STARS Teacher Profile - Tami Mabry

Tami Mabry photo and link to video

Thank you to RISD's 2016 STARS teachers of the year for all you do for students!

Student Spotlight

RISD placed 11 students on the All-Region Jazz Band. Selections were made through competitive audition from among students in area districts.

From Lake Highlands HS: Webster Wrightsman and Kelton Griffin

From Richardson HS: Austin Townsend, Chris Finch, Theresa Guidry, Marcus Sykora, Anna Fitzgerald, Andrew Schafer, Aissa Torres, Nicholas Crothers and Benjamin Goldberg


All-Region Jazz Band photo

risd logo

Board Discusses Tax Rate, Bond, Growth

RISD Trustees met October 17 for a work session, discussing several topics, including RISD's operating budget, the preliminary Bond 2016 project schedule, managing enrollment growth in Lake Highlands, and an update on RISD's College & Career Readiness efforts.

Budget & Tax Rate
In advance of the upcoming legislative session, staff provided trustees with a reminder of the state's complex school finance system, and how it impacts RISD. Key points included:

  • School district tax rates are separated into two parts: operating and debt service tax rates. Revenue generated from the operating tax rate is primarily used for recurring annual expenses like teacher salaries and utility costs. Revenue generated from the debt service tax rate may only be used to finance bonds that pay for long-term, capital items like equipment, construction and land. Revenue from the debt service tax rate cannot be used for operating expenses.
  • RISD's operating tax rate of $1.04 has not changed since 2007, when it was reduced to its current level.
  • Increases in property values provide additional debt service tax revenue for school districts, but under the Texas school finance system, additional operating revenue from increased property values is retained by the state after one year.
  • The maximum operating tax rate for a school district is $1.17, with area districts such as Plano, Allen and McKinney at the maximum rate.
  • Under the Texas school finance system, RISD would receive additional state funding per penny of operating tax rate increase up to $1.06. If RISD voters were to increase the operating tax rate, the next two cents would return an additional 95 cents of state revenue in addition to each dollar generated locally. Conversely, increases above $1.06 would yield diminishing returns per penny as RISD would have to pay 20% of the local tax revenue generated back to the state in Recapture (or "Robin Hood").

Studying Tax Swap
RISD staff is studying the possibility of whether proposing a "tax swap" is in RISD's best interest. A tax swap would ask voters to approve an increase in the operating tax rate, coupled with a simultaneous decrease in the debt service tax rate by the same amount. There would be no net impact on taxpayers, but doing so would provide RISD with more funds that can be used for operating expenses like a pay increase for teachers or new teaching/staff allocations to respond to enrollment growth.

This would potentially be possible because the financial variables associated with issuing bonds, such as taxable value assumptions and interest rates, have turned out to be more favorable than projected.

Learn more about operating tax rate discussion

Staff shared the preliminary schedule of projects from Bond 2016. A number of projects began this summer and planning of renovation (Aikin, Prestonwood, Yale) and expansion (Northwood Hills, Mark Twain) projects at five schools are underway, with a goal of work being completed in time for the 2017-18 school year. Factors driving the preliminary schedule of projects beyond the current school year include:

  • Space needs related to current and projected enrollment growth
  • End of useful life of equipment
  • Annual capacity of bonds able to be sold
  • Annual capacity of facilities and construction staff
  • Variables specific to each project

The major classroom expansions at both Richardson HS and Lake Highlands HS are scheduled to be ready for when additional capacity is needed. If enrollment or projections change, there is flexibility in the schedule to move some projects up or back within the five year bond window of 2016-2021.

See the preliminary project schedule

Watch the budget & bond discussion

Enrollment Growth & New School Discussion
Dr. Stone shared information and feedback from an October 6 stakeholder meeting with White Rock community leaders in the Lake Highlands area. Attendees invited included:

  • Representatives from RISD
  • White Rock Elementary and PTA leadership
  • White Rock Elementary dads’ club co-presidents
  • District 10 Dallas City Councilman
  • Leadership of White Rock Valley NA, Lake Highlands North HOA, White Rock Villas HOA, White Rock Place HOA, and representatives of multi-family complexes within WRE’s boundaries

Dr. Stone described the meeting as productive. Its purpose, per RISD Board of Trustees president Kim Caston, was to actively listen to community leaders and consider their input on behalf of the groups they represent. Specific points for consideration included the request by community leaders to reconsider other options, as well as a shared understanding by all parties of the urgency for a solution.

Potential options suggested for reconsideration by community leaders included:

  • Adding classrooms to White Rock Elementary
  • Designating White Rock Elementary as a K-3rd campus; with 4th-6th grades at the new campus
  • Incorporating neighboring Northlake Elementary into a potential solution

The proposed White Rock Trail elementary school location is a 4.5 acre site that was purchased in April 2016 at a price of $4.5M. The traffic study completed includes recommendations for a new traffic signal for protected left turns and different timing, a dedicated deceleration lane for southbound traffic on White Rock Trail, and requirements for adequate on-site traffic queues, all to mitigate the traffic impact on public streets during peak times. Community leaders expressed concerns with walkability to the White Rock Trail site, the amount of proposed green space, safety of students, and increased traffic.

Deemed the most viable of the sites considered, which included more than 15 potential locations, Ms. Caston remarked that while the White Rock Trail location is not perfect, it was the best available option, and with design and planning can support an outstanding school.

“We want to continue to work with our community on a solution,” said Dr. Stone, "and we have heard clearly that there are concerns with this site.” With the district currently serving 39,297 students, the highest ever in Richardson ISD, Dr. Stone reiterated “the need for a long-range strategic plan” to address enrollment growth.

Next steps include retaining a consulting firm with a scope of duties including:

  • Assistance with a boundary discussion and decision at White Rock Elementary, if the solution requires attendance boundary changes
  • Assistance with the second new elementary school in Lake Highlands (in phase 2 of RISD's growth plan) and its associated boundaries
  • A study of capacity trends and facility use districtwide

Dr. Stone anticipates entering into this agreement in November or December of this year. Reports are estimated to be made in spring 2017. “Everyone acknowledges the complexity of this issue,” said Caston. Dr. Stone agreed and promised continued engagement with the White Rock community.

Watch the new school and growth discussion

Learn more about the new school & growth planning in Lake Highlands

Learn more about the October 17 Board meeting

Scoreboard Sponsors

Thank you to the following businesses and organizations that support RISD through scoreboard sponsorships at Eagle-Mustang or Wildcat-Ram stadiums. Please consider supporting these businesses that support RISD.

Scoreboard sponsor logos

Link to upcoming events

District Calendar

  • November 7 - Regular Board Meeting
  • November 14 - Board Work Session
  • November 21-25 - Thanksgiving Holiday
  • December 5 - Regular Board Meeting

Upcoming Events & Fundraisers

  • Berkner Theatre Presents: Chemical Imbalance - Oct. 19-20 & 22
  • Northlake Community Fun Night - October 20
  • PHS Pacesetter Holiday Bazaar - October 22-23
  • FMJH Market in the Meadow - October 29-30
  • Forest Lane Academy Holiday Craft Show - November 5