Texas Border Business
PHARR, Texas – Notably kicking off the start of a new month, the start of summer vacation for most schoolchildren and district employees, and the beginning of pioneering projects to further strengthen the partnership and community connection between the City of Pharr and the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, the entities formalized their respective commitments by signing interlocal agreements.
Broadband Access for ALL Households with PSJA Students
In 2019, the City of Pharr was identified as the “worst connected city” in the United States by the National Digitial Inclusion Alliance, a disadvantage made even more disparate during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which students lacked reliable broadband internet service at home to facilitate distance learning. To address this issue on a wide-scale basis, in 2021, the City of Pharr initiated TeamPharr.net, and is now poised as an internet service provider throughout PSJA ISD’s service area, including all school district facilities and buildings.
Under this agreement, the City of Pharr will provide households containing one or more PSJA ISD students within the PSJA ISD jurisdictional boundaries with reliable broadband internet service by TeamPharr.net; PSJA will assume the cost of the delivery of the broadband internet service subscription at a rate of $50 per household per month.
“This innovative idea to bridge the digital divide and give our students the fair access to fast, reliable broadband internet service that they deserve will provide PSJA ISD families and students with the resources and tools they need to connect to the world. This gives them a better chance to succeed… in school, in work, and in life,” said Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D.
“Our job as educators and leaders in our district is to think outside the box, to come together and share ideas, and to provide these types of opportunities so that together we are coming up with real solutions to address a critical need to give our students the best chance in life,” said PSJA ISD Board President Cynthia Gutierrez.
Amendment to Natatorium Agreement
The City of Pharr and PSJA ISD have been in a Lease and Joint Use and Management Agreement since November of 2021. This First Amendment changes the original title to Joint Use and Management Agreement. The First Amendment also makes the PSJA ISD and the City equal partners in the development and construction of the Natatorium as well as shared revenues and expenses for the joint creation of an Aquatics Program. PSJA ISD now will be named on the title of the property where the Natatorium is located.
“We have forged a more strengthened partnership and can work together towards our joint goal of developing and establishing an Aquatics Program in our city. We are now equal partners – each entity now has equal access, equal shared costs and revenues, and a shared responsibility to ensure the safety and success of the Natatorium and the Aquatics Program,” said Hernandez. “Thank you to my colleagues on the Pharr City Commission and to the PSJA ISD Board of Trustees and leadership for your role and support in moving this project forward,” he added.