Scott Ball / Rivard Report
CAST Tech, San Antonio ISD’s new technology-focused high school, has garnered support from private sector companies inspired by the innovation at work in the industry-led curriculum. Now the City of San Antonio and Bexar County have each contributed $250,000 to the school, which promises to serve as a talent generator for the tech community.
Tuesday’s gifts bring CAST Tech within $2 million of its $15 million capital campaign goal, SAISD Foundation Executive Director Judy Geelhoed said. It also marks the beginning of the campaign’s public phase after $11.5 million were raised during the “quiet phase,” she added.
Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) joined district officials at CAST Tech on Tuesday to announce the gift on behalf of the City. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff made the commitment on the County’s end.
“The CAST [Tech] school has an opportunity to change the dynamics of education,” Wolff said.
The school is one example of the County’s goals regarding expanded technology training,Wolff said, not just for entrepreneurs or tech industry jobs, but for tech jobs in every sector.
While CAST Tech was able to open its doors in time for the beginning of the school year in August, the renovation of a second building will allow the school to reach its growing enrollment and program goals. Located on the campus of Fox Tech near the downtown tech district, the school will not only give students the skills for working in technology fields, but also familiarize them with the industry’s culture. Open format spaces and collaborative classrooms will mirror potential future workplaces, outfitted with industrial quality tech infrastructure.
The County has an annual fund of $1 million to invest in other technology-related initiatives and enterprise. The gift to CAST Tech is separate from that fund.
CAST Tech’s fundraising efforts got a “seismic” boost from the private sector in June 2016 when H-E-B Chairman Charles Butt contributed $3.3 million to build the school that aims to educate the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.
The school has received a $600,000 gift from Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation as well as gifts from H-E-B, USAA, the Walton Family Foundation, the Meadows Family Foundation, and the Frost Bank Charitable Foundation.
In May, district officials replaced CAST Tech Principal Kelly Isbell (formerly Flieger) with Melissa Alcala, the former director of the STEM Academy, a magnet program in the North East ISD. District officials declined to comment on the reason for Isbell’s termination.
Hanna Oberhofer contributed to this report.