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The Facility Steering Committee, comprised of 36 community members, has dedicated hours of their own time toward the District's Facility Planning Process. The group hosted their last meeting on June 3, as they aimed to reach agreement on a bond program recommendation for the Board of Trustees.
The committee kept equity at the forefront of their minds as they worked throughout the process, which directly supports NEISD’s Transforming the Future strategic plan. The committee voted and reached full consensus on Bond Program Option F, which includes a total of 70 projects out of the 80 proposed projects. This option honors many of the needs across the District -- in facilities, programs and technology. Unfortunately, it was not possible to fund all projects within the budget of $500 million or less. The identification and prioritization of projects was guided by a facility needs survey completed by all principals and selected department heads. The Facility Steering Committee also considered community input gathered through an online survey, community meeting participation, and emails.
The meeting concluded with small groups reflecting on the facility planning process. One of the designated small group speakers summarized, “The bond program realistically represents opportunities for best thinking among all stakeholders involved in student education. There is best thinking from the campus level; best thinking from community; and there’s best thinking from staff and from this team – all designed to do one thing, and that is to make a student’s experience at North East be excellent.”
The Facility Steering Committee will make its bond program recommendation to the Board of Trustees on Monday, June 15, 2015. Finally, the Board of Trustees may consider a future bond election at an August board meeting. The District can fund a bond up to $500 million without a tax rate increase in any of the next five years.
Facility Steering Committee prepares for final decisions
Members of the Facility Steering Committee quickly realized that their journey to finalizing a facility project proposal that reflects North East ISD’s commitment to equity and the 360 degree student is quickly rounding third base and heading to home. The dedicated group of individuals came together for their second to last meeting on May 28, 2015. With pages upon pages of community feedback from community meetings and emails, the group had plenty of resources available to address program options while keeping in mind the overall budget.
“We’re kind of rounding that last corner on a 400-meter race and you can see the finish line,” said Dr. Brian G. Gottardy, Superintendent of Schools, as he addressed the committee. “Whether you’re a subject matter expert or a community member representing your specific category, it is important to share the perspective.”
Since the District received community input about waiting on a new elementary, the committee took the time to re-evaluate the construction of a new elementary school north of 1604, east of 281 and South of Evans Road. Enrollment projections show that Bulverde Creek Elementary can hold out in exceeding total capacity until 2017. Members learned about different solutions to address potential student population growth in the area, including "Cap & Bus" (students can be transported to other nearby elementary schools with capacity), boundary changes, and the option to build a new school. The Facility Steering Committee decided to move forward without a new school in its facilities plan in order to address more projects Districtwide.
Members were organized into small groups to review different program options. Their time was focused on discussing 80 projects in five categories. With the intent of keeping the total budget at $500 million or less, the groups had difficult conversations about which projects to fund within budget. Overwhelmingly, the committee members focused on equity and improvements at older schools.
The Facility Steering Committee will host one more meeting to finalize a proposal to address the District’s resource needs. On June 15, the committee will make its final recommendations to the Board of Trustees. It will be at this time that the Board of Trustees may consider a future bond election.
Facility Steering Committee Meeting #4 [05.28.15]
Facility Steering Committee begins making tough decisions
Facility Steering Committee members met for the third time on May 7 as part of the District's facility planning process. Facility Steering Committee members have benefited from a wealth of information provided by North East ISD experts and community feedback from recent community meetings. The goal of the May 7 meeting was to arrive at a preliminary project list for each of the five categories. These five categories are: Safety & Security, Technology, Operations, Extracurricular, and Facilities.
“You have a difficult job ahead of you,” said Dr. Brian G. Gottardy during his welcome message. “We are asking you to begin prioritize a project list that addresses the diverse needs of the District.”
The meeting kicked off with a District financial update given by Brian Moy, executive director of finance and accounting. Moy broke down how the District manages debt, property tax basics, and more. Members were thankful for his ability to make what can be a complex subject, easier to understand.
Groups representing each category spent more than an hour discussing and prioritizing their project lists. This can be a delicate and stressful process, but these dedicated individuals were ready for the task. The category teams then presented their project priority list and group summaries in a small group share out session.
