White Rock Trail Property For Sale - 3/21/17
At the March 20 Board Work Session, Trustees granted staff approval to move forward with placing the district property at 9601 and 9603 White Rock Trail up for sale. The property was purchased last year as a potential site to address enrollment growth. With White Rock Elementary expanding, the White Rock Trail site is no longer needed.
Classrooms, Larger Core Spaces for WRE - 2/14/17
At the February 13 RISD Board meeting, trustees received a report and recommendations regarding growth planning at White Rock Elementary from growth consultant Stantec. Based on Stantec's presentation, feedback from the WRE community and information from RISD staff, Dr. Stone recommended that RISD move forward with expanding White Rock Elementary's existing capacity to accommodate current and future enrollment growth.
Stantec’s research included:
Stantec shared results of a January survey open to all households in the WRE attendance area and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of several possible solutions for WRE's growth, including:
- Determining campus capacity at White Rock, Northlake and Lake Highlands Elementary schools
- Identifying and comparing space utilization as designed vs. implemented (by staff & students)
- Charting room utilization (to separate and clarify use)
- Charting demographic trends at each campus
- Assessing buildable area at White Rock Elementary
The community survey option receiving the highest amount of support was expansion of the current campus.
- Add on to WRE to accommodate current and future enrollment
- Build a new K-6 school within the current WRE attendance zone and divide the current attendance zone into two new zones
- Rezone current WRE attendance zone along with neighboring schools (Lake Highlands and Northlake Elementary schools) which would require renovation at Northlake
- Build a separate campus for 5th/6h grade students under different scenarios suggested in the survey
Taking into account all the factors, Stantec’s official recommendation was to make additions and renovations to the existing WRE campus in order to expand the school to accommodate up to 1,150 students. The strategy will allow the school to operate at approximately 90% of capacity when enrollment reaches its projected peak of 1024 students.
RISD staff shared information about some other Texas elementary schools that successfully serve enrollments in excess of 1,000 students. Staff, including principal Lee Walker, expressed a high degree of confidence that the model will be very successful at WRE, given the quality of school staff, leadership, parental involvement and commitment of the district to provide the necessary resources, including additional support staff.
The expansion will include 12 additional classrooms and enlarged core spaces, including cafeteria, library, gymnasium, kitchen and office area. On a tight timeline, the expansion can be completed in summer of 2018, in time for the 2018-19 school year. The initial projected cost was estimated between $17-$20 million, and it will be financed through funds approved in Bond 2016.
RISD staff will move forward immediately with the planning and design process in order to meet the 2018-19 timeline. Next steps will involve engaging parents and stakeholders in the design process and architectural options through community workshops.
In making her recommendation, Dr. Stone remarked, “I do recommend the district move forward to add on to White Rock Elementary. Our next step is to engage the community in the design phase. We will work together to serve the needs of our WRE students and staff. And to the families who may not agree with this decision, I ask that they please keep an open mind and work with us. Give us the opportunity to work with you to build new opportunities for our White Rock students. We will execute this expansion in the right way.”
See the presentation
Watch the video
WRE Growth Survey Results Released - 2/3/17
Stantec, the growth consultant engaged by RISD to assist with growth and facilities planning, has released the results of the WRE Growth Survey, open to every household in the White Rock Elementary attendance area. The survey results will be one factor that Stantec utilizes when making recommendations specific to White Rock Elementary's enrollment growth to the RISD Board of Trustees at the February 13 meeting. A final decision from trustees regarding the long-term solution to address White Rock's enrollment growth is expected in March.
Stantec was hired in November 2016 to provide assistance with facilities assessment and enrollment growth planning in three phases:
Phase 1 - (November 2016 – February 2017): Assess facilities, evaluate data and projections, and recommend a solution specific to White Rock Elementary and its unique enrollment growth & needs.
Phase 2 – (March 2017 – September 2017): Assess remainder of facilities in Lake Highlands, evaluate data, enrollment projections and RISD's current growth plan that calls for a new K-6 elementary school, with accompanying attendance boundary changes, that would provide classroom space relief to Aikin, Forest Lane, Skyview, Stults Road, Thurgood Marshall and Wallace elementary schools.
Phase 3 – September 2017 – August 2018: Evaluate remainder of RISD schools, data & enrollment projections to arrive at a districtwide long-range facilities needs plan.
Based on Stantec's recently completed capacity study of the school, White Rock can accommodate about 900 students. Currently, there are 926 students attending, which is creating undue burden on the school's core facilities and functions, such as the cafeteria, library, restrooms and scheduling for special classes. Over the next five years, it is projected that the White Rock Elementary attendance zone will continue to grow and create a demand to serve approximately 1,000 students. In addition to the survey results, the comprehensive study of existing WRE facilities, capacity and how space is utilized will be presented at the February 13 Board meeting.
Video of survey results and information
WRE Growth Survey Data
Demographic Update - 1/24/17
At its January 23 Work Session, the RISD Board of Trustees discussed the annual demographic report for the district from Templeton Demographics. The report, which includes updated enrollment projections, assists RISD with short- and long-range facilities and budget planning. Highlights of the discussion included:
Stantec, RISD's growth consultant assisting with long-range facilities planning, will factor the updated report into its efforts and recommendations.
- RISD can expect an increase of approximately 2,100 students districtwide over the next five years, as enrollment growth is expected to continue at a moderate pace.
- Turnover of single family homes continues to be the primary driver of enrollment growth.
- RISD added more than 500 students in 2016-17, with an enrollment of 39,272.
- The percentage of economically disadvantaged students fell for the 4th consecutive year.
- By 2021-22, RISD's enrollment is projected to be 41,386, and more than 43,000 students by 2026-27.
View the Demographic Report
Watch the Presentation and Board Discussion
Growth Planning Update - 1/9/17
The Board received an update that the growth planning consultant Stantec remains on track to deliver a report and preliminary recommendations to address enrollment growth at White Rock Elementary in February, consistent with their initial timeline. Stantec is currently conducting a survey of all households in the WRE attendance area regarding potential solutions to address growth. The survey will close on January 17 and results will be shared with the Board and community.
Download Flier (PDF)
White Rock Growth, Enrollment Planning Discussed - 12/6/16
At their December 5 regular meeting, RISD Trustees heard updates related to enrollment and growth planning at White Rock Elementary.
White Rock Enrollment Growth
Trustees heard an update from staff regarding efforts by growth planning consultant, Stantec, related to arriving at recommendations to address enrollment growth at White Rock Elementary.
Stantec is well into its initial phase, which includes evaluation of historical enrollment information and a capacity assessment of current facilities, including White Rock, Northlake and Lake Highlands elementary schools. The next phase will involve engagement of the White Rock community to collect data and feedback regarding potential solutions. Stantec continues to operate on its initial timeline, presented at the November 7 meeting, and is working toward a recommendation to the RISD Board, tentatively in February.
Staff also shared with trustees that Dallas City Councilman Adam McGough has approached the district about the possibility of acquiring City property on Goforth Road as a site for a potential school to address enrollment growth in the WRE attendance area. The site is currently used by the City of Dallas and was formerly the location of a national guard armory. Given its previous use, the district is requesting a Phase I Environmental Study before evaluating the suitability of the site for a possible school.
WRE Kinder Enrollment
Staff updated trustees regarding the plan to enroll incoming kindergartners at White Rock for the 2017-18 school year. Given the school's continued and projected growth, staff are approaching the 2017-18 enrollment differently than a typical year, including starting the Kindergarten enrollment process earlier and having a separate enrollment window for incoming Kindergarten students. Staff credited WRE parents and the LH Early Childhood PTA for assistance in developing the revised enrollment process.
Information was shared with parents in a letter last week. The process put in place for 2017-18 is expected to be temporary, until a permanent solution is identified through the process being led by the growth planning consultant, Stantec. Part of Stantec's initial work includes conducting a capacity study of White Rock Elementary to help determine ways that as many students as possible can be accommodated at the school in 2017-18.
District, Consultant to Work With Community to Consider Options for White Rock Growth - 11/8/16
At its November 7 Regular Meeting, RISD trustees heard from Ms. Vandana Nayak, a growth planning consultant with Stantec, Inc. RISD has retained Stantec to facilitate and assess the district's planning efforts related to enrollment growth. Sandra Hayes, newly appointed RISD Assistant Superintendent of Operations, will lead the project.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone also announced that RISD was indefinitely suspending planning and work toward a new school at the White Rock Trail site.
"It's important that the White Rock community be part of the solution to address enrollment growth at White Rock Elementary," said Stone. "The site at White Rock Trail has been a divisive issue, and I'd like our focus to be on working with our community and planning consultants to identify a solution that addresses growth in a way that lets us move forward together."
Ms. Nayak presented the following project timeline:
Phase I – Examine growth specific to White Rock Elementary to include a comprehensive study of existing WRE facilities, capacity and how all space is utilized. Stantec will work to understand the community's voice in this process and solicit opinions, through a survey of the entire WRE attendance zone. "We must engage every household in the attendance zone in a non-biased way to extract the best information possible," said Nayak.
Phase I will also include site analysis at some neighboring schools as well, including Northlake Elementary. Stantec's Trey Laird explained that utilization of space can be different at every campus. The consultants will work closely with school staff to determine the most efficient number of students that can be served on each campus.
During the first 5-6 weeks, trustees can expect analysis of existing information and previous work, such as the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee, on-site analysis at campuses, followed by engagement with the community.
Phase II – Examine facilities and growth in the Lake Highlands area as a whole, including review of RISD's current plan to address enrollment growth across that quadrant of the district.
Phase III – Development of a long-range facilities plan for the entire district.
Demographic data will be an important part to planning for the next five years according to Nayak. Stantec will engage with K Strategies, a firm specializing in survey and data analysis, throughout these phases in order to best understand data as it is collected and study patterns.
Stantec's goal is to research and analyze the data, solicit and gather feedback, work to build consensus and move forward in order to effectively accommodate current and projected enrollment growth. "We intentionally do not have preconceptions and will set out to come up with best possible recommendation," said Laird.
Following Stantec's presentation, Brenda Payne, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education updated trustees regarding 2017-18 enrollment for incoming Kindergarten students at White Rock Elementary.
Ms. Payne will work closely with WRE principal Lee Walker and representatives from the Lake Highlands Area Early Childhood PTA to project an accurate number of 2017 incoming Kindergarten students toward a goal of accommodating as many White Rock students at their attendance area school as possible while a long-term solution to address growth is determined. Understanding the importance and timeliness of this issue for parents, Payne confirmed the district will communicate the plan for 2017 WRE Kindergarten enrollment by the end of the current semester.
Watch the discussion through risd.org
Dr. Stone Announcement - 11/7/16
Dr. Stone announced at the November 7 Board meeting that the district is no longer pursuing the White Rock Trail site as an option to address enrollment growth at White Rock Elementary, and planning related to a new school at the property was suspended indefinitely the first week of November.
