F1 Organizers Begin Working With Del Valle ISD
Del Valle school district is hoping to find ways to benefit from the Formula One race that will be hosted in the district’s boundaries in November.
At a meeting Thursday night, about a dozen people were sprinkled throughout the cafeteria at Creedmor Elementary where Julie Loignon made a presentation. Loignon is with Circuit of the Americas, the organizer of the F1 races.
“Some of the things we’ve been working on are educational partnerships,” Loignon said. “We’ve had fun having some of the high school students focused in engineering, auto tech and architecture out here….”
Loignon went on to say Circuit of the Americas will join with several companies to provide 10 $1,000 awards for Del Valle students that can be used for school supplies and other costs. About 90 percent of students in the district are economically disadvantaged.
While Loignon was still speaking, one parent, Berenice Reyes, gathered her three children and headed out. She said she didn’t speak English, like about 31 percent of all students in Del Valle. Reyes told me she hoped Circuit of the Americas would do more for the district. She said the district has so many needs, that something practical, like additional school buses, would be great.
Circuit of the Americas isn’t required to provide scholarships, buses or anything to the school district. But the group told me it wants to be a good neighbor after the opening race weekend in November.
School board member Rebecca Birch said the community doesn’t want handouts. They want a relationship.
“In this being a predominantly Hispanic school district, there was no consideration for translations at all,” Birch said. “And it bothers me that when we bring this up, they give us these plans. And I know they are doing the best they can, it just seems like they didn’t address the issues that we had.”
Del Valle ISD is expecting that F1 will boost the tax base that supports its schools. Dolice McClure says F1 is already prompting more real estate sales. She’s with the Austin Board of Realtors. She believes many of the school district’s present challenges would go away with the influx of more money and more people.
“At this point, it is not one of the desired districts like Eanes or Lake Travis,” McClure said. “But I feel that Del Valle ISD should grow and eventually become one of the more desired districts in the Austin area.”
The first Formula One race takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving. Loignon says she plans to meet with school district representatives every quarter after that.