The Facility Steering Committee will continue to review the District’s resource needs to prioritize a range of projects in each of the five categories, while keeping the overall budget in mind. The work of the committee will be shared during community meetings on May 19 in the Madison High School auditorium and on May 20 in the Churchill High School auditorium. On June 15, the committee will make its final recommendations to the Board of Trustees. It will be at this time that the Board of Trustees may consider a future bond election.
Facility Steering Committee Meeting #3 [05.07.15]
Facility Steering Committee delves deeper into District needs
Facility Steering Committee members met for the second time on April 17 to delve deeper into identifying needs for North East ISD. Members utilized survey data to hone in on key factors of improvement in five specific categories: (1) Safety & Security, (2) Technology, (3) Operations, (4) Extracurricular, and (5) Facilities. A wealth of information was available to the members, including District Facility Needs Survey results, Community Facility Needs Survey results, Community Meeting poll results, Community Meeting open-ended responses, and community feedback cards and emails.
After a brief welcome from Dr. Brian G. Gottardy, superintendent of schools, Brian Moy, executive director of finance and accounting, discussed potential tax rate impacts, along with a tax rate analysis of the District. Committee members were given a detailed overview of staff and community input from Gary Sullivan, director of construction management and engineering, and Deb Caldwell, director of government relations and grant development. Caldwell highlighted a word cloud graphic that contained the top 100 words mentioned in the community survey comments after common English words were removed.
After a 40-minute small group break out to discuss survey data, each group representing the five key categories gave a summary statement derived from their discussions. Following the small group share out, members relished in the opportunity to hear from specific personnel as they provided information that has been collected from their departments in regard to the five categories.
As the meeting concluded, committee members reviewed budget ranges for each category, in addition to the added costs of District Program Management and a Bond Global Contingency Fund. This gave the members an idea of the total costs that would go into a future Capital Improvement Bond.
The Facility Steering Committee will continue to review the District’s resource needs to prioritize a range of projects in each of the five categories. The work of the committee will be shared during community meetings in April and May. On June 15, the committee will make its final recommendations to the Board of Trustees. It will be at this time that the Board of Trustees may consider a future bond election.
Facility Steering Committee Meeting #2 [04.17.15]
Facility Steering Committee takes a fresh look at NEISD
A group of North East ISD stakeholders consisting of parents, business leaders, employees and District taxpayers, gathered for the first time to take a fresh look at NEISD and its facility needs. These community members have been selected to guide a facility planning process from March through June 2015. The group will be covering a wide range of topics during this time.
On March 20, the Facility Steering Committee learned about the District’s Transforming the Future initiative; reviewed enrollment history and projections; learned exactly how the district has addressed growth and equity in the past 20 years; and discussed the subject of safety and security in District schools. The meeting concluded with a live poll and discussion on the topics covered at the meeting.
Committee members listened attentively to presentations filled with District facility information and key statistics. Superintendent Dr. Brian G. Gottardy provided an overview of the Transforming the Future strategic planning process, which identified the need to study resources and technology infrastructure districtwide. Michael Lara, executive director of research and information technologies, highlighted the steady population growth over several decades and provided information about future growth that will likely take place in the Bulverde Creek Elementary School boundary (North of 1604 and East of 281) in the next few years.
Gary Sullivan, executive director of construction management and engineering, provided an overview of bond programs for the last 20 years, which involved the construction of 22 new schools. These projects were funded by bond sales and interest earned, which addressed growth in student population, aging facilities and infrastructure, and facility inequity at older campuses. Over five bond programs, 30 percent of the bond dollars funded the construction of new school facilities while the remaining 70 percent of the bond program funding was used to address facility equity at existing District campuses or to build/renovate necessary District support facilities.
Dr. Gottardy also presented information about resources related to safety and security that are already in place at District schools. Copies of the presentations are available in the meeting agenda below.
The Facility Steering Committee will continue to review the District’s resource needs to prioritize a range of projects. The work of the committee will be shared during community meetings on March 30, April 28, and May 19. On June 15, the committee will make its final recommendations to the Board of Trustees. It will be at this time that the Board of Trustees may consider a future bond election.
Facility Steering Committee Meeting #1 [03.20.15]