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Loan, donations to fund Spring Hill scoreboard

By Meredith Shamburger
May 16, 2017 at 12:01 a.m.

The current scoreboard at Spring Hill ISD's Panther Stadium as seen  Monday.

The Spring Hill Athletic Booster Club will pay for a new digital scoreboard at Panther Stadium largely through a loan, Spring Hill ISD and club officials announced Monday.

Spring Hill trustees voted 5-1 with one abstention to approve the agreement, under which the booster club will pay for the nearly half-million dollar scoreboard with about $474,000 in loans from unidentified community partners and $1,800 through its own donations.

"I'm excited," Treasurer Karl Kuenemann said after the vote. "I think this is a great opportunity for the school. It's a great opportunity for the booster club to raise some money in the future and move forward with providing for our student athletes and for the district with technology upgrades in the future."

The agreement between the district and the booster club is set over five years or until the scoreboard is paid off. Officials said Monday the club hopes to be able to finish paying off the scoreboard from projected advertising revenue within three years. The board will be donated to the district once it is paid off.

Trustee Karen Wright voted against the measure. Trustee Mike Henry abstained, as he serves as Vice President of the booster club.

Monday's action was the latest since trustees in April voted to spend $490,526 on a 20-by-32 foot digital scoreboard and 7-by-10 foot marquee, a move that drew concern from district taxpayers and others. The plan was proposed by a committee to spend funds gained by refinancing bonds that had been approved by voters in 2008.

In voting to approve the agreement on Monday, Spring Hill trustees also nullified the earlier vote to use district funds on the project. Superintendent Steven Snell told trustees the agreement means the district budget would no longer be responsible for any of the funding for the scoreboard.

District officials said Monday and at the time of the original vote that the scoreboard would provide additional advertising revenue — and provide a way for the district to highlight its student achievements.

The new agreement includes stipulations that the booster club will use advertising revenue generated by the scoreboard to pay back the community partners' loan for the bulk of the scoreboard's cost. About 12 percent of all revenue raised will be donated to the school for its programs, while the rest will be used to pay back debt on the scoreboard, officials said.

The boosters began soliciting community donations after that vote was met with considerable concern.

Kuenemann said the booster club has been 100 percent behind the new scoreboard since it was announced. The club had been working with some of its contacts and past donors to meet the funding need, Kuenemann said.

The scoreboard donation would not affect any of the other booster club fundraising efforts, he said.

School board members on Monday said they were excited by the agreement.

"A half a million dollar gift," President Mark White said just before casting his yes vote. "Pretty impressive. Pretty impressive."

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