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.
|August 20, 2018|
Good morning and welcome back to the 2018-19 school year! I hope that you had a wonderful summer. Whether you worked during most of it or not, I sincerely hope you got in some fun. It has been a busy, productive summer in Northside. By the time school begins next week we will have hired almost 600 teachers and filled many other important positions. In addition, we are wrapping up millions of dollars in construction projects.
If you are new to NISD, we welcome you. As you will hear and read in the coming weeks, we are a large system, but we strive to counter that fact with how we treat each other, our students and their parents. We believe that this is a great place to live, work and go to school and that is why Northside is considered the destination district for so many.
Each year in this first edition of Woods’ Weekly, I report on our progress on the coming year’s budget. I am proud of the operating budget we are able to recommend as it adds teachers to accommodate growth and other staff to do essential work. The budget also improves our compensation package by an average of just over two percent. This will happen, along with dozens of construction and renovation projects at our schools, without a tax increase – for the eighth year in a row. Many thanks to our Board for their consideration and support and for the work of our Business & Finance Department!
Regarding the construction budget, as the year begins we will also begin the new school and renovation work that was promised in Bond 2018. I look forward to seeing work on security lobbies at our elementary schools, the start of our next middle and high school as well as the new public service magnet school and hundreds of other projects that will enhance the experience of our employees and the learning environment for our students.
As you’ll hear at convocation and in the things I write, while our budget situation in Northside is strong, state funding is a mess. On an inflation adjusted basis, state funding has actually declined since 2009. I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel the impact of
inflation in my personal budget and we undoubtedly see the same impact on the District’s budget. Personnel costs increase as do utilities and insurance. So, even if a small amount of funding is added to the system its impact is quickly eaten up by inflation. As you will also see, every year the state funds a smaller percentage of the cost of public schooling in our state. In 2018-19, the state will fund just over 26% of the cost to educate a Northside ISD child.
At convocations this week I have the pleasure to give several examples of stories that illustrate what we are about in Northside. All of us are witness to and can tell great stories that illustrate the hash tag #ThisIsNorthside. That is going to be one of the big asks from convocations – tell everyone who will listen the stories that illustrate why you are proud of what you do and the school, department and district where you choose to do that work.
Throughout the year we will underscore positive impacts for NISD students and families such as being named among the best places for music education in the nation, having PTAs recognized for national excellence and constantly expanding access to and success in our various advanced course offerings. We will highlight achievement in academics and extracurricular activities. We will showcase the generosity and caring of our students and staff. We will show how NISD students leave our schools ready for college and/or career. We will demonstrate strong financial performance and our recent recognition as one of the best places to work in the nation. However, the best evidence that demonstrates what we are about is the willingness and capacity to constantly improve. This is a hallmark of any great organization and we all have to strive to be better tomorrow than we are today in everything we do. We are not going to spend a lot of time on state-imposed letter grades, but continuous improvement is a non-negotiable.
These are just some of the many, many reasons I am honored to be a part of Northside ISD. We will talk about more of those reasons throughout the year. Have a great start to the school year!
Have a great week!