The architects (Corgan) and zoning consultants (Masterplan) stopped all efforts related to a new school on the WRT site the first week of November. The district has no plans or intent to submit an application to the City for a building permit, and is looking forward to the upcoming process of engaging the community regarding alternatives. The construction firm (Cadence McShane) currently operating on the site is making it safe and in compliance with code requirements, and the site will exist as an unused property, maintained by RISD.
Dr. Stone has committed that the site will not be used for a school without the support of the community. This decision was made so productive discussions with the White Rock Elementary community, led by the new growth/planning consultants (Stantec), could occur without the property being a divisive factor. The only way RISD would utilize the WRT site for a school is if the community supported it as part of the growth planning process that the consultants are preparing to begin.
WRE Growth Planning Update - 11/3/16
Dear White Rock Elementary Families & Community,
I’m writing to update you on activity related to enrollment growth at White Rock Elementary, and invite you to
attend or watch the video of the Board of Trustees meeting this Monday, November 7.
At our last RISD Board meeting, I discussed with trustees the concerns that many community members have shared
with the district about the site of the new school at Walnut Hill and White Rock Trail. I reiterated that it’s important
to me for members of the school community to be supportive of the solution to address enrollment growth at their
school. At Monday’s meeting, the professional consultant that the district has retained to facilitate growth planning,
Ms. Vandana Nayak from Stantec, will be sharing her scope of work, a timeline and next steps specific to WRE.
Ms. Nayak and Stantec will work with RISD and the White Rock community to re-evaluate options to address WRE’s
extensive enrollment growth. Her experience in working with school districts and communities on strategic facilities
planning is extensive and impressive, and I feel the involvement of someone with her professional expertise and
background is welcome and necessary as we work together toward a solution. Parents and residents will have
opportunities to engage as part of discussions about potential solutions for addressing WRE’s growth.
Also, I want to let you know that our staff is working in the short term to accommodate White Rock students,
including members of the incoming Kindergarten class, while the long-term solution is identified and implemented.
Part of this planning includes re-evaluating capacity and common area infrastructure at WRE to ensure we are able to
serve as many White Rock students as possible in their home attendance area.
While 2017-18 Kindergarten pre-enrollment at WRE isn’t anticipated until March, I know that uncertainty due to
limited space can be difficult for parents and students alike. Our goal is to finalize and communicate a plan for
incoming White Rock Kindergarten students by the end of this semester in December so parents can know what to
Thank you for your partnership as we work to accommodate our White Rock families during this period of
Jeannie Stone, EdD
Board to Hear From Growth Planning Consultants - 11/1/16
RISD has retained the professional services firm Stantec to assist the district with immediate and long-term enrollment growth and facilities planning. The firm will work with RISD to evaluate existing plans to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands, and also develop a districtwide long-range facilities needs plan.
At its November 7 meeting, the RISD Board will hear an action plan and timeline from Stantec, which will initially focus on working with RISD and stakeholders in the White Rock Elementary area to identify the best solution to address the school's substantial enrollment growth.
The November 7 Regular Board meeting is open to the public and will occur at 6 p.m. at the RISD Administration Building, 400 S. Greenville Avenue in Richardson. Following the meeting, video of the discussion will be available through the RISD website.
Enrollment Growth & New School Discussion - 10/18/16
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:
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.
- 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
Potential options suggested for reconsideration by community leaders included:
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.
- 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
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:
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.
- 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
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
School Boundaries – 9/20/16
At the September 19 Board Work Session, Dr. Stone reiterated what she shared with community members in a letter last week, indicating that the district was going to take additional time to arrive at attendance boundary recommendations for the first of two new elementary schools to address enrollment growth in the Lake Highlands area. Dr. Stone said the district would be engaging an outside firm with expertise and experience in changing boundaries to help manage the process of arriving at final recommendations for the Board to consider.
"I believe it's important that we take the extra time to get this decision right," said Stone.
Trustees supported taking additional time to arrive at a final decision regarding attendance boundaries. There is currently no timeline for making a boundary decision. The next formal step in the design and planning process of the new school at White Rock Trail is expected to occur by the end of the year, when architects complete the detailed plans for the school site for inclusion in the district’s application for a building permit with the City of Dallas.
Boundaries Recommended For New School – Updated 9/15/16
The District is postponing the public hearing, originally scheduled for Monday, Sept. 19, while RISD leadership further evaluates options for enrollment growth in the White Rock Elementary attendance zone.
Read the message from Dr. Stone
At its September 12 meeting, the RISD Board heard attendance boundary recommendations for the new elementary school planned for White Rock Trail. The boundaries were drawn from within White Rock Elementary's existing attendance boundaries, and considered criteria previously provided by the Board of Trustees, including:
As recommended, the enrollment of White Rock Elementary in 2018-19 projects to be 653 students, while the enrollment of the new school projects to be 356 students, leaving room for future growth. The Board invites parent and resident feedback related to the boundary recommendations.
- Addressing current and projected overcrowding at White Rock Elementary
- Prioritize student safety to & from school
- Utilize geographical landmarks and major streets
- Maintain existing socio-economic and racial diversity
- Consider existing neighborhoods and homeowner associations
View the recommended boundaries
Provide feedback to the Board about the new boundaries
Watch the discussion
Boundaries Recommended For New School - 9/13/16
At its September 12 meeting, the RISD Board heard initial attendance boundary recommendations for the new elementary school planned for White Rock Trail. The boundaries were drawn from within White Rock Elementary's existing attendance boundaries, and considered criteria previously provided by the Board of Trustees, including:
As recommended, the enrollment of White Rock Elementary in 2018-19 projects to be 653 students, while the enrollment of the new school projects to be 356 students, leaving room for future growth. The Board invites parent and resident feedback related to the boundary recommendations, and a public hearing will be held September 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the RISD Administration Building. The Board is anticipated to vote on final attendance boundaries at its October 3 Regular meeting.
- Addressing current and projected overcrowding at White Rock Elementary
- Prioritize student safety to & from school
- Utilize geographical landmarks and major streets
- Maintain existing socio-economic and racial diversity
- Consider existing neighborhoods and homeowner associations
View the recommended boundaries
Provide feedback to the Board about the new boundaries
Watch the discussion
Board Proceeding With Two Story Design – Traffic Study Available - 9/13/16
At its Sept. 12 meeting, RISD Trustees directed architects to move forward with detailed plans for a two story design option of the new elementary school on White Rock Trail. The two story option does not require a zoning variance request from the City of Dallas. Architects will now prepare detailed plans for the school in advance of filing for a building permit from the City of Dallas as part of the planning process. The detailed plans are expected to be ready by the end of the year.
Trustees also heard details of the traffic engineering study (TES), completed by firm DeShazo & Associates. The TES is a required part of the planning process with the City of Dallas, and includes both a traffic impact analysis and a traffic management plan. The study evaluates the impact of traffic from the proposed site on public streets, determines if the site design can accommodate traffic loads at peak times, and makes recommendations to the design of the site to best manage traffic flow to reduce the impact of public streets.
Highlights of the traffic engineering study include:
See the entire design & boundary presentation
- The amount of queue space for cars on the site as designed exceeds City of Dallas specifications for peak periods during pick up and drop off times.
- The district should build a deceleration lane on the west side of White Rock Trail, taken from the front of the property, for traffic travelling southbound.
- Recommendations for City of Dallas consideration include altering the timing of traffic lights and/or addition of a signal arrow at the Walnut Hill/White Rock Trail intersection during peak drop off and pick up periods.
- Other than the addition of a deceleration lane on school property along White Rock Trail, additional widening of White Rock Trail is not recommended by the study.
Read the Traffic Engineering Study
Watch the discussion
Board To Discuss Boundaries & Design of New School – 9/6/16
At its September 12 meeting, the RISD Board is expected to hear initial attendance boundary recommendations and rationale for the new elementary school on White Rock Trail. Stakeholder feedback related to the boundaries will be solicited, and Trustees are expected to make a final decision on boundaries at the October 3 meeting.
Also at the September 12 meeting, trustees are expected to make preliminary design decisions on the configuration of the school, including elements from the most recent community survey, such as the location of the outdoor play areas, number of floors and aesthetic design of the exterior facade.
Learn more about the growth in Lake Highlands
Board Activity Update – 8/15/16
At its August 15 Work Session, the RISD Board of Trustees discussed several topics, including 2016 accountability ratings for schools and design options for the first of two new elementary schools in Lake Highlands.
Design of New Elementary School
Trustees continued discussions about the preliminary design and configuration of the first of two new elementary schools in Lake Highlands, at the corner of White Rock Trail & Walnut Hill Lane (learn more about the background).
Staff reviewed results of a survey related to general design elements. Aggregate findings from the 527 respondents included:
- No clear preference between a two story (51.2%) or three story (48.8%) design option
- A clear preference that student play areas and usable green space be located behind the building (71.1%) compared to in front of the building (28.9%)
- Aesthetically, a preference for a modern design (59.0%) compared to a more traditional design (41.0%)
The designs currently prepared are conceptual renderings, and once decisions are made about the layout and configuration of the site, schematic designs can be prepared.
Usable Outdoor Space for Students
Board members and staff questioned Corgan architect Steve Hulsey about the conceptual renderings, specifically as they relate to space on the site available for outdoor student use.
- Mr. Hulsey confirmed the square footage amounts for outdoor play areas published as part of the conceptual renderings are accurate, and only include outdoor areas that would be usable by students.
- The conceptual renderings are preliminary to illustrate logistical relationships and not developed to a precise scale.
- Architects used computer-assisted design (CAD) to calculate the approximate amounts of usable outdoor space for students, but the conceptual renderings alone cannot be used to accurately calculate the usable outdoor space.
- Final construction documents with exact dimensions are expected to be available by the end of the year.
Implications of Zoning Process & Timeline
A decision is needed by the September 12 Regular Meeting on preliminary design elements to stay within a timeline that allows the school to open for the 2018-2019 school year. If the three-story design is chosen, a request for a code variance will be required through the City of Dallas, while district legal staff have indicated the two-story option would not require a variance request.
The code variance process can be time consuming, and staff discussed contingencies to accommodate enrollment growth if the opening of the new school is delayed beyond 2018. White Rock Elementary is projected to exceed 1,000 students by the 2018-19 school year. Adding additional portable classrooms is not a viable option because the campus does not have sufficient space for central functions to accommodate that many students. The two most viable options to accommodate additional students would include:
- Overflow to Other RISD Schools
As enrollment grows that cannot be accommodated at a neighborhood school, additional students would be assigned to other RISD schools that have space in different grade levels. It's currently unknown what other schools would have capacity in different grade levels in 2018. One goal of overflow placements is to assign students to a school geographically close to their home attendance area. An issue that has occurred in Lake Highlands in recent years involves fewer campuses having room to receive overflowed students due to increased enrollment across the area, so some placements have been made to schools outside of the Lake Highlands area. Another challenge of overflowing students involves families with siblings that require space to be available in multiple grade levels in order for the family to remain together. This scenario reduces the number of possible schools with space to receive overflowed siblings, and can result in overflow assignments farther away.
