McAllen schools awarded federal funds for school violence prevention

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez announced Tuesday schools across the 15th District of Texas will receive a total of $1,493,168 federal funds, thanks to the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act. Funded in order to improve school security so students and teachers have access to tools to recognize, quickly respond, and prevent acts of violence, STOP was co-sponsored by Gonzalez in 2018.  “We need to do all that we can to give students and teachers the resources they need to identify potentially harmful scenarios and prevent school violence,” Gonzalez said in a press release.  Visit themonitor.com for the full story.

Librarian awarded $1,000 prize, plans to use it for books

PHARR — A local elementary school librarian will be awarded a monetary prize from H-E-B. Linda Hinojosa, a librarian at Berta Palacios Elementary, will be awarded $1,000 through the H-E-B Read 3 program. The money will be used to purchase books for students during campus literacy events. “I was surprised when I received the news on our most recent prize, but I was also extremely happy,” Hinojosa said in a news release. “I would like to thank our PSJA Library Director Mrs. Nora Galvan for the support she has shown me. She has always encouraged librarians to apply for grants that will benefit our students.” Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Weslaco elementary school receives health grant

WESLACO — National nonprofit organization Project Fit America has chosen Cleckler-Heald Elementary in Weslaco to receive a grant to encourage a more physical lifestyle...

Sam Houston Elementary’s fictional town comes to life for students

For a fictional town, Houstonville was awfully busy Wednesday morning. Held at Sam Houston Elementary in South McAllen, Houstonville is part of McAllen ISD’s Minitropolis program, which partners elementary schools with local businesses to provide students realistic financial and civic experience in a creative setting. Minitropolis is now in its 23rd year at Sam Houston and is held in six McAllen ISD schools. For about an hour a week for the rest of the school year, classrooms in Houston Elementary will put up signs and stock their shelves with wares. Students will work as store clerks and postal carriers and bank tellers, city councilmembers and newspaper hawkers and police officers, exchanging faux currency for stuff donated by local businesses and parents. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

UTRGV announces large-scale free tuition program

Beginning in the fall of 2020, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will cover tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying students with a family income of $75,000 or less through the Tuition Advantage grant. UTRGV President Guy Bailey made the official announcement in the crowded lobby of the Performing Arts Center on Monday morning. Read more on the monitor.com.

UTRGV announces free tuition for qualifying students with $75,000 and under household income

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley announced Monday that it will be offering free tuition to certain students with annual household incomes of $75,000 and under, beginning for the 2020 academic year. UTRGV President Guy Bailey made the announcement during a news conference inside the Edinburg campus' Performing Arts Center lobby Monday morning, calling the new tuition program the "most expansive" in the state, and will be available to qualifying incoming, returning and transfer students. The impact of which, Bailey said, is expected to lead to more than half of the university's students paying no tuition by next year. Read the full story on themonitor.com.

Judge requests more evidence in McAllen schools election contest

EDINBURG — After about two hours of oral arguments, District Judge Romeo Flores on Wednesday requested that more evidence be presented with regard to a McAllen school district election contest before making a decision. This allows for the attorneys to move forward with finding evidence. Gina Karam Millin filed a petition for an election contest in June against school board member Tony Forina, following a closely contested race in May in which he defeated her by 12 votes in the race for Place 4. Read more at the monitor.com.

Hearing set in McAllen ISD election contest

A hearing is set Wednesday for the election contest between Gina Karam Millin and Tony Forina with regard to McAllen ISD’s May election, the latest action in a relatively quiet dispute. Filed through her attorney, Ronald Hole, in June, Karam Millin alleges in the petition that McAllen ISD “systematically promoted” Forina, who defeated her for the Place 4 seat in the election by 12 votes — 2,759 votes to 2,747. She also charges that a curriculum audit that would have been “very damaging,” according to the petition, was not released until after the election.

Former Monte Alto ISD employee sues district, trustees over firing

A former employee is challenging his dismissal from the Monte Alto Independent School District, alleging he was wrongfully terminated by the district for “perceived political association” with former board members. Pete Riojas, the former executive director of business administration, filed a petition through his attorney, John Shergold, against Monte Alto ISD and four current board members. Riojas filed this petition in U.S. District Court in McAllen on Aug. 23. Read the full story at The Monitor.com.

PSJA ISD police department poised to apply for state certification

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District is continuing the process of creating an in-house police department and is near its final stages as it waits for a state agency to certify the department.  The district in June hired Police Chief Rolando Garcia, who is tasked with hiring, making policies and creating the department. The school board approved Garcia’s current position in May following a process that started in December 2018 to create the in-house department. The school district has entered a memorandum of understanding with its three cities and will send the application to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement early this week, Garcia said. Read the full story on TheMonitor.com.