Dec. 13, 2016
Northwest Board Notes: Dec. 12 Meeting
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, Dec. 12 - during a regularly scheduled meeting. This is a recap of the major actions and reports from the meeting. To see every item that was discussed or voted on, click here.
Trustees approve Leo Adams Middle School name
Northwest ISD trustees unanimously voted to approve naming the district's next middle school, currently under development near Eaton High School, after Leo Adams, an instrumental figure in the school district's formation.

Mr. Adams is best known as a former mayor of Justin, but he was also a founder of Northwest ISD as well as a school board trustee. The school being named after Mr. Adams also serves as symbolism for his close relationship with fellow former trustee V.R. Eaton, as the two schools are located across the street from each other. Their close family link also extends to their children, as one of Mr. Adams' daughters, Jeannine, married the son of Mr. Eaton, Roy.

While serving as mayor of Justin for more than 10 years, Mr. Adams helped oversee the creation of Northwest ISD in 1948 when several smaller school districts - in Haslet, Justin, Rhome and Roanoke - consolidated into the single district. Mr. Adams made multiple trips to the state capitol in Austin to meet with legislators regarding the establishment of the district.

Without Mr. Adams' involvement, Northwest ISD would unlikely exist today, and he also helped steer its formative years. He was an inaugural member of the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees, serving multiple stints, including as board president.

In his professional life away from politics, Mr. Adams was the owner of Justin Lumber Company, where he built more than 300 buildings in the area, including homes, churches and banks.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Leo Adams Middle School is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14. The school is anticipated to open in 2018.

An artist's rendering of Leo Adams Middle School.

Budget workshop held
Prior to the start of the main board meeting, trustees held a budget workshop to oversee the district's financial position for the coming year.

The district's 2017-18 budget will be prepared in February, with board reviews in March, April and May. The budget adoption will take place in June, with the tax rate adoption process scheduled for July and August. As always, community members are welcome to provide public input during the tax rate adoption process.

Additionally, trustees heard from Jon Graswich, associate superintendent for business and operations, regarding the district's five-year financial forecast. By the 2021-22 academic year, the district is projected to have 28,227 students and 2,488 employees, up from the 2016-17 counts of 23,134 and 2,327, respectively. To help meet the needs of these increases, the district expects to see an increase of about 45 percent in taxable property values.

Student enrollment is expected to consistently increase at least 1,000 to 1,500 students per year, with the budget projected to increase to meet the demands of providing educational services to more students. The current budget is about $190 million for the 2016-17 academic year, with the 2021-22 budget expected to be about $256 million.

Northwest ISD will have to grapple with the expected loss of state funding from ASATR as well as an unpredictable funding situation from the state legislature. The district will lose about $8.1 million to $11.3 million in funding from the state each year because of the expected loss of ASATR funding.

Presentation provided over change in state's school accountability ratings
During the 2017-18 academic year, the state of Texas will transition from its current school accountability rating system to an A-to-F rating system. Trustees were provided with a presentation outlining these changes.

Though the changes won't officially be implemented until the next academic year, the TEA will provide a provisional report with ratings for the current year to the public on Friday, Jan. 6. The new rating system will keep a few aspects of the current rating system, such as academic achievement distinctions. In the new system, ratings will be determined in three categories: STAAR and end-of-course exam scores, postsecondary readiness, and community and student engagement.

Many of the rating methodologies for these categories are not yet known, leaving school districts in the dark about many of the specifics regarding how the A-to-F rating system will actually work. It's not yet known if student growth will still be rewarded and, if it is, if it will be calculated the same way as the current system, for instance.

Changes to board policy to support advertising revenue
In an effort to potentially offset some of the expected loss in funding from ASATR, trustees approved changes to the board policy that will allow the district to increase revenue from advertising opportunities.

The changes made to board policy merely qualify the authority and discretion the district will use to approve or deny advertising. Advertising will not create a public forum, for instance, and the district will have the sole discretion over the size and location of potentially advertisements and can reject inappropriate ad proposals. Additionally, the changes clarify that the district can remove advertisements if a vendor's circumstances or reputation change in a way that would negatively reflect on Northwest ISD.

Trustees would also be required to approve any exclusive advertising agreements that exceed three years or are valued at $50,000 or more.

In other action, the board
  • Recognized the winners of Northwest ISD's 2016 holiday card design contest - Hartleigh Arata, Mack Buth, Ryleigh Francis, Rylie Jones and Brooke King. These students were among the top five in a districtwide contest to honor the best holiday cards designed by elementary students.
  • Recognized the Northwest ISD Education Foundation Board of Directors for their support of the district by raising funds for scholarships and grants. This funding helps the district provide the best education possible for students. This year, the foundation provided more than $75,000 in grants to staff.
  • Recognized Horace Mann Insurance, a Partners in Education member, for providing support schools across Northwest ISD.
  • Awarded Pogue Construction with a contract for water, sanitary sewer, paving, drainage and street light improvements to the Leo Adams Middle School site. Pogue is also the contractor for the school's construction itself.
  • Heard a report from the Facilities, Planning & Construction Department about currently progress. Additionally, the department informed trustees that land acquisition and civil work for Elementary No. 18 will begin soon.
Chisholm Trail Middle School students led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Elementary art students were honored for having the top-ranked holiday cards.
Horace Mann Insurance was recognized for being a Partner in Education.
Northwest Education Foundation's Board of Directors was recognized for their contributions to education.