May 9, 2017
Northwest Board Notes: May 8 Meeting
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, May 8 - 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.
Medical premiums, plans approved
Trustees approved the recommended staff health care medical premiums, which were addressed in a budget workshop directly before the prior board meeting on April 24.

For 2017-18, the district will maintain its contribution of $325 per month per employee for health care costs. The Board was pleased that this is the second-largest contribution by a school district in the area. Additionally, the district is adding a telemedicine program that will allow staff members enrolled in a district health plan to receive medical assistance over the phone at any time.

With the approval, the premiums for two plans - the basic plan and high deductible plan - will remain unchanged. The premiums for the core medical plan will see an increase of 15 percent. The change was made as the expenditures from the core plan were 89 percent greater than the revenue generated by employee premiums.

Other changes to health care plans include increasing the high deductible plan's individual deductible by $300 ($2,200 to $2,500) and family deductible by $600 ($4,400 to $5,000). Out-of-pocket maximums increases will also take place (from $6,250 to $7,000 for network providers and from $12,500 to $14,000 for out-of-network providers). Finally, a $100 spousal surcharge for employees whose spouses have coverage through their employer but elect into the district's insurance is being added, keeping with market trends. This surcharge would not apply to spouses who do not work or do not have access to medical coverage through their employers.

In other employee insurance matters, basic life insurance paid by the district will increase by $24,500 annually following increased life insurance claims for the past several years. Dental care premiums on the low plan will decrease by 10 percent, while the high plan will see its premiums increase by 9 percent.

District enters resolution to purchase 155 acres for schools site
Roughly 155 acres of land - located to the south of Avondale Haslet Road and west of F.M. 156 in the LeTara development in the Haslet area - will be purchased by the district following trustee approval. The land is being purchased from Triple "T" Farms.

This site will eventually be used to construct an elementary school, middle school and high school. Because of its location in the fastest-growing area of Northwest ISD, this site will provide enrollment capacity relief at all grade levels in the district.

There is no timeline for when schools would be built on this site, as the district routinely buys land in areas where it will eventually need to build schools to meet enrollment growth. When possible, the district attempts to buy school sites well in advance to receive the best price possible and efficiently use taxpayer funds.

Compensation, staffing recommendations heard
A recommendation of a 2 percent midpoint increase for employee compensation was heard by trustees, with a vote scheduled for the May 22 meeting.

The recommendation was made to keep the district as a leader in employee compensation and allow it to recruit the best candidates possible with competitive salaries. The new compensation plan would apply to both current employees and the pay scale for future employees.

In a separate but similar discussion item, trustees heard about staffing requests, including job and stipend changes. If approved, some academic, athletic and fine arts stipends would receive increases.

Demographic report shows tremendous growth
Trustees heard from Templeton Demographics regarding the district's first-quarter demographic changes for 2017.

Based on additional research, Templeton now estimates Northwest ISD has 30,211 planned future home lots for development, giving it the largest amount of anticipated new homes within its boundaries for any area school district. Only one other school district surpasses 20,000 anticipated future home lots, Prosper ISD with 27,888. Denton ISD, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and Midlothian ISD each have slightly under 20,000 anticipated future home lots.

In the first quarter, Northwest ISD saw 480 new home starts, the most for the district in a first quarter since 2006. For closings, the district finished with 450 new homes - an increase of 60 percent over the first quarter of 2016 and the most closings in a single quarter since 2008. Ranked through the most recent quarter, Canyon Falls, Harvest Meadows, Sendera Ranch (in the Thompson Elementary zone) and Harmon Ranch each had more than 100 annual new home closings.

Northwest ISD is currently No. 4 in the area when ranked by annual new home closings, with 1,447 new homes closed each year. Templeton anticipates the district will reach 25,500 students by 2019 and more than 35,000 students by the 2026-27 school year.

Staff survey results discussed
Emily Conklin, director of communications, led a discussion on the results of the district's recent staff survey.

The district saw an 89 percent overall positive response rate, with all categories earning an 82 percent positive response or better. Three of eight categories were rated at least 90 percent positive.

The survey received responses from 1,493 district staff members, with the majority - about 74 percent - having worked in the district at least three years.

In other action, the board
  • Recognized Leadership NISD participants. These individuals - including parents, guardians and community members - took part in a yearlong dialogue with district officials to focus on ways to ensure Northwest ISD's commitment to continuous improvement is met.
  • Recognized Eaton High School for receiving the Caudill Class recognition in the Texas Association of School Administrators' annual architecture competition. Eaton, designed by Corgan Architects, received a Star of Distinction for its design.
  • Celebrated Devonna Holland's time with the board. Ms. Holland has provided guidance to the district since first being elected to the school board in 2008. She chose not to run for reelection this year, though she will remain an active part of the Northwest ISD community.
  • Authorized the final issuances of bonds from the 2008 and 2012 bond elections.
Beck Elementary School students led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Beck Elementary School students led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Trustees recognized facilities staff for Eaton_s recent design award.
Trustees recognized facilities staff for Eaton's recent design award.
Trustees recognized community members who took part in Leadership NISD.
Trustees recognized community members who took part in Leadership NISD.
Trustees celebrated Devonna Holland_s time with the board.
Trustees celebrated Devonna Holland's time with the board.