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.
May 20, 2013
Good morning! Today I want to mention the progress in the legislative session, a couple of important Northside events and circle back to school safety. As the legislative session winds down there is progress on the funding front. While numbers are not final, Article 3 of the budget – public education – appears to complete with a substantial increase in funding compared to the last budget. This “new” money is over and above paying for growth in student population. However, as you know, we are only getting back some of what was cut two years ago. As I told a reporter late last week, this is not “new” money – it is what should never have been taken from schools in the first place!
The funds will flow mostly through the formulas (as opposed to some grant mechanism) and will favor those districts which have been lower funded by the formulas that have existed for the last several years. I believe that this is an attempt to reduce the inequity between districts and I certainly support this methodology.
While the funding issue is almost resolved, it also appears that the reform of the TRS rules will also make it through in some form. This means that all of us as well as the district are going to see increases in costs. Needless to say, some of this increased funding will have to be dedicated to the District’s funding of TRS.
While I can’t begin to talk about other uses for the “new” money, I will tell you that we will employ a careful process that looks at what was cut in the last three years as well as what new needs have occurred in that time. The timing is a bit challenging as this is normally the time of year when we are completing next year’s budget. However, this conversation about increased funding will begin with the members of our Board very soon. Good news!
Speaking of the Board, after the election cycle we will welcome one new Board member at the end of this month. Dr. Carol Harle will replace Randy Fields who chose not to run for reelection.
We will miss Mr. Fields who has been a wonderful member of this Board for 14 years. Dr. Harle has a long association with Northside and is very knowledgeable about public education. She will continue our tradition of having a strong, stable
Board of Trustees and I can’t say enough about how important that is to the success of NISD.
I want to mention a couple of events that occurred last week that you should be aware of. I was pleased to attend one of the nights of the “Digi” Awards. These awards are given each year to students of all grade levels who have used digital media to create a wide variety of projects. The art, animation and other projects were amazing! These awards are named for former Assistant Superintendent Kelly Smith. Kelly had a passion for student use of technology to support their work in the classroom. It certainly seems that this passion is alive and well in many of our students.
On Friday, several of the Trustees and staff toured the new NISD Swim Center located at the Farris complex. The facility, which was a part of Bond 2010, is absolutely incredible and will serve the swimming community and NISD swimmers and divers for years to come. As you may know, part of the Swim Center is a diving well that has a 10 meter tower. I went to the top on Friday, but did not go anywhere near the edge of the tower! It must take a lot of courage to jump off from that height.
Finally, I want to mention the topic of safety. As you know, we have begun installation of digital cameras and access control at our elementary campuses. We will also come back to the secondary schools which already have this technology for a refresh. Also know that not a week passes without some significant conversation about what more can be done to secure our schools and support facilities. We are constantly talking about how we can design, build or retrofit buildings to help ensure student and staff safety. However, we also know that vigilance about security among staff is the most important aspect of any effort to improve safety. Please keep this in mind as we come toward the close of the year.
|Have a great week! BTW|