Board Notes

May 14 Board Notes

The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met Monday, May 14, 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.


Budget forecast presented at workshop
At a budget workshop immediately before the regular board meeting, district financial leaders discussed Northwest ISD’s 2018-19 estimated revenue and expenditures, looking at its five-year financial forecast as well as personnel amounts and potential cost-saving measures.

Northwest ISD’s forecast is, as has been the trend, focused on both student enrollment increases and property value growth. The latter includes both residential homes as well as retail property, from which the district receives tax revenue. Based on projections, the district expects to continue significantly adding students on a yearly basis; next year’s enrollment (24,271) is expected to be more than 1,000 more than this year’s enrollment (23,163). At the end of the five-year forecast, in 2022-23, the district expects to have 29,755 students.

Next year, the district plans to use a portion of its fund balance – currently set for about $14.5 million – to offset the budget losing funds from the state’s ASATR program, which was ended, and becoming a Chapter 41 (or “Robin Hood”) district, requiring it to send local tax dollars to the state. Using the fund balance is possible because the district maintains a healthy financial situation. The district does not plan to rely on using its fund balance for the long term, however, and will look at other options, beginning with the 2019-20 budget, to further reduce costs or increase revenue. The Texas Legislature will also reconvene in January 2019, possibly affecting school finance.

To save money, Northwest ISD back on planned staffing increases and is currently looking at department budgets across the district. Staffing and the 2018-19 employee compensation plan were previewed in the workshop before being addressed again as discussion items in the regular board meeting.

Budget workshops will continue to be held before the start of each regularly scheduled board meeting prior to the creation of a proposed budget.

Jim Mahler named next principal of Hatfield Elementary
Northwest ISD trustees unanimously approved Jim Mahler as the next principal of Hatfield Elementary School.

Mr. Mahler currently serves as the assistant principal at Northwest ISD’s Roanoke Elementary School. Additionally, he was an assistant principal at White Settlement ISD’s Blue Haze Elementary School for two years. His education career began in Northwest ISD 11 years ago, having served as a teacher at Prairie View and Sendera Ranch elementary schools.

He received a bachelor of science in radio/television and a master of business administration from Butler University. He also holds a master of educational administration from Lamar University. As a previous Exemplar Educator in Northwest ISD, Mr. Mahler has served on many curriculum writing teams and designed and implemented various family curriculum nights and summer book club programs.

Mr. Mahler will begin his leadership position at Hatfield Elementary School this summer and replaces Ms. Carrie Pierce, who was named as the principal of the district’s new Lizzie Curtis Elementary School.

Lisa Crosslin named next principal of Love Elementary
Northwest ISD trustees unanimously approved Lisa Crosslin as the next principal of Love Elementary School.

Ms. Crosslin will move to Texas from Oklahoma, where she has spent the past 25 years working in education. She has been the principal of West Field Elementary School in Edmond, Oklahoma, since 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience in education administration, including roles as principal, special education director, guidance counselor and a Title I/federal programs director in Oklahoma and Colorado. Her education career began as an English teacher at the secondary level.

She received her bachelor of arts from Oklahoma Baptist University and a master of education from East Central University. Additionally, she received a master in educational leadership from Adams State College and is pursuing her doctorate in school administration from Oklahoma State University. She has served as a workshop facilitator for numerous organizations and conferences for Oklahoma public schools and is a Great Expectations Model School Principal. She is the recipient of various grants that focus on technology and action-based learning labs.

Ms. Crosslin will begin her leadership position at Love Elementary School this summer. She replaces Ms. Jaimie McAllister, who is relocating with her family.

Lance Thompson chosen as namesake of Elementary No. 19
Northwest ISD trustees unanimously approved Lance Thompson as the namesake of the district’s 19th elementary school, which will be located in the Harvest community and is anticipated to open in 2019.

Lance Thompson was a young area resident who was born in 1981 and passed away unexpectedly in 1987. His father, Roger Thompson, was a Northwest ISD school board member from 1989 to 2001 and was also a rancher in the Justin area for many years. Lance’s mother, Sharla Stockard, retired from Northwest ISD as the district’s student data services coordinator.

Family members of Lance Thompson donated the land to the district and said they are honored to promote education in Northwest ISD.

Construction on Lance Thompson Elementary School is scheduled to begin this summer. The school will be the first to use Northwest ISD’s new prototype elementary school design, which was created by Huckabee. Joeris General Contractors will build the school. The two-story school will feature several collaboration spaces, with the heart of the school anchored by a learning commons and library area featuring a built-in Makerspace. To learn more about the school design, click here.

Employee compensation plan, staffing discussed
Trustees discussed compensation plan options for the 2018-19 school year, looking at possible raises for both new and returning district staff.

District administrators have recommended a 2 percent salary increase for all new and returning employees. Trustees have the option to approve any change or lack of change to the compensation plan, and they looked at increases at 0.5 percent increments and as well as what any increase would do to the district’s overall budget.

Trustees are scheduled to vote on the compensation plan at their next regular meeting, which takes place May 29.

In a related discussion item, trustees looked at staffing requests for the 2018-19 school year. They heard from departments about their personnel requests at all levels, such as the possibility of adding additional reading specialists, campus technicians, speech pathologists, behavior interventionists and more. Departments reduced their original requests in an attempt to help the district save money while also best meeting the needs of students. Trustees will also vote on staffing requests at their May 29 meeting.

District’s new strategic framework discussed
Northwest ISD leaders presented the district’s planned strategic framework for 2018-22 to trustees, discussing how panels of students, teachers and staff looked at the district’s ideals to create goals, a mission statement, a vision and more.

Panelists who were involved in the district’s strategic framework emphasized Northwest ISD’s development of the “whole child” – including academics, physical and emotional health, character and all other aspects. The 2018-22 strategic framework is similar to the district’s current strategic framework – which was scheduled last from 2014-18 before being reviewed this year – with additional language to emphasize the development of the whole child as well as personalized learning opportunities.

To see the recommended strategic framework, click here. If approved by trustees, this framework will guide all decisions made by the district, just as the current strategic framework does. Above all else, the core belief that kids come first will continue to steer the district’s decisions.

In other action, the board

  • Canvassed votes for the May 2018 school board election at a special meeting prior to the regular board meeting. Ron Hastings won the only contested seat on the board in that election; he is scheduled to be sworn in and begin his trustee duties at the board’s May 29 meeting.
  • Approved the authorization of issuance for $100 million in unlimited tax school building bonds. These bonds were approved by local voters in bond elections; their sales fund the construction of new schools.
  • Approved a lease agreement with Argyle ISD for the use of three portable buildings. Argyle ISD is leasing these buildings at no cost, but it is paying for the relocation of two portable buildings from Granger Elementary School, saving Northwest ISD the relocation cost it would have otherwise incurred.
  • Approved a settlement agreement with Durham School Services, the district’s current transportation provider, to mutually terminate its contract and release each party’s respective claims.
  • Recognized graduates of Leadership NISD, Northwest ISD’s yearlong program that allows community members to provide input and involvement. Participants learn about specific areas of district programs, such as operations, curriculum, support services, athletics, school finance and more.
  • Recognized LEAP and LEAD graduates; the former program provides training for aspiring principals, while the latter program provides advanced development training.
  • Recognized Byron Nelson High School’s counseling staff for earning RAMP distinction, one of the top school counseling honors in the United States.
  • Recognized the district’s instructional technology team for Northwest ISD earning Common Sense certification; this certification is provided to districts for their lessons on digital citizenship and use of technology.
SEE BOARD MEETING PHOTOS
To view photos of Northwest ISD's board meetings and other district and school events, visit the district Flickr account.