Oct. 25, 2016
 
Northwest Board Notes: Oct. 24 Meeting
 
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, Oct. 24 - 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 approved, click here.
Trustees, district set legislative priorities
Prior to each legislative session, Northwest ISD's trustees and leadership staff develop new priorities for the district in support of its mission to provide students with the best education possible. The 85th Legislative Session is scheduled to begin Jan. 10, 2017, and Northwest ISD has several priorities for the coming session.

The focus of Northwest ISD's priorities, as with most school districts in the state, revolve around how the Texas Legislature funds public education. As part of its priorities, the district advocates for adequate and equitable funding and wants state representatives to protect the promise of Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction - ASATAR - until another funding source is in place so schools don't receive less revenue. (To understand ASATAR's importance to Northwest ISD, view this informational flyer.) Similarly, the district opposes any state plan that would divert public educational tax dollars to private entities that have little to no financial or academic accountability to taxpayers or their communities.

Northwest ISD also advocates for full funding of full-day pre-kindergarten for all students who meet the state eligibility requirement. The district would also like to determine tuition-based enrollment for students who do not meet the state's eligibility requirement.

In terms of school accountability, the district advocates for the establishment of a comprehensive accountability system that looks beyond high-stakes, multiple-choice exams and instead looks at meaningful assessments that have value for students, parents and teachers. Northwest ISD also opposes measures to increase the number of end-of-course exams required for graduation purposes.

Northwest ISD's full 2017 legislative priorities will be added to the district website soon. To see the draft of the legislative priorities presented at the board meeting, click here.

District buys new land for potential future high school, middle school and stadium
Trustees approved a purchase resolution of a 149.2-acre site west of North Riverside Drive, between State Highway 170 (Alliance Gateway Freeway) and Timberland Boulevard (near Interstate 35W) for $8.6 million from the state of Texas. This site is located between Byron Nelson and Eaton high schools and is planned for the potential construction of a future high school, middle school and stadium.

No set date exists for such facilities to exist. Northwest ISD regularly buys land that will provide relief for existing schools at some point in the future, with planned facilities opening based on growth rate and growth patterns - or the amount of growth and where that growth is coming.

At just 15 percent built out, Northwest ISD has just over 22,000 students. When the district is 85 percent built out, it is projected to have 90,000 students. Having land available to construct schools and related buildings to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population supports the district's strategic goal of providing premier facilities and support systems that enhance positive learning environments.

Update on facilities construction heard
Trustees heard from the facilities, planning and construction department on current and future projects, including an update on construction contractor bids for Middle School No. 6.

The seven bid submissions for Middle School No. 6 were under the district's cost estimate, with staff continuing interviews and determining a contractor soon. The only remaining major project currently in the construction phase is the expansion of Schluter Elementary. After additions and renovations are complete, Schluter will feature several new classrooms, a new gym and other improvements.


An overhead view of Schluter during its current expansion. Classroom additions can be seen at the far right and far left (currently with black roofing), with the new gym seen at the top.


Schluter's new gym being constructed.

Elementary School No. 18 is currently in the planning phases, with a focus on sustainability and materials. Additionally, the district's long-range planning committee met for the first time in the current academic year on Oct. 11. This committee helps steer the district's vision for the long-term future, assessing the state of current facilities against demographer projections for enrollment growth. This committee will provide recommendations for potential future facilities in later meetings.

In other action, the board
  • Recognized the district's National Merit honorees from Byron Nelson and Northwest high schools and Steele Accelerated High Schools. These students were recognized for their performance on the PSAT, which ranked them among the top test-takers in the state and nation.
  • Recognized the financial services department for its work in certificates of excellence in financial reporting from two leading financial accountability groups, the Government Finance Officers Association and Association of School Business Officials International. Thanks to the department's work, Northwest ISD is viewed among the top government entities in the nation in terms of financial transparency.
  • Recognized Christopher Mordecai and Allison Palislamovic for receiving the Kids Come First Award for their role in assisting a student who was choking. Mr. Mordecai and Mrs. Palislamovic's fast action and use of the Heimlich maneuver ensured the student was safe and unharmed.
  • Recognized the district's recent recognition of having the top-ranked school system account in the region. Northwest ISD's account, @NorthwestISD, received the honor from the Texas Social Media Research Institute ahead of larger districts Fort Worth ISD, Arlington ISD, Lewisville ISD, Mansfield ISD, Keller ISD and Denton ISD.
Byron Nelson's 2016 National Merit honorees being recognized.
Northwest's 2016 National Merit honorees being recognized.
Steele's 2016 National Merit honoree, Jacob Brown, being recognized.
Christopher Mordecai, center, being recognized with the Kids Come First Award.
DeAnne Hatfield receives recognition and accepts the district's financial transparency awards.