Board Notes

Aug. 13 Board Notes

The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met Monday, Aug. 13, 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.


Mike Blankenship named new principal of Eaton High School
Trustees unanimously approved the district-recommended naming of Mike Blankenship as the new principal of V.R. Eaton High School.

Mr. Blankenship is the current principal of Northwest ISD’s Truett Wilson Middle School, where he has been leading the Wildcats since the building opened in 2012. Mr. Blankenship has worked in Northwest ISD for 12 years, beginning as an assistant principal at Gene Pike Middle School before becoming its principal in 2007.

Prior to his career in Northwest ISD, Mr. Blankenship worked as a social studies teacher and coach as well as an assistant principal in Birdville ISD.

He has a master’s in education and a bachelor of arts in education from University of North Texas. He has presented across the state and nation on classroom instruction, professional development and more. Most recently, Wilson Middle School received the 2017-18 Schools Transforming Learning under his leadership.

Tax rate set to be discussed Aug. 27
Trustees approved the next step in the process of adopting the 2018-19 budget, approving the notice to discuss the 2018-19 budget and tax rate – and vote on the tax rate – at their next regular meeting on Aug. 27.

The 2018-19 budget was already approved in June, as state law requires school districts to approve their budgets before their tax rates. The proposed total tax rate of $1.49 per $100 of taxable property remains the same as the 2017-18 school year.

District taxpayers will be allowed to comment on and/or question the proposed tax rate at the Aug. 27 school board meeting.

Process for selecting contractors for three projects approved
Following a recommendation from the district’s facilities staff, trustees approved delivery methods – how building projects are managed – for the Haslet Elementary School replacement campus, Elementary No. 20, and Northwest High School field house and renovations.

The elementary projects will use the competitive sealed proposal method, while the Northwest High School projects will use the construction manager at risk delivery method.

With this approval, the district will now begin the process of accepting construction contractor offers for each project before making a selection based on graded scales that include factors such as experience and cost.

First aspect of Robin Hood payment approved
Trustees began the first part of the Chapter 41 “Robin Hood” recapture payment process by approving the agreement for the purchase of attendance credits, which reduces Northwest ISD’s “wealth per weighted student to a level that is not greater than the equalized wealth level as determined by the commissioner of education.”

Under the Texas Education Code, school districts that exceed the state-determined wealth per student pay recapture payments that are provided to school districts that fall below that wealth level. In the 2018-19 school year, Northwest ISD expects to send a Chapter 41 payment of $4.256 million to the state.

Hazardous routes approved
Twenty-six routes determined to be hazardous for students to walk to school were set by the school board following the district’s recommendation, allowing students in these areas to qualify for district-provided bus transportation.

Northwest ISD provides transportation to students who live more than 2 miles from their zoned campuses. The district also provides transportation to those who have a classified “hazardous route” between their homes and schools. Hazardous routes are those within the 2-mile transportation limit that have conditions that would reasonably prohibit a student from walking to school.

To see the list of hazardous routes approved by trustees, click here.

District of Innovation process to continue
Trustees approved a resolution authorizing Northwest ISD to continue the process of exploring District of Innovation status, which would exempt the district from some state requirements.

A District of Innovation status allows school districts to create plans exempting them from certain state requirements, such as school calendar options, educator certifications, class sizes, teacher contracts, lengths of a school day and more. Any state requirements the district chooses to amend for local governance would have to be included in its plan.

The most common District of Innovation exemptions from across the state include the first day of instruction, teacher certification (such as allowing individuals with relevant work-related experience to teach) and class sizes.

Northwest ISD trustees previously approved a resolution to begin the District of Innovation process, and now district officials will explore the possible exemption options with a committee to bring a recommendation to the board in November. Any potential plan would be posted for 30 days before possible board action in January.

Demographic report shows continued growth
Board members heard from Templeton Demographics, the district’s demographer that tracks growth within its boundaries, regarding continued development in the area.

Northwest ISD saw roughly 2,090 home sales through the first half of 2018 within its boundaries, and roughly 29 percent of those sales were for newly built homes. The average new home sale price during this period was $324,136, while the average price of an existing home that sold was $301,123.

Annual new home construction closings of 1,771 through the second quarter of 2018 ranked Northwest ISD fourth in the area by school district, following Prosper, Frisco and Denton independent school districts.

Currently, the most annual closings fall within the Curtis, Justin, Hatfield and Schluter elementary school zones. Some of the fastest-growing developments in the district included Sendera Ranch East (Thompson), Canyon Falls (Roanoke), Dorado Ranch (Schluter), Harvest Meadows (Justin) and Oak Creek Trails at Champions Circle (Hatfield).

Northwest ISD continues to be one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state. The district averages about 1,150 more total students each year compared to the prior school year. Its five-year enrollment growth is anticipated as 6,609 students, and its 10-year enrollment growth is anticipated as 14,090 students.

In other action, the board

  • Recognized the district’s 2018 Schools Transforming Learning award-winners, Beck Elementary School and Wilson Middle School.
  • Renewed a contract with Keller ISD to use its natatorium through May 2020. Also approved an agreement with Fit N Wise Aquatics through the end of the coming school year for Eaton swim team practices. Northwest ISD plans to open its own natatorium, approved by voters as part of the 2017 bond package, at the start of the 2020-21 school year.
SEE BOARD MEETING PHOTOS
To view photos of Northwest ISD's board meetings and other district and school events, visit the district Flickr account.