PREMONT, Texas — In 2011, the Premont ISD was close to being shut down by the Texas Education Agency.
Fast forward to 2020, not only is the school district still open, but they are passing with flying colors.
Now, Premont ISD is on the brink of completing a $13 million facility project that included a new artificial-turf football field and all-weather track, new softball stadium, and close to a million dollars in renovations to Premont Collegiate and the new STEM Discovery Center.
“We experienced over 14 percent enrollment growth in August of 2019, and we are expecting more," Premont ISD superintendent Steve VanMatre said. "We have a very vibrant college high school program; we are a founding member of the rural schools innovation zone with Freer and Falfurrias high schools.”
VanMatre says the recent success of the school district comes from the community.
“Never have I been on the end of a tax increase that was as significant as what Premont was," VanMatre said. "It was a 33-penny tax increase on a $100 dollar valuation in May of 2017, and that support by the community of Premont really started the ball rolling."
That ball continues to roll with the district, which is now 10 days away from opening the doors to its first new elementary school since 1971.
“We have far too many children who come to our schools that live in dysfunctional homes so we have to be the city on the hill, so to speak, for those kids. We have to show them that come, come to our schools, you will be safe, you will be nurtured, you will be cherished, we will delight you, and we will offer you the best programming around,” said VanMatre.
In 2019 Gov. Greg Abbott recognized Premont ISD as one of the top five best college-career ready districts in Texas.
“That is an unbelievable story," VanMatre said. "It is the greatest comeback story in the history of Texas public education."
The Premont Community invested in their school district and the district has thrived.
Among their top achievements include:
- Back to Back B academic rating for 2018 and 2019
- 2019 superior financial rating by TEA
- Recognized by Gov. Abbott in 2019 Texas State of the State address as being one of the best college-career ready districts in Texas
- 2019 Region 2 School Board of the Year
- 14% enrollment increase in 2019-20 school year
- Founding member of the RSIZ
- First new campus construction since 1971
- K-12 Fine Arts Program
- More than 80% of Premont Collegiate students earned college credit during the Fall 2019 semester.