Board Continues Bond, Growth Discussions

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.

District Calendar

  • February 1 - Regular Board Meeting
  • February 11 - End of Grading Period
  • February 15 - Student Holiday/Staff Development Day
  • February 15 - Board Study Session
  • March 7-11 - Spring Break

Events & Fundraisers

  • BHS Theatre - Grease The Musical - Jan. 27-30
  • LHHS Musical Kiss Me Kate - Jan. 28-31
  • RHS Mattress Palooza - Jan. 30
  • PHS Spring Sports Kick Off - Feb. 10
  • PTA Used Book Fair - Feb, 11-14
  • LHHS Highlandettes Dance Clinic - Feb. 15
  • Parent & Teen Ed - Using Social Media Safely - Feb. 16
  • PHS Choir Chili Cook Off - Feb. 21

Focus Accounts Needed for Online Enrollment

In March, parents of current non-magnet elementary students in kindergarten through fifth grades will be able to enroll their children for the 2016-17 school year online. In order to enroll online, an active Focus Parent account will be required. Focus Parent accounts also allow parents to view their child's grade and attendance information online.

Online enrollment for secondary students will occur in late July, also through Focus.

Parents are encouraged to create a Focus Parent account
if they have not already done so.

Filing Period Open For RISD Board Election

Terms expire for places 3, 4 and 5 on the RISD Board of Trustees in May. The window is now open for residents interested in running for the RISD Board of Trustees to file for a place on the ballot for the May 7 election.

Place 4 incumbent Lanet Greenhaw has announced she will not seek re-election after 18 years of service on the Board. Place 3 incumbent Kris Oliver and Place 5 incumbent Eron Linn have both filed to seek re-election to three-year terms.

Potential candidates may pick up an information packet at the RISD Administration Building, 400 S. Greenville Avenue in Richardson during normal business hours. The deadline to return filing documents for the May 7 election is February 19 at 5:00p.m.

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Parent Weather Reminder

As temperatures are cooling off and we prepare for the possibility that weather conditions may impact school schedules, please ensure your child’s school has up-to-date contact information, including an accurate phone number and email address.

When inclement weather arrives, RISD will notify parents and staff directly of any closures or delays, so please make sure the district can contact you.

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