- Reassigning Attendance Boundaries
One method used in the past to accommodate enrollment growth at specific schools has been to designate portions of attendance boundaries to other schools that are projected to have space. In this situation, a portion of the current WRE attendance area could be reassigned to a different RISD school that would serve as the home campus for those families, thereby alleviating enrollment at WRE.
Trustees are expected to make a decision on the design elements of the new school at the September 12 Regular Meeting, which will allow for schematic designs to be prepared.
Learn more about the August 15 Work Session, including video
Board Activity Update – 8/1/16
At its August 1 Regular Meeting, the RISD Board of Trustees discussed the timeline and process for determining attendance boundaries of the new elementary school in the White Rock area of Lake Highlands and also heard additional details about exterior design options and configuration of the school.
Attendance Boundaries Process & Timeline
Dr. Stone led a discussion about the process, factors and timeline that will be used to determine the attendance boundaries for the new school, which will impact the existing boundaries of White Rock Elementary. Trustees discussed consideration of factors such as balanced enrollments between the two schools, socio-economic balance, natural/logical boundaries, travelling safety, and attempting to preserve existing neighborhoods and homeowner associations, if possible.
Staff will work with the district's demographic firm and leadership team to evaluate the different factors with the goal of arriving at boundary recommendations for the Board to consider at the Sept. 12 meeting.
Exterior Design & Configuration Options
Trustees also received updated information about configuration and exterior design options of the new school. Considerations include options that would and would not require a zoning variance. Potential options include:
- Number of stories the building would have (2 or 3)
- Location of green space/play areas (front or rear of building)
- Traditional (more brick) or modern (more glass) appearance
Each option would include a comparable amount of green space for student use. Choosing a three-story configuration would require a zoning variance process with the City of Dallas that could potentially extend the completion date, but could cost approximately $900,000 less than a two-story configuration that would not require a zoning variance.
Trustees and staff expressed a desire for community feedback before a decision is made on the school's exterior design and configuration at the next meeting of the Board on August 15. District staff are planning to survey White Rock area families and residents to gather feedback about exterior design & configuration options, and will share results with trustees at the next meeting.
See exterior design options
Learn more about the August 1 Board meeting, including video
Board Approves Budget, Discusses Growth – 6/20/16
The RISD Board of Trustees met on June 20 for a study session and public hearing on the 2016-17 operating budget.
2016-17 Operating Budget Approved
Trustees voted to approve the 2016-17 Operating Budget, which includes an increase of approximately $9.3 million and prioritizes core instruction and staff retention.
"This budget prioritizes instruction for students and hiring and retaining outstanding educators," said Board President Kim Caston. "At the same time, RISD continues to maintain one of the lowest tax levies among area school districts."
Highlights of the operating budget include:
- A 3% raise for teachers and staff who qualify through performance evaluation (represents 64% of the budget increase)
- 34 additional teaching allocations (19% of the budget increase)
- No change in RISD's $1.04005 operating tax rate, which is at its lowest level since 1992*
- No change in RISD's local optional homestead exemption of 10% - RISD is one of three districts in the area that still offers homeowners this optional property tax reduction
- Additional compensation for classroom teachers in targeted, high-need schools (5% of budget increase)
- Career pathways stipends (4.8% of budget increase)
- Increased stipends for bilingual classroom teachers (2.5% of budget increase)
Trustees discussed the budget and staff confirmed that, unlike cities, counties and other taxing entities, schools district operating budgets do not derive an ongoing benefit from increased tax revenue due to increased property valuations. Under the Texas school finance system, if RISD collects additional tax dollars due to an increase in property values, the state reduces the amount of funding RISD receives by a corresponding amount the following year, and the state receives the additional funds.
RISD's 2016-17 fiscal year begins July 1.
See the 2016-17 Operating Budget
*The debt service tax rate, which combines with the operating tax rate to create RISD's total tax rate, will increase to $0.35 per $100 of valuation, from $0.30. This change is driven by the recent voter-approved Bond 2016. The 5 cent increase, which keeps RISD's total tax levy the third lowest among districts in Dallas & Collin counties, makes RISD's tax rate $1.39005.
The Board discussed the configuration of the planned new school to accommodate overcrowding at White Rock Elementary as part of the first phase of the plan to address enrollment growth in the Lake Highlands area.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone recommended that the school, to be located at White Rock Trail and Walnut Hill Lane, be configured as a K-6 school as the instructional delivery model best suited for student success and consistent with RISD's existing elementary schools. Trustees unanimously expressed support for Dr. Stone's recommendation, agreeing that the stability and fewer transitions required of students by a K-6 model is the best option for student achievement.
A K-6 configuration means that attendance boundaries for the new school will be created from White Rock's existing boundaries. District staff is expected to bring initial ideas for redrawn boundaries to the Board in August in advance of opportunities for parent & stakeholder feedback.
"We understand that changing attendance boundaries can be difficult," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone. "Parents should know that we will do everything in our power to make the transition a positive experience for students and families. And at the end of the process, our students will benefit from a state-of-the-art school that is outstanding in every way."
An architect followed with a presentation of updated conceptual design options for the new school site. The plans are in the preliminary stage and provide an idea of how the elementary school would be situated on the site, including parking, green space and pick-up/drop-off queues. Depending on the design chosen:
- The site would have between 1.95 and 2.13 acres of green space for student use.
- The site would accommodate a large amount of parking, between 240-260 spaces, due to the lack of off-site parking options for parents and visitors.
- The site would accommodate a very large pick-up/drop-off queue of between 230-250 cars to mitigate the impact of morning and afternoon traffic on White Rock Trail and Walnut Hill.
See the potential site plans
Learn more about the June 20 Regular Meeting, including video
Board Discusses Budget, Growth, Approves Bonds – 6/13/16
The RISD Board of Trustees met on June 13 for a regular meeting, discussing a range of topics.
Bond Issuance & Refunding
The Board voted to refund $12.38 million in outstanding debt to take advantage of lower interest rates. Similar to a homeowner refinancing a mortgage at a lower rate, the action will not increase the maturity date of the bonds, and is projected to save approximately $1.7 million in interest costs. Trustees also voted to authorize the issuance of up to $84 million in bonds to fund year one expenditures of Bond 2016. Major items or projects expected to be purchased or started in year one include:
- Renovations & construction at Aikin, Prestonwood and Yale elementary schools
- Classroom additions at Mark Twain and Northwood Hills elementary schools
- Land acquisition
- Instructional materials
- First stage of computers/technology devices/peripherals & software refresh
- Security cameras
- Electrical, plumbing, paving, and HVAC replacement
- Baseball/softball field upgrades & playground equipment
The Board discussed the configuration and site of the planned new school to accommodate overcrowding at White Rock Elementary as part of the first phase of the plan to address enrollment growth in the Lake Highlands area. Trustees shared feedback received from community members in Lake Highlands, both in and beyond the WRE zone. Additional information was requested from staff, and a decision on the configuration of the new school is expected at the next Board meeting on June 20.
2016-17 Operating Budget
Staff revisited proposed expenditures in the 2016-17 operating budget, which prioritizes core instruction and staff retention. There have been no changes to the proposed budget since it was originally discussed at the April 4 meeting. The proposed budget would provide for a 3% raise for teachers and staff and fund 34 additional teaching allocations to support students.
RISD's operating tax rate would remain at $1.04, which is at its lowest level since 1992. RISD would also remain one of the few remaining school districts in the area to offer residents a local optional homestead exemption.
Staff shared that, due to a combination of differences under the Texas school finance system, RISD's lower operating tax rate and local optional homestead exemption, the district receives significantly less funding per student than some neighboring districts it competes against for staff. For example, Plano ISD, with an operating tax rate of $1.17 and no local optional homestead exemption, receives approximately $1,200 more per student than RISD. Trustees and staff discussed that an operating tax rate increase may eventually be evaluated in order to remain competitive with teacher and staff salaries.
Learn more about the June 13 Regular Meeting, including video
Board Supports Recommendations for Two New Schools in LH – 5/31/16
RISD Trustees met in a called meeting to continue discussions about plans to accommodate enrollment growth in the Lake Highlands area. Acting Superintendent, Dr. Jeannie Stone, began with a review of past and projected enrollment at each elementary school in the Lake Highlands area in relation to each building's location and enrollment capacity. The review included the total number of additional general education classrooms needed at each school (if any) to accommodate peak projected enrollment growth at no more than 90% of capacity.
Dr. Stone then presented recommendations to address growth, to be implemented in two phases.
Phase 1 Recommendations - for completion between 2016-2018
- Construct a new school at the site on the corner of Walnut Hill Road and White Rock Trail to address enrollment growth at White Rock Elementary, which has experienced the strongest enrollment growth in RISD, has the highest projected growth and most immediate need for additional space.
- Relocate the southern RISD employee early childhood education program, currently operated at Lake Highlands Elementary, to White Rock Elementary as a more central location.
- Move the Wallace Elementary Pre-K program to Lake Highlands Elementary.
- Recapture classroom space at Aikin Elementary as part of existing renovation plans.
- Evaluate the addition of magnet programming at Northlake Elementary as an option more convenient for elementary parents in eastern Lake Highlands.
Phase 2 Recommendations - for completion between 2018-2021
- Construct a new K-6 elementary school on the eastern side of the Lake Highlands zone, targeting the area on either side of 635, approximately between Abrams Rd. and Royal Lane. The new school, with accompanying attendance boundary changes, would provide classroom space relief to Aikin, Forest Lane, Skyview, Stults Road, Thurgood Marshall and Wallace elementary schools.
- Return students to Aikin Elementary that are currently in areas north of 635 that had previously been relocated to Stults Road Elementary. The impacted area is closer to Aikin.
- Relocate a portion of Skyview Elementary's attendance boundaries to Thurgood Marshall, which is closer to the impacted area.
- Expand Northlake Elementary to include magnet programming if evaluation determines demand exists.
Trustees expressed support for the recommendations. RISD has begun evaluation of site options for the new eastern Lake Highlands elementary school.
The grade configuration of the new campus to address growth at White Rock Elementary will be discussed at the next Board meeting on June 13. Options include a K-6 school, which would necessitate an attendance boundary change, or an intermediate White Rock campus for upper grades, which would not require a boundary change.
See the recommendations
Learn more, including meeting video
Board Members Sworn In, Growth Discussion – 5/16/16
At the May 16 meeting, three RISD trustees who recently won election were sworn in, the Board reorganized, and several topics were discussed, including enrollment growth and potential solutions through the bond.
Student Enrollment Growth
Acting Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone led a discussion about next steps in managing enrollment growth in Lake Highlands. Discussion centered on:
- The five schools that are at or approaching capacity, and two other schools that could be part of potential solutions.
