Feb. 27, 2018
 
Northwest Board Notes: Feb. 26 Meeting
 
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, Feb. 26 - 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.
Proposed 2018-19 attendance boundaries tabled
Northwest ISD trustees voted to delay a decision regarding the district's proposed 2018-19 attendance boundaries until their next regular board meeting, on March 19. The board will also consider holding a special meeting next week so boundaries could potentially be decided before spring break. Trustees have tasked the district with obtaining more feedback on the middle school proposals, and the district will also work with its boundary committee for any possible changes.

Trustees stated they had received concerns from some Chisholm Trail Middle School families regarding the school's planned smaller enrollment size. To help alleviate concerns, trustees asked district officials to receive additional feedback from these families. Before receiving that feedback, the district will reach out to its attendance boundary committee to determine if they would recommend changing the proposed middle school boundaries.

Northwest ISD plans to hold a town hall meeting at Chisholm Trail at 7 p.m. Monday, March 5, in the school library to gain further community input. Chisholm Trail parents and caregivers can also email superintendent@nisdtx.org to provide input. The district will provide Chisholm Trail families with updates in the coming days regarding feedback opportunities for the proposed attendance boundary changes.

Because of the delayed vote, a planned timeline for the district's transfer process may also have to be delayed, but the district will provide an update when the transfer window does open. Staffing planning for 2018-19 may similarly be pushed back, as the district first has to know staff amounts and types at specific schools, which are largely based on enrollment figures.

Northwest ISD's 2018-19 boundary proposals have previously been shown at the board's Feb. 12 board meeting, a Facebook Live video chat and a town hall meeting. To see the proposed boundaries, click here.

Elementary schools affected by the proposed changes include Curtis, Granger, Hatfield, Hughes, Love, Peterson, Sendera Ranch and Thompson. Middle schools affected by the changes include Adams, Chisholm Trail, Tidwell and Wilson. Curtis Elementary School and Adams Middle School are new campuses scheduled to open in August.

As a fast-growth school district, Northwest ISD closely monitors enrollment, including which areas of the district grow faster than other areas. When attendance boundaries are rezoned, the district aims to create boundaries that will last the longest amount of time - when campuses are not significantly over their designed enrollment capacity.

District to purchase new buses for coming school year to save costs
As part of Northwest ISD's contract with Reliant Transportation, the district planned to either have Reliant provide buses or have the district purchase new buses. After reviewing the costs, the district found it would save more than $1.9 million up front and an additional $4.2 million in fees if it directly purchased buses.

Based on this information, trustees voted to approve the district purchasing a new bus fleet.

The district plans to purchase 240 school buses for about $20.3 million, plus maintenance costs of about $8.8 million per year to ensure the buses are in good condition and meet student safety needs.

First staffing request for 2018-19 approved
Trustees approved an $8.6 million staffing request to hire new teachers and other professionals for the upcoming school year. A large portion of this staffing request includes hiring for two new campuses, Curtis Elementary School and Adams Middle School.

Other notable inclusions in the staffing include 54 new classroom teacher positions (13 at the elementary level, 25 at the middle school level and 16 at the high school level), a new assistant principal position at Pike Middle School and a new assistant principal position at Eaton High School. Special education is also an area of focus with the staffing request, which includes eight new special education teaching positions and 11 special education aide positions.

Quarterly demographics show continued, sustained enrollment increases
Templeton Demographics, the district's third-party demographic monitoring provider, and the district's facilities team provided trustees with an overview of the district's fourth-quarter growth in 2017.

Northwest ISD ranked fifth in new home annual closings in the region during the quarter, with 1,847 closings taking place. The district also has 1,941 vacant developed lots and 31,864 planned future lots. The planned future lots total represents a significant amount more than other area districts - of the top 20 regional districts included in the new home annual closings rankings, only one other district comes within 10,000 planned future lots (Prosper ISD with 24,785). Every other district has less than 21,000 planned future lots, and only seven regional districts have more than 10,000 planned future lots (Prosper ISD, Denton ISD, Northwest ISD, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, Forney ISD, Midlothian ISD and Crowley ISD).

