June 27, 2017
Northwest Board Notes: June 26 Meeting
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, June 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.
Matrice Raven named new principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School
Matrice Raven Trustees approved the district's recommendation to name Matrice Raven as the new principal of Chisholm Trail Middle School, replacing Justin Vercher, who accepted the role of principal at Northwest ISD's Peterson Elementary School.

Ms. Raven has served as an assistant principal at Chisholm Trail since 2014. She has previously served as an assistant principal and gifted and talented specialist at Carroll ISD's Dawon Middle School as well as an English language arts teacher at Fort Worth ISD's Handley Middle School. She was selected as a Texas Association of Secondary School Principals' Assistant Principal of the Year finalist in 2015, and she is currently participating in the Visioning Institute AP Leadership Academy.

Her new position at Chisholm Trail is effective immediately.

Ms. Raven is expected to graduate with her doctorate in educational leadership from Lamar University this fall. She received her master's degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas and has a bachelor's degree in English education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Additionally, she received her superintendent certification from Lamar University.

Melissa Webber named new principal of Haslet Elementary School
Melissa Webber Trustees approved the district's recommendation to name Melissa Webber as the new principal of Haslet Elementary School. Ms. Webber was previously the assistant principal of Northwest ISD's Justin Elementary School. She replaces Cynthia Webber, who was recently named principal of the district's newest middle school, Adams Middle School, which will open in 2018.

Melissa Webber has worked in Northwest ISD since 1998, beginning as a classroom teacher. She has taught students from second to sixth grades among her time at Prairie View, Seven Hills and Haslet elementary schools. Additionally, she has also worked as an intervention teacher and a curriculum instructional teacher.

She received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Monmouth College and earned a master's degree in school administration from Lamar University. She was named Teacher of the Year while serving at Prairie View Elementary School. During her time in Northwest ISD, she has received numerous innovative teaching grants through the Northwest ISD Education Foundation, bringing unique education experiences to the lives of many students in the district.

Melissa Webber will begin her position immediately.

Budget adopted for 2017-18
Trustees approved the district-recommended 2017-18 Northwest ISD budget as prepared by financial staff, following months of work and a review process.

The 2017-18 general budget fund stands at roughly $201 million, an increase over the 2016-17 general budget fund of roughly $191 million. Thanks to an expected increase of 22 percent in assessed taxable property (an increase of about $2.77 billion in taxable property values across Northwest ISD boundaries), the district doesn't expect to use its fund balance in 2017-18.

This budget is funded by a proposed $1.04 maintenance and operations tax rate, which remains unchanged from the previous school year. The interest and sinking tax rate, which helps fund capital projects such as new schools, is set at a proposed 45 cents, for a combined tax rate of $1.49. This tax rate is up slightly from the 2016-17 tax rate of $1.4525, which had an interest and sinking rate of 41.25 cents. Voters approved the slight increase as part of the 2017 bond election. Tax rates are applied per $100 of certified property value.

The official adoption of the tax rate will take place at a coming board meeting, when tax rolls have been certified. If approved, Northwest ISD's tax rate will remain lower than many surrounding districts' most recent tax rates, including Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD ($1.54), Denton ISD ($1.54) and Keller ISD ($1.52).

Northwest ISD's budget regularly goes up each year, as new employees are hired to meet the needs of the district's growing student population. Each year, the district typically adds more than 1,000 new students, though new buildings located within the district provide an additional tax base to raise more funds.

To review previous adopted budgets, click here. Additional data on the 2017-18 budget can be found in the board agenda packet.

Memorandum of understanding with Northwest Education Foundation approved
A memorandum of understanding with the Northwest Education Foundation was approved by trustees, continuing the district's relationship with the foundation.

The memorandum allows the Northwest Education Foundation to provide funding in areas such as staff grants and student scholarships. Beginning this year, the district will provide more guidance to the foundation, while the foundation's board will still provide the ultimate oversight.

Thanks to the foundation, Northwest ISD can save taxpayer dollars by using alternative revenue sources and a strong community support.

Construction projects discussed
Facilities personnel discussed the district's current construction projects with trustees, updating them on the status of current projects and the planning of future projects.

The only major new building currently being constructed is Adams Middle School, located near Eaton High School. Athletic and classroom areas of the school are currently being constructed, as is the entrance to the school. Workers are finishing up the foundation, while campus roads are essentially complete (roads are done early in construction to make it easier for construction vehicles to gain access to all areas of the campus).

Districtwide athletic enhancements continue at both middle and high schools - including Chisholm Trail, Medlin, Pike and Tidwell middle schools as well as Byron Nelson and Northwest high schools. All these schools are gaining new or resurfaced tracks and football fields, while the high schools are also gaining newly artificial-turfed practice fields, newly artificial-turfed baseball and softball fields, and indoor athletic facilities.

Planning is currently underway for Elementary School No. 18, which will be built by Balfour Beatty. This school will relieve Peterson Elementary School and is located near the Harmon Ranch area. Other projects being planned are additions for Beck Elementary School (four classrooms) and Hughes Elementary School (expanded from a 650-student capacity to an 850-student capacity).

Finally, road repairs are taking place along Texan Drive - near the district's central offices - and parking and drainage are being improved near district offices. Paving improvement will begin soon at Chisholm Trail Middle School and Eaton High School.

In other action, the board
  • Approved the 2017-18 Student Handbook and Code of Conduct.
  • Discussed the District Improvement Plan.
  • Recognized the district's finance staff, led by Jon Graswich, for earning the Association of School Business Officials International's Meritorious Budget Award and the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada's Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. These awards were presented for the 2016-17 district budget and its financial transparency.
  • Recognized the district's Going the Extra Mile - or GEM - award winners for the second semester of 2016-17, including Lynn Austin, Melissa Shawn and Charles Ashby. These winners were recognized for their work providing exceptional support for students, staff and community members.
Steele Accelerated High School students led the pledge.
Steele Accelerated High School students led the pledge.
Trustees recognized district financial staff for recent awards in financial transparency and budgeting.
Trustees recognized district financial staff for recent awards in financial transparency and budgeting.
Trustees recognized the second-semester GEM winners.
Trustees recognized the second-semester GEM winners.