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Northeast Times | August 12, 2022

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NISD – Preparing for more than 5,500 new students in next five years – School board calls bond election for May 2

NISD – Preparing for more than 5,500 new students in next five years – School board calls bond election for May 2

As one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state, Northwest ISD has enrolled more than 10,000 new students in the past 10 years, with today’s enrollment five times larger than it was 20 years ago. With nearly 2,000 new home closings in the past year and 3,500 developed lots currently available within the school district’s boundaries, demographers project that the district will continue to grow at a fast rate. Enrollment projections show that Northwest ISD will likely enroll more than 5,500 new students in the next five years and 10,000 new students by the year 2030. During the regular Feb. 10 board meeting, the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the NISD Long-Range Planning Committee’s recommendation to call a bond referendum to accommodate this growth. This will now go before voters on May 2 for consideration. The bond referendum proposes multiple new schools, replacement schools, renovations and other facility updates to address growth, capital improvements and programs throughout the district. Major items included in the May 2020 bond proposal include four new schools; replacement schools for Pike Middle School, Seven Hills Elementary School and Hatfield Elementary School; a significant renovation and expansion of Northwest High School; expansion of Nance Elementary School; elementary classroom additions to create full-day pre-kindergarten offerings throughout the district; new technology; and upgrades to security systems. The total amount of the capital bond referendum is $986.6 million, which could be approved with no increase to the district’s tax rate. If passed, most bond funds – about 70 percent – would be used to address Northwest ISD’s rapidly growing student population. Northwest ISD annually welcomes more than 1,000 new students in its 234 square miles, which spans three counties and 14 municipalities. Projects included in the bond referendum are expected to accommodate enrollment projections for the next four to five years. In compliance with new state laws that took effect Sept. 1, 2019, the total bond package will be presented to voters as four separate ballot propositions.  Proposition A will include new schools, expansions, facility updates and capital improvements.  Proposition B will include funds for other recreational facilities (middle school tennis courts and fields used for football and soccer as well as high school baseball, softball and tennis facilities).  Proposition C will include updates to the Northwest ISD Stadium and Texan Stadium (the district’s track and field complex).  Proposition D will include funds to continue providing technology devices for teachers and students. The district currently issues a laptop and iPad to each teacher and a Chromebook to each student in grades 6-12. Students in grades 3-5 have access to a class set of Chromebooks, and students in grades K-2 have access to a shared Chromebook.

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Additional details about the May 2020 bond election will be available at in the coming days when the website is launched for the new referendum. Long-Range Planning Committee The Long-Range Planning Committee, which is composed of 42 community and staff members from across the district, formulated their proposal following five months of work where they analyzed current district facilities as well as enrollment and demographic trends. “As someone who’s had the opportunity to participate on this committee for the past 20 years, I’m proud of the work we’ve done to come up with this recommendation,” said Dave Edstrom, a longtime Northwest ISD resident and member of the committee. “Everyone who served on this committee did so because we all want to find ways to support students.” Dr. Ryder Warren, Northwest ISD superintendent of schools, said the work of the committee steers the future of the district. “The Long-Range Planning Committee has served as the brains behind our bond projects for two decades, and we appreciate their leadership and community perspective,” he said. “When they meet to consider district needs, they look at every area of our school district before providing their recommendation for a bond election, and we’re eager for our full community to vote and give their input.” No tax rate change Because of additional residential and retail development within Northwest ISD’s boundaries, the 2020 bond referendum includes no change to the district’s current tax rate of $1.42 per $100 of taxable property value. This tax rate includes a $0.97 maintenance and operations rate (used to fund salaries, utilities and other day-to-day expenses) and a $0.45 interest and sinking rate (used to pay down debt incurred from issuing bonds as approved by voters). Northwest ISD’s current tax rate of $1.42 is the lowest it has been since 2013. This rate is seven cents lower than the previous year as a result of House Bill 3, the state’s school finance bill that provided tax relief for Texas homeowners. Voting Voters will have from April 20 to 28 to cast ballots during early voting, or they can cast ballots on Election Day, Saturday, May 2. The last day to register to vote in time to participate in this election is April 2. New residents are encouraged to check their voter registration to ensure their current address is on file. Only registered voters who reside within NISD boundaries are eligible to vote in the May 2020 bond election.