- Possibilities to specifically address White Rock Elementary as the school with the highest projected growth and most immediate need.
- The possibility and viability of constructing a campus at the White Rock Trail/Walnut Hill site and the options that doing so could provide to area schools, depending on grade configuration.
- Enlarging the cafeteria and adding classrooms or portable classrooms to Stults Road Elementary.
Trustees reviewed initial architectural plans for different options, and discussed different possibilities in-depth. Staff reiterated that plans for all possible options began to be developed in February to provide the Board with information and options. The Board then went into closed session to learn about other current land options in the Lake Highlands area, which remain very limited.
Members of the Board concluded the meeting with additional discussion that centered around the overall size of many elementary schools in the Lake Highlands area. Some expressed concerns that adding on to schools over the years in an effort to accommodate the neighborhood school model was creating elementary campuses that were too large. Balancing those concerns was information from staff that in the northern portion of Lake Highlands, there are currently no suitable parcels of land for sale, and therefore limited ability to construct an additional K-6 school. Discussion occurred about evaluating scenarios where adjustment of attendance boundaries could provide relief, but with space concerns and student overflow at a number of current schools, changing boundaries on a large scale is not an effective solution.
Trustees agreed that a districtwide strategic growth plan was necessary. The Board authorized staff to move forward with plans for the addition of two portable classrooms at Stults Road Elementary and expansion of the cafeteria. Trustees also concluded that further expansion of White Rock Elementary was not an option based on its projected size, and that a new school in the southern portion of Lake Highlands was necessary, either at the White Rock Trail site or a different site to be determined.
Learn more about the May 16 Board meeting, including video
Board Discusses Initial STAAR Scores, Model for Lake Highlands Growth – 5/2/16
At its May 2 regular meeting, RISD Trustees heard a report on initial STAAR scores and reached consensus on the instructional delivery model to accommodate current and projected enrollment growth in the Lake Highlands area.
Consensus Reached on K-6 Instructional Model to Address Growth
Trustees concluded their discussion from previous meetings about a 5th/6th grade instructional delivery model compared to RISD's current K-6 model. Dr. Stone and instructional staff shared the results of research into the instructional implications of both models, and included some additional operational considerations. The compelling instructional implication of a 5th/6th model is the addition of a transition for students within the critical window of 5th-8th grade. The research indicates that the more stability a student is provided during that age range, higher school engagement levels are realized with lower discipline rates. Based on the research, Dr. Stone recommended that a K-6 model continue to be utilized by RISD as the preferred instructional option.
Based on the instructional recommendation, the work of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee, and parent & community feedback, the Board decided not to pursue the 5th/6th instructional model as a solution and reached consensus that only options in support of RISD's existing K-6 instructional model will be pursued to address enrollment growth.
Trustees discussed the merits of constructing at least one new K-6 elementary school, adding classrooms on to existing K-6 schools, and the need to develop a long range growth/facility plan specifically in Lake Highlands. Trustees also discussed the community feedback received expressing concern with a school site at White Rock Trail & Walnut Hill. Staff indicated that additional sites in Lake Highlands continue to be evaluated.
Trustees emphasized the need to continue to engage the community related to solutions that support the K-6 model, including the site of a new potential K-6 school, the possibility of additional classroom construction at White Rock Elementary, adding a magnet program option centrally located in Lake Highlands and the potential impact on attendance boundaries of a new K-6 school.
The board requested additional information related to moving forward in support of a K-6 model and will discuss the topic again at their next meeting on May 16.
Learn more about the May 2 Board meeting, including video
Board Discusses LH Growth, Community Survey – 4/27/16
At its April 27 study session, the RISD Board of Trustees discussed bond planning related to enrollment growth in Lake Highlands and reviewed results of a community survey.
The Board reviewed and discussed the results of a survey of stakeholders regarding the two core alternatives recommended for Board consideration by the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee: construction of at least one new K-6 school or construction of separate 5th/6th grade centers at the LH-area junior high campuses.
Highlights from the survey included:
- 2,836 total responses were received, including respondents who identified with each of the RISD schools located in Lake Highlands. LH-area responses made up 92.3% of all responses.
- 58.6% of respondents favored a K-6 school option compared to 41.5% favoring a 5th/6th center option.
- 68% of respondents either strongly or somewhat supported a K-6 school option.
- 50% of respondents either strongly or somewhat supported a 5th/6th grade school option.
Acting Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone asked the curriculum & operations team to present advantages and disadvantages of both options, including instructional implications. Trustees and staff again discussed awareness that the location of one or more potential new schools is a significant factor for many stakeholders.
Trustees will continue to evaluate the data, projections, reflector committee work, instructional implications, survey results and other stakeholder feedback. The Board intends to arrive at a decision regarding the best instructional delivery model to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands at the May 2 regular meeting.
Learn more about the full April 27 Board Study Session, including survey results and video
Lake Highlands Growth Planning Survey Now Open – 4/19/16
Stakeholders are invited to take a brief survey about potential long-term options to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands. Now that the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee has narrowed down options for the RISD Board of Trustees to consider, parent, staff, taxpayer and student feedback from the broader Lake Highlands and RISD community is requested.
Residents without Internet access may take the survey by visiting an RISD school during regular school hours. The survey will close Tuesday, April 26 at noon.
Take the LH Growth Planning Survey
Board Discusses LH Growth, Community Survey – 4/18/16
Among topics on the agenda at its April 18 study session, the RISD Board of Trustees , discussed bond planning related to enrollment growth in Lake Highlands and took action related to Superintendent Kay Waggoner's leave of absence.
Bond Planning/LH Enrollment Growth
Trustees heard from Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone, who shared details about the work and recommendations of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee that has been meeting to evaluate options to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands. The committee eliminated a number of initial possibilities and arrived at two core recommendations for the Board to consider as options to address growth, building one or more new K-6 elementary schools or building separate 5th/6th grade centers at the two LH-area junior high schools. One of the core options could be pursued by trustees along with complementary options that include constructing additional classrooms/core spaces on to existing schools, adding magnet programs to an existing school and/or using portable classrooms as a temporary solution. Now that the reflector committee has arrived at core options, RISD will be conducting a survey of the broader community for feedback on the options and the board will revisit the topic at a called work session next week.
Learn more about the full April 18 Board Study Session, including video
Lake Highlands Reflector Committee Update – 3/30/16
Members of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee held their fourth meeting this week to continue the process of arriving at recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding ways to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands.
Groups of committee members presented their research into the advantages and drawbacks of different solutions to accommodate enrollment growth that remain under consideration.
The presentations served as a basis for further committee discussion about the feasibility of different potential solutions such as constructing 5th/6th grade centers at the junior high campuses in Lake Highlands or constructing new K-6 school(s). At its next meeting, the committee will continue to discuss the potential solutions that remain under consideration, including the possible elimination of some solutions as members continue to narrow down options in their work toward eventual recommendations.
Learn more & comprehensive meeting summary
Lake Highlands Reflector Committee Update – 3/23/16
Members of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee held their third meeting this week to continue the process of arriving at recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding ways to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands.
Committee members divided into groups with the tasks of exploring in-depth the remaining potential solutions under consideration. District staff was on hand to support requests for data, financial and historical information that groups requested.
Each group will present their findings to the entire committee at the next meeting as a catalyst for discussion about which solutions or combination should be considered as part of final recommendations.
Learn more & comprehensive meeting summary
Community Bond Information Meetings – 3/23/16
(this item was published multiple times)
RISD will be holding a community meeting to share bond information and answer questions in each of the four high school feeder patterns. The meetings are a great opportunity to learn more about what is in the 2016 bond package that voters will consider in the May 7 election. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.
PHS Area: March 28, Prestonwood Elem., 6525 LaCosa Dr.
RHS Area: April 6, Richardson HS, 1250 W. Belt Line Rd.
LHHS Area: April 13, Lake Highlands HS, 9449 Church Rd.
BHS Area: April 21, Yale Elem., 1900 E. Collins Blvd.
Lake Highlands Reflector Committee Update – 3/16/16
Members of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee held their second meeting this week to continue the process of arriving at recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding ways to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands.
Deputy Superintendent Jeannie Stone led the discussion that included evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions. As the committee discussed pros and cons, priorities began to emerge and the committee agreed that several options could be eliminated.
The committee will continue to study possible solutions at their next meeting.
Learn more & comprehensive meeting summary
Lake Highlands Reflector Committee Update – 3/2/16
Members of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee held their first meeting this week to begin the process of arriving at recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding ways to address enrollment growth in Lake Highlands.
Committee Chair, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone, led the 48-member committee through discussions to clarify the group's purpose, timeline, expectations and the guiding factors that any potential solutions should consider.
Dr. Stone confirmed that any potential solution would be open for the committee's consideration. A variety of options to address enrollment growth were shared, and members were solicited for any additional ideas for the committee to study.
The initial meeting concluded with Dr. Stone asking members to review provided historical enrollment data, future projections for schools in Lake Highlands and a list of potential solutions to be prepared to discuss at the next meeting.
Learn more & comprehensive meeting summary
Trustees Call Bond Election For May 7 – 2/15/16
At their February 15 meeting, RISD trustees voted unanimously to call a $437.1 million bond election for May 7.
"Families are continuing to choose our community to educate their children," said Superintendent Dr. Kay Waggoner. "From the beginning of our bond planning process a year ago, we have been focused on what we believe is best for our students, and I am very comfortable that this bond package reflects that focus."
"We are asking the RISD community to continue their investment in our students to provide the tools, technology and facilities they need in order to help prepare them to be successful in their global world," said Board President Kim Caston.
The single proposition bond package is broken down into three main categories:
Maintenance of existing infrastructure, technology and equipment - $215.71 million
This category includes capital items that have reached or are expected to reach end of useful life by 2021. Examples include roofs, HVAC units, student & teacher computer devices, and equipment for instructional and extra curricular programs. This category also includes maintenance and upgrades of safety & security equipment such as cameras, alarms and fire protection.
Construction, capacity and renovation - $107.27 million
This category includes new construction of classrooms and capital expenses to increase classroom capacity to accommodate enrollment growth and address outdated design, including:
$59.74 million would construct 24 classrooms at Lake Highlands H.S., 21 classrooms at Richardson H.S. and redesign/renovate three 1970s-era schools, Aikin, Prestonwood and Yale.
$47.53 million would accommodate additional enrollment needs over the next five years, potentially including purchase of land, a new elementary school to address enrollment growth in the Lake Highlands area, construction of new classrooms at existing schools and/or purchase of portable classrooms. A community reflector group is expected to submit specific recommendations to the RISD board in April regarding measures to accommodate growth in the Lake Highlands area.
