Dear Northwest ISD Community,
Our new (and very different) school year is off and running, and I must thank our students, staff, families and community for their work and support. The 2020-2021 school year may look a little different, but we are so excited to have our students back.
We are looking forward to the day when we can have all 26,000+ students safely in our schools again. While all NISD students began the school year learning remotely, we are transitioning to In-Person Learning and Remote Learning beginning September 14.
New Educational Approach
We have transformed our learning environments in new and unexpected ways. Our staff have been working to prepare and develop new approaches for learning. In response to COVID-19, Chromebooks have been issued, network servers that were first overtaxed have been rebuilt and reinforced, lessons were transformed and student meals were offered as grab and go … the list could go on, but bottom line, is that we worked together to make the almost impossible, possible. To help further protect our students and staff, every campus is also integrating new safety protocols for our COVID world.
There have been and will be bumps along the way, and we may need to make adjustments. For that, I want to thank everyone for their understanding, patience and problem solving. Working together, I know our students will excel.
New Student Growth
While our educational setting has taken on a whole new look and approach, our focus on the district’s future has continued. As one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state, we are constantly planning for the future so that our schools, programs and budget can manage the rapid increase in student enrollment.
We anticipate welcoming nearly 1,100 new students in Northwest ISD this year, despite COVID-19 concerns and the local and national economic downturn. Even during our school closure due to COVID, new students continued to enroll in the district. With more than 6,100 new students expected over the next four to five years, strategic planning is critical.
New Plans for the Future
To accommodate our rapidly-growing student population, the NISD School Board called a $986.6 million bond referendum on November 3 that can be approved without increasing the current tax rate. The bond proposals would fund seven new school buildings, (four new schools, two replacement schools and one repurposed school), as well as multiple additions and renovations. It would also fund safety and technology updates across the district.
We are committed to maintaining the district’s long-term financial stability and are continuing to examine our budget in light of the state’s new school funding laws (House Bill 3). Under the new law, Northwest ISD will see a reduction of $10-$15 million per year in revenue despite our need to prepare for future students. In an effort to maximize the tax rate, the NISD Board of Trustees also called a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE) for November 3. If approved by voters, the VATRE would allow the district to access an additional 13 pennies and receive an estimated $21 million per year in additional funding which could be used for staff salaries, student programs and to fund additional projected operating costs. Considering the district’s Maintenance and Operations tax rate set by the state, if all measures of the special election (bond and VATRE) are approved, the district’s overall tax rate will increase a total of 4.6 cents, from $1.42 to $1.4663.
For More Information
I know this new school year will present a lot of “new” challenges; however, by working together, we will get through this and be stronger for it. To stay informed, please visit www.nisdtx.org or www.nisdtxbond.org (NISD Bond + VATRE November 3 Election information).
Dr. Ryder Warren, Superintendent
Northwest Independent School District