Woods' Weekly

Woods' Weekly

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.

December 15, 2014     

Good morning!  Last week the members of our Board and some staff held a lunch meeting for our state legislative delegation.  As you probably know, our delegation is in flux with two people who have represented us quite well now running for mayor of San Antonio.  However, we had good attendance and were able to discuss Northside’s legislative priorities for the coming session.  The members who represent us understand and generally support those priorities.  A list of NISD’s legislative priorities can be found at: nisd.net//Legislative-Brochure-web.pdf  Not surprisingly, many of our top issues deal with adequately and equitably funding our schools.  We continue to believe that without a long-term solution to school finance, Texas risks its economic future.

Sadly, most people who are “in the know” about the legislature agree that there will not be a big effort on school finance in the coming session.  However, they also know that the lawsuit hangs over their heads and will have to be dealt with at some point.  It is hard for me to understand why, when the state revenue stream is incredibly healthy, some of our past sins on school funding can’t be addressed.  It seems to me that doing so now would help the state’s case in front of the Texas Supreme Court.

We had a particularly productive conversation around our concerns about “high performing” charter schools locating in San Antonio.  The group was interested in how these organizations are serving a very different population than we do and choose to not offer services (free/reduced price meals, transportation, counseling, nurses, etc.) that would allow certain groups of students to be able to attend.  There was also interest in the for-profit status of some of the charter management organizations that are behind these schools and how they are making a profit through state funding and other financial backing – I’ll have more to say about this after the holidays.  Overall, we had a very productive meeting.

Also last week, the Northside Education Foundation held its annual meeting where they report on fundraising and grant awards and recognize people who gave of their time and money to the benefit of NISD staff and students.  In 2014, the Foundation raised over $1.3 million with about $500,000 of that coming from the various fundraisers – including the employee pledge drive.  Almost exactly $1 million was awarded in grants and scholarships.  Thanks to all of you who donated to NEF – we are very fortunate to have the support of the Foundation in Northside.

And finally, a holiday wish for you.  It’s the time of year when we count our blessings, reflect on the year that’s about to end, and make resolutions for the one that is coming. We are blessed in Northside to have the best people in every job role that exists.  Please know that you are appreciated for the wonderful things you do daily for our students. 

I love this old quote from President Calvin Coolidge, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”  When I read this I try to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the season and appreciate the blessings that I have been given.  I think being thankful is a big part of what the holidays are about.  I hope you can do the same.  Have a great week and Happy Holidays!  I hope you experience all of the joy that the season has to offer and look forward to everything we can accomplish together in 2015!