2005-05-02

surprising development in Texas

I wonder what my Texas friend Eric thinks of this story?

A north Texas developer created a non profit organization that donates a 1/2% of the sale price to educational efforts in his development, Castle Hills. Most love it, however there are dissenters. One says that most of the proceeds actually benefit affluent families who don't really need it.

A quote from the story: "The fund gives full-time, passing college students $2,000 dollars a year... Over the last 4 years the Castle Hills Schools Foundation has distributed more than a million dollars. The money's gone to 11 schools and college attending residents, while other developers are looking at it. Next year the Schools Foundation will also help Castle Hill's teachers pay tuition for advanced degrees."

A novel idea. Though since I'm completely unfamiliar with the development in question, I wonder if there's anything to the insularity argument. I notice that the money only goes to schools in that one development and perhaps that's not a bad thing, especially since other developers are considering similar initiatives.

This may just be old news to Texans, (even those who live 300 miles and half a state away)--but the story didn't make it to NPR til this morning. I did find an item on PRweb about it, dated March 2005 so I guess it still has some currency.

2 comments:

Eric said...

I once lived in the Metroplex (as the Dallas-Fort Worth area is referred to in the media) and I'm quite familiar with the Lewisville and Denton areas. Like all of north Texas, those areas are growing at a frantic pace, and it's a good bet that the housing development in question is not targeting lower income families. The Castle Hills website trumpets Phase IV with homes starting in the $250s...and even in the heat of the Texas real estate market, that gets you a pretty nice little "castle."

But, in my opinion, the issue of whether the families are "deserving" because of their economic status is irrelevant. It's the developer's money and he can do with it what he pleases, and helping some suburban kids with tuition seems like a more worthwhile investment than a lot of things I could think of. And you touched on the more important issue, that of being an example...a motivator...to his competitors. Plus, you can bet that the teachers who will benefit from the upcoming phase where they get help with advanced degrees are not overpaid, given our state's relatively poor showing in the area of teacher salaries.

I must add that while this kind of program is unusual, there are many communities throughout Texas (and, I'm sure, across the nation) that go above and beyond the norm to help kids go to college. In Midland, for example, a local foundation guarantees that every high school graduate will have the money to attend the local community college for two years if that help is needed.

It's all good. (And thanks for bringing the "Castle Hills" story to my attention; I hadn't heard about it.)

Jim said...

The item about the teachers' benefit was tagged on at the end of that story, and was my favorite part of the plan. I like that almost better than the tuition idea, though I think that's good too.

I do think the issue of insularity has some relevance, though I think it's no reason to disparage the idea like the one developer in the story seemed to be doing (he's probably mad because he didn't think of it first). As time goes on, I would hope that this might spur other developers toward doing similar things and/or the Castle Hills foundation might look toward ways to widen the ripple effect of their good idea.

You are right though, in the end it's his money. He can do what he wants (Matthew 20:12-15).