Enrichments - $114.1 million
This category includes items and construction to improve the overall educational experience of students and/or enrich the teaching experience for staff, including:
$59.98 million - Multipurpose Activity Center at each high school
$19.42 million - Technology enhancements for RISD classrooms
$17.19 million - Transformation of libraries at each school to flexible learning environments
$9.88 million - Additional Career Technology courses and JROTC program at each high school
$6.13 million - Curriculum & Instruction materials
$1.5 million - Enterprise technology (business information systems, servers, hardware)
If approved by voters, the bond package would increase the debt service tax rate by an amount not to exceed 8 cents, which equates to a property tax increase of approximately $138.95 a year ($11.58 a month) for an average residential home in RISD valued at $220,758.
Because it is among the few districts to still offer taxpayers a local optional homestead exemption, RISD currently has the third lowest tax levy among the 28 school districts in Dallas and Collin counties for residential homeowners. If the bond package were approved, RISD's tax levy would remain the third lowest for residential homeowners.
RISD will hold community informational meetings in each high school feeder pattern in March & April.
For more information about specific items included in the proposed bond, including a school-by-school breakdown, please visit the 2016 bond website.
Lake Highlands Reflector Committee – 2/15/16
At the February 15 Board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone outlined details of the Lake Highlands Reflector Committee to evaluate enrollment growth.
The committee will be comprised of approximately 48 members, including representatives from each Lake Highlands-area school, with opportunities for educator, parent, student and community participation. The committee will have its initial meeting March 1, and work toward a goal of recommending capital measures to accommodate enrollment growth in Lake Highlands by April 18.
Dr. Stone confirmed that all options are open to consideration, including a combination of capital options such as construction of a new elementary school, construction of additional classrooms at existing schools, and/or the use of portable classrooms. Earlier in the meeting, the RISD Board voted to place a bond package before voters that included $47.53 million for capital options to address enrollment growth, primarily in Lake Highlands. RISD has additional sources of one-time operating funds that could also be used to address growth if enrollment grows more quickly than projected.
Learn more about LHRC
Bond Recommendations Made – Growth Reflector Committee To Be Formed – 2/1/16
At its February 1 regular meeting, Superintendent Kay Waggoner recapped bond planning efforts progressing through last year involving staff, parents and community groups, concluding with a recommendation that the Board call a bond election on February 15 for $437 million in a single proposition. Major elements of a proposed bond package would include:
- $215.7 million to replace/repair current infrastructure, facilities, program/instructional equipment, technology and safety/security features that has reached or will reach end of useful life by 2021
- $107.2 million for construction and capital measures to accommodate enrollment growth
- $59.9 million for construction of a multipurpose activity center at each of RISD's four high schools
- $19.4 million for additional instructional technology and devices to provide every RISD classroom with comparable technology
- $17.1 million for renovations of every school library to create more flexible learning environments
- $9.9 million for equipment to provide additional Career Technical Education courses and to support JROTC programs at each high school
- $6.5 million in enrichment materials for curriculum and instruction
If approved by voters, a $437 million bond package would increase the debt service tax rate by 8 cents, which equates to a property tax increase of approximately $138.95 ($11.58 a month) for an average residential home in RISD. $20 million of the package would come from utilizing existing debt service fund balance and would not create an additional tax burden.
Approximately $47 million would be placeholder funds to address enrollment growth over the five year cycle, primarily in the Lake Highlands area. Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Jeannie Stone will be creating and leading a community reflector group of stakeholders to study potential options, with construction of additional classrooms at current schools, construction of a new school, and construction of a centralized pre-kindergarten center among possibilities. If you are interested in participating in the reflector group, please email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reflector group will work through the spring to arrive at recommendations to the Board for use of the placeholder funds to accommodate enrollment growth in the proposed bond.
Learn more & view the video of the meeting
Board Continues Bond, Growth Discussions – 1/26/16
At the January 26 study session, RISD trustees continued discussions about bond planning, including strategies for managing elementary growth that could impact the 2016 bond package (see background).
Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Jeannie Stone continued the discussion regarding the framework for enrollment growth at the elementary level. Dr. Stone shared the following district recommendations:
- New classroom construction at Aikin (2 classrooms), Mark Twain (6), Northwood Hills (6), and Stults Road (4) elementary schools.
- Expansion of all elementary magnet program eligibility to all areas of Lake Highlands, with priority areas designated to help accommodate enrollment growth in specific parts of the district.
- Move the portion of the Mark Twain Elementary attendance boundary south of Frances Way into the Jess Harben Elementary attendance boundary, impacting approximately 75 current students. The impact on Liberty Junior High would begin in the 2018-19 school year with an increase of up to 10 students based on current enrollment.
- Utilization of portable classrooms if recommended by administration.
- Continue the use of the overflow process as a temporary accommodation to enrollment growth.
Dr. Stone indicated that the possible addition of classrooms to White Rock Elementary is still being studied, including concerns about the operational impact on the school if enrollment were to reach 1,000 students. Other measures continuing to be studied as possibilities include future construction of a new elementary school, relocation of some central programs and adding pre-kindergarten classrooms in Lake Highlands.
Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Support Tony Harkleroad presented scenarios to include additional funds in the proposed bond for construction to accommodate enrollment growth. By utilizing $5 million of debt service fund balance, an additional $20 million could be included in the 2016 bond, without impacting the debt service tax rate. That scenario would increase the proposed bond to $437 million, but still involve an overall tax rate increase of 8 cents.
Inclusion of additional funds for construction would increase the total proposed funding in the bond to accommodate enrollment growth to $107.2 million. An 8 cent increase to the debt service tax rate would mean an increase of approximately $138.95 ($11.58 a month) for an average residential home in RISD valued at $220,758. Trustees also engaged in an exercise to prioritize factors to consider when evaluating different options to accommodate enrollment growth in Lake Highlands, with trustees asked to prioritize different possible solutions based on weighted factors such as student instruction, impact on neighborhood schools, size, safety and future flexibility.
Having previously provided direction for RISD staff to investigate land acquisition options to provide future flexibility to accommodate enrollment growth, the Board concluded the meeting with a discussion in closed session regarding the potential negotiation for acquisition of land for the possible future construction of an elementary school in Lake Highlands. The board returned from closed session and took action to permit RISD to engage in negotiations to potentially acquire a parcel of land at 9601 and 9603 White Rock Trail in Dallas.
Trustees will continue discussion of bond planning at the February 1 Regular meeting.
Learn more about the January 26 RISD Board study session, including a video of the meeting.
Board Continues Bond, Growth Discussions – 1/20/16
At the January 20 study session, RISD trustees continued discussions about bond planning, including strategies for managing elementary growth that could impact the 2016 bond package (see background).
Deputy Superintendent of Finance Tony Harkleroad provided trustees with feedback from the January 19 Community Bond Advisory Committee meeting, including information that a majority of CBAC members recommend a single proposition for the upcoming bond package, rather than multiple propositions.
Harkleroad also provided trustees with different funding scenarios for capital projects, including one-time uses of operating funds or debt service fund balance that could be used to supplement placeholder funds within the bond package if needed to address elementary growth within the bond period.
Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Jeannie Stone summarized efforts under discussion to address elementary growth, including the following recommendations:
- Expand elementary magnet school eligibility to include all of the Lake Highlands area while also enhancing program offerings at all three elementary magnet schools.
- Move the portion of the Mark Twain Elementary attendance boundary south of Frances Way to Jess Harben Elementary. This change would impact approximately 75 current elementary students, with current fourth and fifth graders grandfathered to remain at Mark Twain. Because this recommendation would involve a change of junior high attendance boundary for affected families, parents would have the ability to request to remain in the Apollo JH area through the existing transfer process. The potential impact on Liberty JH enrollment would begin in 2018-19, and eventually include up to 27 additional students, based on current enrollment.
- Construct additional classrooms at Aikin, Mark Twain, Northwood Hills, Stults and White Rock elementary schools to accommodate enrollment growth in those attendance areas.
Potential actions still under consideration include relocation of some central programs; adding a pre-kindergarten center in Lake Highlands; and exploring land acquisition to potentially construct a new future elementary school. The preliminary recommendation to change Skyview and Thurgood Marshall elementary attendance boundaries has been pulled from current consideration.
The Board also heard information and research from Dr. Stone regarding the optimal size of an elementary school. Dr. Stone's conclusions included impact on curriculum quality, resources for students, operating cost impact, academic achievement, socioeconomics, parent involvement, safety and staff quality. From an instructional standpoint, the research did not support one single optimal elementary school size. Elementary schools that reach 1,000 students can thrive academically if the student population is primarily not at-risk and the school enjoys strong parent and community support. Trustees discussed the need to evaluate each school on an individual basis and the challenges and merits of allowing elementary schools to reach larger sizes.
Trustees are planning to continue discussion of bond planning at a study session on January 26.
Learn more about the January 20 RISD Board Study Session, including a video of the meeting.
Bond Planning & Enrollment Growth – 1/11/16
Trustees continued discussions about bond planning, including strategies for managing elementary growth that could impact the 2016 bond (see background). Trustees heard a summary of stakeholder feedback about bond priorities from the series of stakeholder meetings held in October-December. The top priority of staff, parents and community members providing feedback is additional technology for classrooms, followed by expanded Career Technical Education courses, then multipurpose facilities, with school library renovations/transformations the fourth option.
Dr. Waggoner announced that the January 5 preliminary recommendation related to a primary education center at Northlake Elementary has been pulled. Staff also confirmed the reduction in scope of the proposed multipurpose facilities and library renovations to less expensive options that could still meet the needs of students and staff. The projected cost reductions would remain included in the proposed bond as additional funds available to address enrollment growth.
Board members further discussed the possibility of calling a single bond election or separating it into more than one proposition. The timing of the election was also discussed, and staff confirmed that classroom construction projects could be ready in time for the 2017-18 school year if permission to begin preliminary planning is granted in February and the funds are approved in a May election. Alternatively, waiting until November for a bond election would push potential new classroom construction to an earliest completion for the 2018-19 school year.
Trustees acknowledged and thanked parents, staff and stakeholders for providing feedback related to bond planning and enrollment growth, encouraging additional feedback as discussions continue. Two additional work sessions are being scheduled to discuss bond planning and the impact of elementary enrollment growth, on January 20 and January 26.
Board Hears Demographic Update, Discusses Enrollment Growth,
Bond – 1/5/16
At its January 5 study session, RISD trustees heard the annual updated report of RISD enrollment trends from Templeton Demographics. The demographic report evaluates enrollment trends and includes projections for enrollment for schools and neighborhoods across RISD.
- RISD enrollment has continued to grow, adding the second highest number of students in Region 10 over the last five years, behind Frisco.
Moderate future growth is expected, driven by single family home turnover and new multifamily housing projects.
- RISD can anticipate an additional 2,344 students over the next five years.
- Over ten years, the number of projected additional students is 4,366.
- Enrollment districtwide is up in 2015-16 from 2014-15, but less than projected.
- Just over half of RISD students reside in single family homes.
- The largest two classes in RISD continue to be Kindergarten and first grade.
