Woods' Weekly is written by Superintendent Brian T. Woods and is sent to Northside ISD staff every Monday to keep them updated on local and state education issues.
|March 30, 2015|
Good morning! I mentioned last week that there are several tax relief proposals now under consideration by the legislature. I also mentioned the concern that we not do anything to further damage the long-term ability of schools to access revenue. One specific example of these concerns is found in the Senate’s property tax relief proposal. A careful reading of the “hold harmless” clause for schools shows that only debt incurred before 1/1/2015 would be held harmless from the new tax implications.
That means that for fast growth districts like Northside, any debt incurred to build or renovate schools after the start of this year would be supported at a lower rate than it is now. In other words, to keep up the pace with building and renovating schools, fast growth districts would likely have to actually raise taxes – not lower them. This is a classic example of not understanding the implications of decisions being made. We have alerted many people in Austin to this problem – I hope they are listening...
On a similar note, a pro-public education blog called Texas Kids Can’t Wait recently called out the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) for tweeting, “#SchoolChoice will increase average #Texas teacher pay.” TPPF is usually against any improvement in funding for Texas schools. Texas Kids Can’t Wait asked economist Dr. Larry Toenjes to evaluate the TPPF statement. Toenjes’ data, taken directly from the TEA website found that for 2012- 13, charter schools in Texas paid an average teacher salary of $40,800. That is compared to $50,467 for major suburban districts and $51,147 for major urban districts. This is a difference of over 20%! This is another example of pro-privatization folks saying what they want to win the day – regardless of whether it is true or not.
Evidence of our continued growth was brought to our Board’s monthly meeting last week. A proposal to cap enrollment at Taft HS was approved. Beginning in June of this year, families who move into designated neighborhoods in the Taft area will
be served at Brennan HS. This is an effort to keep Taft from becoming too big prior to being relieved by the opening of “Kallison Ranch Area” HS in August of 2017. Without the cap, our Resource Planning folks estimate that Taft could grow as big as 3,500 students prior to the new high school opening and that is something we need to avoid!
Also at last week’s Board meeting, trustees approved a large number of summer school programs that will serve students from K-12 as well as community members in our numerous Adult and Community Education offerings. Summer school serves both to remediate and enrich our students’ experience. Thanks to Dr. Linda Mora and all of the people who have a hand in putting together many high-quality offerings for our students and community members.
Those of you who have served on the Northside Communication Network over the years know that we seem to get a question every year about the day of the month where monthly employees get paid. We have conducted surveys in the past and will put out another survey this week. The analysis will not be about how often we are paid (because that has budget implications), but about when during the month. If you have strong feelings about this, please complete the survey that will be emailed to you.
As of this writing, there is no progress to report in talks between our health insurance carrier, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Christus Health System. If this is not resolved by Wednesday, April 1, Christus will go out of network. I still have hopes that we will hear good news early this week.
The NEF 5K Run/Walk & Family Wellness Fair is Saturday, May 2, at SeaWorld. Early registration ends April 17. We're hoping for another huge show of support for NISD and the Foundation. I'll be there with my family and hope to see you there, too. Feel free to tell your family and friends all about it. Sign up with your campus/site team captain. Registration information is available here.
Have a great week!