Some of the fastest-growing areas of the district by elementary attendance zone include Justin, Roanoke, Cox, Thompson, Peterson and Curtis. These attendance zones all had more than 150 annual new home closings as of the fourth quarter. They all also include active community developments, which accounts for their growth.

Templeton expects Northwest ISD to see an enrollment growth rate of 4.5 to 5.5 percent each year over the next decade. In 10 years, it expects Northwest ISD's 2027-28 enrollment to be more than 37,000 students. New school projects and school expansions from the May 2017 bond package will assist with overcrowding for the next three to four years.

Update on construction, planning projects heard
The district's facilities team provided an update on current and planned school construction, with three projects currently underway and several more preparing for construction.

Of the district's current projects, Curtis Elementary School, Adams Middle School and an expansion to Hughes Elementary School are all in the works. As visible from the street, the exterior of Adams Middle School - located across from Eaton High School - is largely complete with interior work progressing on scheduled for its planned August opening. At the Curtis Elementary School site, walls are now going up, with the school also planning for an August opening. Slab and concrete work is wrapping up at the Curtis site as well.

Construction of the Hughes expansion is well underway, which will bring the school to the district's 850 capacity for student enrollment. The expansion is scheduled to complete before the start of school in August.

On the planning side, Northwest ISD has five projects in active development: partial roofing and HVAC updates at Hatfield and Prairie View elementary schools; an ag barn addition and renovation; the district natatorium, which recently conducted site visits and is beginning programming plans; the Byron Nelson High School addition; and a new elementary prototype design. The new elementary prototype design will first be used at Elementary No. 19, which will be located in the Harvest master-planned community. It is anticipated to open at the start of the 2019-20 school year.

District donates Drop Schoolhouse to local nonprofit organization
Following trustee approval, Northwest ISD has donated the Drop Schoolhouse and 3.415-acre tract of land it resides on to the Drop Family & Friends nonprofit organization.

The district had no current or planned use for the building or property, and it incurred upkeep costs to the land and facility. The founders of Drop Family & Friends previously leased the property for educational classes. They plan to add additional educational and historical activities, such as food preservation, canning, freezing and sewing classes.

As per Texas Education Code 11.1541, the property reverts to the district if the organization discontinues using the property and making improvements for public purposes, or if it executes a document that purports to convey the property. This part of the education code grants the district the authority to donate the schoolhouse and land under several criteria, such as the property having historical significance and the transfer furthering its preservation.

In other action, the board
  • Heard an update from the communications and community relations department about its programs, which also include Partners in Education, the Northwest ISD Education Foundation and advertising.
  • Heard Beck Elementary School students give a brief performance from their upcoming musical, which will take place March 1 and 2.
  • Recognized the top guest educators from across the district for their service at schools.
  • Recognized Medlin Middle School for being named a Texas School of Character, given to the school for providing quality character-driven education.
  • Recognized a local Allstate affiliate, led by Josh House, for working with Roanoke Elementary School through the Partners in Education program to provide support.
  • Recognized Mathnasium of Saginaw for working with Nance Elementary School through the Partners in Education program to provide support.
Seven Hills Elementary School students led the pledge.
Seven Hills Elementary School students led the pledge.
Beck Elementary School students performed a scene from their musical.
Beck Elementary School students performed a scene from their musical.
Trustees recognized guest educators for their work with students across the district.
Trustees recognized guest educators for their work with students across the district.
Trustees recognized Medlin Middle School for being named a Texas School of Character.
Trustees recognized Medlin Middle School for being named a Texas School of Character.
Trustees recognized Josh House of Allstate for providing support to Roanoke Elementary School through Partners in Education.
Trustees recognized Josh House of Allstate for providing support to Roanoke Elementary School through Partners in Education.
Trustees recognized Mathnasium of Saginaw for providing support to Nance Elementary School through Partners in Education.
Trustees recognized Mathnasium of Saginaw for providing support to Nance Elementary School through Partners in Education.