See the demographic report
Staff then continued discussion (see background) of a wide range of short- and long-term potential options with trustees to accommodate enrollment growth, specifically at the elementary level, including some that might impact the upcoming bond package expected to be called by trustees in February. From among the potential options, and after factoring in the latest enrollment projections from the demographic report, preliminary recommendations from staff were discussed, including:
Redrawing attendance boundaries to include a portion of Mark Twain Elementary’s boundaries south of Frances Way into Jess Harben Elementary.
Redrawing attendance boundaries to include a portion of Skyview Elementary’s boundaries north of I-635 to Thurgood Marshall Elementary.
Adding classrooms and potential necessary infrastructure at Aikin, Northwood Hills, Stults Rd. and White Rock elementary schools.
Constructing a new primary education center at Northlake Elementary to serve pre-Kindergarten students in the Northlake and neighboring Wallace and White Rock attendance areas, and Kindergarten students in the Northlake and White Rock attendance areas.
Construction of a primary education center would substantially alleviate space concerns at Wallace and White Rock without requiring a change in attendance boundaries for those schools.
Reserving funds in bond 2016 to provide flexibility to add classrooms at additional schools if needed over next five years.
Evaluating the use of portable classrooms as a temporary solution to accommodate short-term growth or accommodate sustained growth at schools while permanent classrooms are being constructed. Trustees and staff emphasized the need to ensure that the placement and configuration of any portable classrooms would maximize safety and security.
Opening eligibility of all district magnet options to parents in Lake Highlands while increasing program offerings at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet.
Continue studying feasibility of relocating central programs at schools within the district to provide more comprehensive services and create classroom capacity at specific schools.
Pursuing acquisition of land in a high growth area of Lake Highlands to provide future flexibility.
Incorporating funds in 2016 bond proposal to fund the items requiring construction/capital purchases.
Staff believe a combination of preliminary recommendations would allow RISD to address short- and long-term elementary enrollment growth. Measures that could be in place in time for the 2016-17 school year include expanding magnet eligibility, changing attendance boundaries, relocating some central programs and/or installing portable classrooms.
Other measures that include construction of additional classrooms could be completed in time for the 2017-18 school year (by August 2017) if a decision is made by trustees by the end of February 2016.
The district will engage parents and stakeholders impacted by the possible attendance boundary changes to answer questions and solicit feedback. Details surrounding options for current students and families residing within potentially redrawn areas would be determined through the meeting and feedback process.
RISD staff and trustees also discussed, but staff did not currently recommend, construction of an additional elementary school in a high-growth area of Lake Highlands, which would potentially require attendance boundary changes to multiple schools. Acquisition of land in Lake Highlands to provide flexibility to address future growth was preliminarily recommended.
Trustees will study the preliminary recommendations and revisit the topics at their January 11 regular meeting.
See the bond planning presentation and preliminary recommendations to address growth
In addition to the fiscal implications of construction related to enrollment growth on the 2016 bond, the Board also discussed other potential bond items and information, including:
Reducing the size and scope of proposed Multipurpose Facilities at each high school to less expensive options, which would reduce the projected cost of each from $20.4 million to a maximum of $14.9 million. Trustees were provided information about comparable smaller facilities within the Metroplex. Less expensive options include a shortened field length, reduced height, removal of dedicated golf practice areas, and reduced space for trainers, offices, and storage. The shortened field length would still be able to accommodate RISD’s marching band practices.
Reducing the cost and scope of proposed library transformations/renovations at each RISD school. As the potential projects have been evaluated at each school, projected costs have become more definitive as the amount of materials and retrofitting have become more clear. Less retrofitting work than initially projected would be necessary as it relates to electrical upgrades impacting the slab foundations, and fewer materials would be needed to support student and staff computers and devices. The impact of the refined scope on the projected cost of the proposed library renovations will reduce the cost from $23.3 million to $17.2 million.
See information and benchmark comparisons about the potential reduced-scope multipurpose facilities
The preliminary impact of the additional potential funds to address enrollment growth on the 2016 bond package would be offset by the projected cost reductions of less expensive multipurpose facilities and library renovations, if trustees were to eventually vote to include all of the potential items into the bond package.
The total projected cost of all currently-proposed 2016 bond items would be $417 million, which if approved by voters would mean a property tax rate increase of approximately 8 cents. For an average residential home in RISD valued at $220,758, an 8 cent tax rate increase would mean an annual tax increase of approximately $138.95, which is a monthly increase of approximately $11.58.
Watch a recording of the entire January 5 study session
Learn more about RISD's 2016 Bond Planning
RISD Board To Hear Demographic Report, Discuss Growth – 1/4/16
RISD Trustees will be holding a study session on Tuesday, January 5 at 6:00 p.m. to hear a demographic report regarding RISD’s enrollment trends and projected growth. The demographic report will help inform RISD and trustee decisions related to managing high-growth areas of the district, including a potential impact on items included in the 2016 bond package.
The meeting will be held at the RISD Professional Development Center auditorium, 701 West Belt Line Road, and will also be recorded and available for later viewing through the RISD website.
Trustees Continue Bond Planning, Discuss Enrollment Growth – 12/7/15
At its regular meeting on December 7, the RISD Board of Trustees continued discussions about potential items for inclusion in a 2016 bond package. Trustees received an update of feedback from stakeholders provided at recent community meetings and discussed specific topics impacting potential bond items.
Based on stakeholder feedback received at community meetings to date, the top priority among enrichment options for inclusion in the bond is additional classroom technology for teacher and student use, followed by Career & Technical Education/JROTC, Multipurpose Facilities and Library Transformations. Additional community meetings are scheduled and feedback is also being accepted online.
Also based on stakeholder feedback, additional detail of proposed expenditures in each operational and curricular area is being prepared.
Elementary Enrollment Growth
Staff and trustees discussed strategies to address elementary enrollment growth. RISD has constructed 59 elementary classrooms at 10 schools since 2012 to create capacity for additional students. Construction will be completed on six additional classrooms at an eleventh school (Prairie Creek) in time for the 2016-17 school year.
Despite the recent construction of additional classrooms, some elementary schools are operating close to or at capacity and are overflowing students in some grade levels to other schools that have space. RISD anticipates receiving an updated demographic report in January that will include projected enrollment at schools and districtwide into the next decade.
Trustees and staff discussed potential options if the updated report indicates the need to consider longer-term solutions such as construction of additional classrooms at a school, redrawing attendance boundaries and/or construction of a new school. If construction is needed, the source of funding could potentially be included in the 2016 bond or paid for through one-time use of operating funds.
One strategy RISD could employ to address elementary enrollment growth in the 2016 bond involves including a placeholder dollar amount dedicated to address the issue. The strategy would allow RISD and stakeholders the flexibility and time to address growth as needed through the five year bond period.
The Board also heard strategies to address current elementary enrollment growth for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year, including potential expansion of eligibility for all Lake Highlands areas to apply to attend any elementary magnet school; enhancement of magnet offerings at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet (the elementary magnet school that has traditionally served Lake Highlands); studying the possible relocation of central programs to provide more comprehensive services and create classroom capacity at specific schools; redrawing attendance boundaries; continuing to utilize overflow as a strategy on a school-by-school basis in grade levels that reach the state-mandated 22 student cap in each K-4 section; and/or temporarily exceeding the 22 student cap on a school-by school basis to reduce student overflow.
More specific long-term options will be discussed by trustees, including potential items for inclusion in the bond, once the updated demographic report is available in January.
Multipurpose Facilities (MPFs)
Trustees received comparison information about indoor facilities that have already been constructed in several other districts. The data includes what other districts paid in base cost, an inflation index and site/project development fees to arrive at an estimated cost for what a similarly-sized and equipped facility would cost RISD to build in 2017. Indoor facilities in other districts vary substantially in size, building materials, code requirements and features like field length, storage space, weight rooms, classrooms and office space. See MPF comparison information.
Staff and trustees discussed possible ways to reduce the cost of potential MPFs by reducing the scope of the proposed projects.
For comprehensive bond planning information, please visit the 2016 Bond Planning website.
2016 Bond Planning - Feedback Requested – 12/1/15
(this item was published multiple times)
RISD trustees are continuing to evaluate potential items to include in the 2016 bond and public input is a critical part of the bond planning process.
RISD's 2016 Bond planning website includes information to learn about items under consideration and allows taxpayers, parents, employees and students to provide feedback and ideas online.
Public meetings are being held in each of RISD's four feeder patterns to present information about possible items for inclusion, solicit feedback, hear ideas and answer questions. Parents, residents and employees who are interested in the bond planning process are encouraged to attend.
November 30 - Pearce HS Corral - 6:30 p.m.
December 1 - Lake Highlands HS Auditorium - 6:30 p.m.
December 2 - Berkner HS Auditorium - 6:30 p.m.
December 8 - Richardson HS Black Box Theatre - 6:30 p.m.
Learn more about planning for Bond 2016
2016 Bond Planning – 11/16/15
Trustees continued discussions about possible items for inclusion in a 2016 bond and received information about feedback from the latest Community Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) meeting. CBAC feedback included general support of potential enrichment items and ranked the items in order of priority. The community group also recommended that if multi-purpose facilities are included in the bond, they be added as a separate proposition due to their cost. The CBAC is planning to meet again after the four 2016 Bond planning community meetings.
Trustees also previewed RISD's 2016 Bond planning website that includes the presentation being provided to stakeholder groups, supporting information about what is under consideration, and an online form for taxpayers, parents, staff, students and other stakeholders to provide feedback.
Learn more about planning for Bond 2016
Facility Approved for Expanded Non-Traditional Program - 11/2/15
At its November 2 regular meeting, RISD trustees continued discussion and then voted 6-1 to approve construction of a building to house an expanded non-traditional program to serve high school students in all feeder patterns. RISD currently operates an evening-only non-traditional program at Christa McAuliffe Learning Center (CMLC) that has operated at full capacity since it opened in 2012. The current evening program has not been able to expand because CMLC is used to operate unrelated programs during the day.
The expanded program would serve approximately 120 students in each of morning, afternoon & early evening sessions, operating out of a building to be constructed at the current administration complex on Greenville Ave.
Serving students facing circumstances that make traditional high school programming difficult, the non-traditional program offers accelerated instruction in courses to allow students a different pathway toward graduation credit. Students at risk of dropping out or who need an accelerated pathway to graduation will benefit from the expanded non-traditional program. Examples may include students who need to work to support their family, students who have encountered health problems and have fallen behind, students who must care for a child, or students whose family, employment or military circumstances dictate a need to graduate quickly. In addition, students interested in graduating early may choose the non-traditional program.
RISD is one of the only districts of its size in Texas not currently offering students a daytime program for accelerated learning. Projected to begin operation in August of 2017, up to 500 students are expected to be served over the course of a school year in the expanded program. In the current non-traditional program, students remain enrolled at their home high school, and have the opportunity to earn a diploma from their home high school, participate in social activities like prom, and attend graduation ceremonies with their graduating class. Students participating in the non-traditional program are not able to participate in extra-curricular, athletics or fine arts activities at their home high school.
