work out to be in the same month, and that simply is not functional with our system.” Another reason the proposal was inoperable for the district was that it carried with it an open-ended date for termination. Therefore, Barton said, the district could not make the temporary pay hike compatible with its budgetary computer software. “Our payroll personnel has been working hard on this for two months ... and I’ll tell you right now we don’t have an avenue toward implementing this,” Barton said. The district’s fund balance, or its revenues minus expenditures, as of mid-September stood at $14.65 million, Barton said, adding SMCISD is making a slow climb into collect- ing revenue for the 2021 fiscal year. Trustee Miguel Arredondo asked how it was possible that earlier this year, the district was able to provide

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SAN MARCOS - BUDA - KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Hays CISD & San Marcos CISD

Hays CISD Oct. 19 and 26 at 5:30 p.m. 512-268-2141 • www.hayscisd.net San Marcos CISD Oct. 5 at noon and Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. • 512-393-6700 www.smcisd.net Visit each CISD’s website for information on virtual meetings. MEETINGSWE COVER extend Superintendent Eric Wright's contract through 2025—a one year extension over his previous contract. Wright also received an 18% increase to his compensation package, which brought it to market value, an HCISD spokesperson said. SANMARCOS CISD District principals are working to balance student numbers in each class, which could be up to 17 students with special dividers installed. District staff said there are averages that would trigger campus action regarding positive COVID-19 cases. Those are three cases per classroom, a 10% positivity rate per campus and three campuses totaling a 10% positivity rate or higher. HAYS CISD The Hays CISD board of trustees voted unanimously Sept. 28 to

Hays CISD approves pay plan, districtwide raise

BY WARREN BROWN

the district guaranteed drivers at least eight hours of work per day, up from five. Referral incentives of $50 were added to the plan for all employees. Stadium managers received a 25% pay bump, from $10,000 to $12,500, and a sports coverage stipend of $6,000 was also added to the compensation plan.

“These are positions that we’ve had a very hard time filling, and again, you know, pay is not always the most competitive, and they have options and choice, but they choose to stay in Hays CISD,” said Marivel Sedillo, HCISD chief human resources officer, during the board’s Sept. 21 meeting. The minimum hourly pay for bus drivers increased to $17.01. In June,

HAYS CISD The Hays CISD board of trustees voted unanimously Sept. 28 to approve a new district compensation plan that included recommendations for retention incentives for some departments and a 1% increase to all employee compensations. The increases come on top of the 2% increase approved by the board in June. “We cannot pay teachers their worth—we cannot pay our auxiliary staff their worth—because we don’t have billions and billions of dollars,” board President Esperanza Orosco said Sept. 21. “But if we can make some kind of adjustment to really help get our people where they need to be, I think that’ll be amazing.” The cost of the compensation plan totaled $1.8 million and will come out of the district’s budget. Custodial and child nutrition staff will receive $250 in incentives in December and May to improve retention.

IMPROVING DISTRICT COMPENSATION

Retention bonus for

$500

1%

custodial and nutrition staff

Raise districtwide

$1.8 million COST

$17.01

$50

On top of the 2% raise authorized in June, HCISD employees will receive the following benefits and pay increases:

Minimum rate for bus drivers

Referral incentive

Raise for stadium managers

Sports coverage stipend

$2,500

$6,000

SOURCE: HAYS CISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SAN MARCOS - BUDA - KYLE EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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