The building to accommodate the expanded non-traditional program will require approximately 1/3 of an acre. The first floor will provide classroom and support space for the program while a second floor will provide space for district teacher and staff development. The facility is projected to cost a maximum of $12.5 million, which could be reduced as the design process occurs. It will be paid for through the district’s operating budget.
2016 Bond Planning Community Meetings Scheduled – 10/23/15
(this item was published multiple times)
RISD is continuing to evaluate potential items to include in the 2016 bond and public input is a critical part of the bond planning process. Public meetings will be held in each of RISD's four feeder patterns to present information about possible items for inclusion, solicit feedback, hear ideas and answer questions. Parents, residents and employees who are interested in the bond planning process are encouraged to attend.
November 30 - Pearce HS Corral - 6:30 p.m.
December 1 - Lake Highlands HS Library - 6:30 p.m.
December 2 - Berkner HS Lecture Hall - 6:30 p.m.
December 8 - Richardson HS Library - 6:30 p.m.
2016 Bond Planning – 10/19/15
Trustees and staff continued discussion of potential items and requests from different departments, programs and schools for 2016 bond consideration.
Potential items have been categorized in one of three ways: maintenance of infrastructure & equipment at the end of useful life; construction/renovations to accommodate enrollment growth; and items that would provide enrichment opportunities for RISD students.
The board continued discussions about potential construction of a non-traditional high school program to serve students in all feeder patterns. The program would serve up to approximately 500 students across morning, afternoon & early evening sessions, operating out of a facility to be added on to the current administration complex on Greenville Ave. Serving students facing circumstances that make traditional high school programming difficult, the non-traditional program will offer accelerated instruction in core courses to allow students a different pathway toward graduation credit.
Discussions included the possibility that the construction could be funded from a designated capital projects budget, rather than included in the 2016 bond. A formal recommendation to the board regarding the non-traditional program is expected at the November regular meeting.
Learn more about bond planning
Board Continues Bond Discussions – 10/13/15
At its October 13 meeting, RISD trustees continued discussions assessing district needs and potential items for inclusion in a 2016 bond package.
Trustees and staff continue to work to narrow a list of possible items and requests from different departments, programs and schools in advance of efforts to present options to community stakeholders for feedback and ideas.
Potential items have been categorized in one of three ways: maintenance of infrastructure & equipment at the end of useful life; construction/renovations to accommodate enrollment growth; and items that would provide enrichment opportunities for RISD students.
RISD is finalizing a schedule of opportunities to meet with community, parent and employee groups in a listening tour about 2016 bond ideas.
The Board also previewed a video highlighting the work completed in the 2011 bond.
Learn more from the Board meeting
Board Continues Bond Discussions – 10/5/15
At its October 5 meeting, RISD trustees continued discussions assessing district needs and potential items for inclusion in a 2016 bond package.
Trustees and staff are working to narrow a list of possible items and requests from different departments, programs and schools in advance of efforts to present options to community stakeholders for feedback and ideas.
Potential items have been categorized in one of three ways: maintenance of infrastructure & equipment at the end of useful life, construction/renovations to accommodate enrollment growth, and items that would provide enrichment opportunities for RISD students.
RISD is finalizing a schedule of opportunities to meet with community and parent groups in a listening tour about 2016 bond ideas to begin later this month. Dates of community meetings will be published in future issues of School Times, as well as on risd.org and social media.
In other Board activity from October regular meeting, trustees heard an annual report from Human Resources that emphasized mentoring and retention of district teachers and staff. The Board also voted to approve a single class size waiver request with the Texas Education Agency.
Learn more about the October 5 Regular Meeting
Board Discusses 2016 Bond Possibilities, Scenarios – 9/21/15
At their September 21 meeting, RISD trustees discussed possibilities and financial implications of a bond package for spring 2016. Dr. Waggoner opened the discussion with highlights of the bond process. Staff then shared an overview of the communications plan and timeliness for community engagement. Beginning in October and continuing through early December, the district’s leadership team will conduct a listening tour across RISD during which members of the public will be able to learn what types of items are being considered for the upcoming bond, and provide feedback and ideas. Meeting dates and details will be announced on the district homepage, as well as through RISD’s School Times newsletter and the district’s social media channels.
Deputy Superintendent for Finance and Support Services Tony Harkleroad then facilitated a discussion about possible items being considered for Bond 2016. Items under consideration are being slated into three general categories:
- maintenance items, which are equipment and infrastructure items that are past or will reach the end of useful life within five years;
- construction/capacity projects, which include additions or renovations to existing facilities, including additional space to accommodate enrollment growth;
- enrichment possibilities, which range from major technology initiatives to new facilities for extracurricular programs.
Several financial scenarios were presented, connecting bond packages of differing dollar amounts with implications on the property tax rate and future bond possibilities.
Learn More About Sept. 21 Board Meeting
Choice & Non-Traditional High School Programs – 9/14/15
Board members heard a presentation from staff and discussed the possibility of constructing a 21st century learning center that would house two separate programs open to any high school student in RISD. The first program would be non-traditional in nature and provide a setting for accelerated instruction for students whose schedule or life circumstances don't fit with a traditional high school format. RISD is the only suburban 6A district in Texas that doesn't offer a daytime non-traditional program.
The new school would also offer students a program of targeted dual credit instruction that would allow them to graduate high school with up to two years of college credit and possibly an associate's degree. The early college high school program would be open to students from across RISD.
The school would also include enhanced professional development labs for teachers and robust technology integration. Construction of a 21st century learning center would be contingent on a bond passing in 2016.
Learn more the Board meeting
Board to Discuss Potential Choice & Non-Traditional HS 9/11/15
At its September 14 Regular meeting, RISD Trustees will hear information regarding additional potential high school programs that would be open to all students in the district. Due to continued enrollment growth combined with higher demand for instructional options outside of the traditional grade 9-12 model, trustees and staff will discuss the possibility of building a smaller, centrally-located campus. The school would house separate programs to serve students who need alternatives to the traditional 9-12 model or those who are interested in accumulating accelerated college credit while completing high school.
Board meetings are open to the public, and parents, students, community members and staff are invited to attend. The September 14 meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the RISD Administration Building.
Freshman Center Will Become Part of LHHS 4/2/15
After months of study and reflection on community input, Richardson ISD has created a plan to combine the Lake Highlands Freshman Center and Lake Highlands High School under the LHHS name. Freshmen will continue to be served at LHFC. The district will seek approval from the Texas Education Agency in fall 2015 to combine the schools.
Letter to Parents and Community
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Principals' Chat: Lake Highlands
Board Approves Construction at Prairie Creek 2/16/15
At its February 16 meeting, the RISD Board of Trustees approved the construction of six additional classrooms at Prairie Creek Elem. to accommodate current and projected student enrollment growth in the PCE attendance area.
"Our goal is to have the new classrooms ready in time for the first day of school in August of 2016," said RISD Deputy Superintendent Tony Harkleroad. "Prairie Creek staff and parents will be able to provide input regarding design decisions at different points in the process."
The construction will mark the twelfth RISD campus since 2012 to undergo construction of additional classrooms to increase enrollment capacity.
Board Discusses Classroom Construction at Prairie Creek 2/2/15
At its February 2 meeting, the Board of Trustees discussed a district recommendation that additional classrooms be constructed at Prairie Creek Elementary to accommodate student enrollment growth in the PCE attendance area. Based on current enrollment and future projections, Prairie Creek will need additional classroom space or temporary accommodations as soon as next school year. If construction moves forward, additional classrooms would be completed by the beginning of school in August, 2016.
To create more capacity in response to enrollment growth, RISD has built additional classrooms at 11 schools since the 2011-12 school year. The recommendation is expected to be brought back to the board for consideration at its February 16 Study Session.
RISD Growth Expected to Continue 1/12/15
At its January 12 meeting, RISD Trustees heard the annual demographic update from Templeton Demographics. The update examines demographic, enrollment and population growth trends, along with economic and real estate data to project future district and school enrollment patterns.
Among the highlights, RISD's growth is expected to continue at a moderate rate, primarily due to turnover in single family households as young families continue to move into the district.
With multi-family housing rents at an all-time high, the district's economically disadvantaged student population is continuing to decline.
View the 2014-15 Demographic Update
Board Discusses Strategic Approach to Secondary Growth 11/17/14
At its November 17 meeting, the RISD Board of Trustees heard a presentation from Dr. Waggoner about the district's strategic approach to planning for secondary growth in the Lake Highlands area. Planning for secondary enrollmentgrowth is one of RISD's priority goals in the 2014-15 school year.
The district will create two groups to assist with the strategic planning effort, an Advisory Team of approximately 10 members and a Stakeholder Committee of approximately 30 members. The effort will begin in 2015 with the goal of arriving at recommendations for the Board to consider in June.
For additional details and general timeline, please review the presentation
Stakeholder Committee to Study Secondary Growth in Lake Highlands 10/24/14
One of RISD's priority goals this year is to plan for future space needs at the secondary level due to enrollment growth and new course offerings. An initial idea suggested by the district to help address future space needs is a possible merger of Lake Highlands Freshman Center and Lake Highlands High School. On October 23, RISD held the third of three community meetings in Lake Highlands to discuss the topics surrounding the idea. Dr. Waggoner announced at the meeting that more time is needed to study the different options for addressing space needs.
"We have heard consistent feedback that the Freshman Center is a valued and important part of the Lake Highlands community," said Waggoner. "I'm not comfortable making any recommendation to our Board regarding how to address secondary growth in Lake Highlands until more time can be taken, in concert with parents and other stakeholders, to evaluate the issues involved and determine what course of action is best for students in Lake Highlands."
A stakeholder committee that includes parents will be created to study the issue and report findings and recommendations to the district and community. No decisions or recommendations will be made to the RISD Board of Trustees before the committee has completed its work and shared findings and recommendations.
Details regarding the stakeholder committee will be forthcoming.
Lake Highlands Secondary Growth 10/17/14
RISD will be holding two more parent & community informational meetings to discuss ideas to accommodate projected student enrollment growth and programmatic opportunities at the secondary level in Lake Highlands. Parents & community members are welcome to attend, learn more, ask questions & provide feedback. The first meeting was held at Lake Highlands High School on October 16. Two additional meetings will be held:
Tuesday, October 21 - Forest Meadow Junior High - 6:30pm
Thursday, October 23 - Lake Highlands Junior High - 6:30pm
Read the parent/community letter
Read the LH Growth FAQs generated from staff, parent, community & student focus groups
District Considering Plans for Secondary Growth 9/22/14
At its September 22 study session, the RISD Board heard a comprehensive presentation and options from district staff about long range plans to accommodate academic programs and student growth at the secondary level (grades 7-12). As part of district priority goals this school year, staff have been studying projected enrollment patterns at the secondary level, best practice academic offerings under the new state graduation plans, implementation of expanded Career & Technical Education offerings and the physical capacity of high school campuses.
Topics discussed included planning for expected enrollment growth in Lake Highlands at the 9-12 level, potential new academic programs, moving toward more flexible learning environments in classrooms, and initiating studies related to possible equipment and construction needs in a potential 2016 bond election.
Next steps involve engaging staff, parents and community members to share information and gather suggestions and feedback.
Several initial options highlighted the presentation:
- Study the feasibility of transitioning ninth graders in Lake Highlands to Lake Highlands High School, thereby creating a comprehensive high school serving grades 9-12. A portion of the Freshman Center building could become an early college high school (ECHS) for students interested in earning college credit and/or a college degree while simultaneously completing high school graduation plan requirements. An ECHS would initially be available to Lake Highlands feeder pattern students. Other portions of the Freshman Center could be used to house classes for LHHS students, including expanded Career & Technical education offerings. This possibility would implement a 9-12 high school model in Lake Highlands, similar to the successful implementation at RISD's other three high schools, and provide potential benefits for students related to alignment of 9-12 curriculum, direct access to college & career readiness resources, and direct exposure to high school clubs and activities that engage students.
Next steps in this evaluation involve discussion of the ideas with teacher and parent focus groups in Lake Highlands in advance of public stakeholder information meetings.
The creation of an early college high school would require an application to the State of Texas this fall. One element staff will be discussing with focus groups is whether to pursue preparation of a non-binding ECHS application to keep district options open. Submitting an ECHS application would not obligate the district to open an ECHS, but would allow RISD the flexibility to move forward if parent and community feedback is supportive.
- Study ways to support the district's Secondary Instructional Model to create independent, successful learners who can demonstrate mastery of the curriculum while also acquiring the skills necessary to navigate an ever-changing global marketplace. These skills include the ability to think critically, problem solve, collaborate, communicate and manage time. Classrooms should be a place where students are involved in complex tasks or problems working individually and collaboratively to learn the content required. Learning should be an experience designed by the teacher based on students' interest and ability. Teachers should use a variety of assessment strategies to understand where their students are in the learning process. Additionally, the district wants to continue to expand programs of choice in RISD to allow more students to take advantage of dual-credit, AP and magnet opportunities.
- Study innovative methods of providing a more flexible physical learning environment in schools that reflects the modern instructional model and practices used in RISD. Instructional initiatives such as differentiated instruction, integration of personal technology into learning, and project-based learning in small groups are more difficult to support in traditionally-equipped classrooms. Options may include furniture that offers more flexibility in configuration, utility, and accommodation of technology; further strengthening the district's online infrastructure to allow students to bring their personal computers, tablets or devices to school in support of learning; and/or using tools such as idea paint that allow students to use parts of a classroom in ways previously unavailable.
- Review enrollment projections & capacity for Richardson High School to address immediate space needs in advance of the 2015-16 school year. Given Richardson High School's enrollment growth, projections, and physical space available, instructional needs are likely to require additional capacity considerations prior to a potential bond election in 2016. Review projected enrollments, enrollment capacities, current uses, and instructional needs for all four high schools to determine physical space and/or equipment needs as part of planning for potential bond referendum in 2016.
Information developed from the reviews about possible construction or equipment needs in a potential 2016 bond election will be shared with stakeholders for feedback and ideas as part of the bond planning process in 2015.
In addition to these initial ideas and options, the report shared results of additional studies requested by the board related to the possibilities of transitioning to a 6 of 7 period teaching model at secondary. Due to negative impact on teacher professional development opportunities, impact on district instructional initiatives, and impact on teacher retention, the transition was not recommended by staff at this time.
The board also received information about two additional topics of study, including transition to a middle school model that includes grades 6-8, and offering a universal and/or full day Pre-Kindergarten program to parents. District staff did not recommend pursuit of either topic due to academic performance, cost and/or facility issues. Board discussion about both topics was delayed until a future meeting.
Learn more about the growth planning
Bond & Construction Summer Project Update 5/9/14
As summer approaches, RISD has a number of bond and construction projects underway at campuses around the district. An update of progress on major projects includes:
- Mohawk Elementary Addition: The building addition is 'in the dry' allowing work to begin on drywall, interior paint, fire sprinklers, and ceilings (pictured). Installation is underway on exterior windows and facebrick.
- Forest Meadow JH Addition: Structural steel is complete, roofing is nearing completion. Drywall work, fire proofing, and fire sprinkler systems are underway. Rooftop HVAC units are in place allowing ductwork to proceed.
- Richland Elementary Addition & Renovation: Renovation scope in the existing hallways is progressing in evenings and on weekends. The building addition is progressing on schedule with exterior masonry, windows, and roofing all completed. Work is currently focusing on interior systems and finishes. Remaining interior demolition work required for renovations will commence on June 7.
- Classroom additions at Dover, Merriman Park, Wallace, & White Rock elementary schools: Crews are working overtime schedules on all four projects. Foundations and slabs are complete with structural steel underway on the classroom areas at Merriman Park, Wallace, & White Rock. Selective demolition for the gym expansions at Wallace & White Rock will begin the second week in June. At Dover, foundations are substantially complete and concrete slab work is underway.
- Building renovations: Renovations at Big Springs and Brentfield elementary schools, and the Berkner & Pearce high school auditoriums will begin the second week in June.
A substantial group of varied maintenance and upkeep projects around the district will also begin construction operations the second week of June.
All projects, excluding the high school auditoriums, are slated for substantial completion prior to the start of the fall 2014 semester on August 25. The two high school auditoriums are scheduled to be completed by October 1.
Board Hears 2014 Demographic Study 1/13/14
At its January 13 regular meeting, the RISD Board of Trustees heard a presentation from Templeton Demographics updating RISD's demographic projections. Mr. Bob Templeton explained the factors used to determine demographic projections and indicated RISD can expect continued growth at a moderate pace over the next five to ten years. Highlights of the study included:
- Over the last five years RISD has added the second highest number of students of any school district among the 81 districts in Region 10, behind Frisco.
- RISD grew at a slower than projected pace in 2013-14, adding 232 students.
- The slower-than-expected growth was attributed to record high average monthly rent for apartments in the Metroplex, which reduced/eliminated the incentives and specials that prompt many lower income families to move residences frequently.
- Apartment student yields have dropped, as the number of RISD students residing in apartment complexes went down by approximately 1,100 this year.
- The continued turnover or "regeneration" of single family homes in the district is expected to be the most significant source of future projected growth.
Board members requested additional information and projections related to current housing developments in the district, which will be provided and discussed at a future meeting.
RISD will use the updated demographic projections as one tool to assist in short-and long-term budget and facility planning.
Learn more about the demographic report
Elementary Capacity Construction 11/4/13
Trustees voted 7-0 to move forward with the construction of six additional classrooms at each of four RISD elementary schools: Dover, Merriman Park, Wallace and White Rock. The construction was proposed to accommodate current and projected enrollment growth in each school's attendance area, with a completion goal in advance of the first day of school in August of 2014. Based on district recommendations, the Board also approved cafeteria enlargement at Wallace, and gymnasium expansion at Wallace and White Rock.
District and school staff will begin working immediately with engineering and architectural firms to design the additional areas.
"This construction will continue RISD's efforts to create enough capacity at our schools to accommodate the students living within each attendance area and reduce the number of students overflowed," said RISD Superintendent Dr. Kay Waggoner.
RISD constructed additional classrooms in the summer of 2012 at Aikin and Stults Road elementary schools and in the summer of 2013 at Forest Lane and Skyview elementary schools. Classroom construction is also planned at Mohawk and Richland elementary schools and Forest Meadow Junior High in advance of the 2014-15 school year.
RISD has grown more than 10% in the last four years, including 25% growth at the elementary level in the Lake Highlands area.
Elementary Expansion Proposal 10/30/13
At the October 30 Board of Trustees Study Session, Dr. Waggoner formally recommended the addition of six classrooms each to Dover, Merriman Park, Wallace and White Rock elementary schools to accommodate current and projected enrollment growth. In addition, district staff presented results of common area capacity studies and recommended expanding the gymnasiums at Wallace and White Rock elementary schools and expanding the cafeteria at Wallace.
The recommendations came after several weeks of public input, including two informational meetings at each of the four schools. "We heard feedback from parents, staff and community members," said Dr. Waggoner. "We understand and value the concerns and support that have been expressed throughout this process. My goal in arriving at a final recommendation was to focus on what is best for the district as a whole in terms of allowing as many students as possible the opportunity to attend their home schools."
The Board will vote on the recommendations at its November 4 Regular meeting. If approved, the district would immediately move forward with architectural and engineering work to assess the sites and design plans. Each school community would have input into the design of the expanded areas.
Learn more about the board meeting
Capacity Construction FAQs
2014 Construction Projects 9/9/14
The Board heard information item details of planned 2014 bond and capacity construction projects from Executive Director of Facility Services Michael Longanecker and representatives of several architectural firms. Projects are planned for the following schools, with the bulk of the work occurring over the summer and goals for completion in advance of the 2014-15 school year:
- Berkner High School – 2011 Bond program project to renovate auditorium and ADA compliance work.
- Big Springs Elementary – Scheduled interior renovations and updates from the 2011 Bond program.
- Brentfield Elementary – 2011 Bond program updates to some classroom and office areas, restroom updates, exterior drainage and ADA compliance work.
- Dover Elementary - HVAC replacements and/or plumbing-sanitary sewer renovations from the 2011 Bond program.
- Forest Meadow Junior High – Construction of 10 additional classrooms to create capacity to accommodate enrollment growth within the Forest Meadow attendance area. Creation of loop rear drive to better accommodate bus operations and alleviate traffic & parking during peak times. Addition of front parking spaces, movement of courtyard, electrical upgrades and ADA compliance work.
- Mohawk Elementary – Construction of six additional classrooms to create capacity to accommodate enrollment growth within the Mohawk attendance area.
- Northrich Elementary - HVAC replacements and/or plumbing-sanitary sewer renovations from the 2011 Bond program.
- Pearce High School – 2011 Bond program project to renovate auditorium and ADA compliance work.
- Richardson Heights Elementary - HVAC replacements and/or plumbing-sanitary sewer renovations from the 2011 Bond program.
- Richland Elementary - Construction of eight additional classrooms to create capacity to accommodate enrollment growth within the Richland attendance area. Scheduled interior renovations and updates from the 2011 Bond program.
In addition, the Board voted to approve the Construction Manager at Risk delivery method for use on additional possible 2014 projects, if enrollment and circumstances dictate the need. Additional projects, if needed, would involve classroom construction to create additional capacity to accommodate enrollment growth within respective attendance areas at Dover Elementary, Merriman Park Elementary, Prairie Creek Elementary, Wallace Elementary and/or White Rock Elementary.