Scorecard Update Regarding Efficient Operations

Priority four of the district scorecard outline guidelines for efficient operations. The three main goals of this priority are to ensure financial stewardship and transparency, to develop and deploy facility management processes to address district’s fast growth, and to ensure efficient and effective operations.

This report given by Dr. Laurelyn Arterbury, NBISD Superintendent, focuses on goal 4.3 which ensures efficient and effective operations and the ways in which she contributes to making sure this goal is met.

Dr. Arterbury works to develop systems to ensure NBISD has effective operations. Effective operations are only possible if feedback is requested of all stakeholders so the district can determine what is working and what needs improvement. Dr. Arterbury is currently conducting a superintendent’s listening tour titled “Listening with Laurelyn.” The goal behind this initiative is to gather candid feedback from employees, parents and community members. Feedback is collected through staff listening sessions and an online form that allows community members to submit anonymous comments.

“Listening with Laurelyn” also includes a social media component as well. Through posts on Facebook and Instagram, stakeholders had the opportunity to ask questions to Dr. Arterbury. Video responses to the questions are then posted back to the community from Dr. Arterbury. “This is a great way for me to get the chance to connect with our community and while also providing answers to the questions that our stakeholders are asking,” said Dr. Arterbury. “This initiative aims to create an inclusive and collaborative community where all stakeholders can share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.”

NBISD Demographer Report – Fall 2023

The Fall 2023 NBISD Demographer’s Report was presented to the Board. This report provides valuable information that guides informed decisions on the future plans for growth in our district.

The biggest takeaways from the report is that the New Braunfels community is continuing to grow at record rates – New Braunfels is the 8th largest market in the greater San Antonio area. But while the community is experiencing growth, NIBSD enrollment rates for the 2023-24 school year did not meet the projected growth of 3% that demographers expected. As of the Fall 2023 snapshot date, district enrollment did increase to a record 9,788 students but this only shows an increase in growth of +0.7% rather than the projected 3% growth rate the district was previously planning from.

The demographer attributes the lower expected growth rates to lower Kindergarten and 1st grade enrollment, open enrollment transfers to neighboring districts, and more leavers to charter, private, and homeschooling. This changes the enrollment projections outlook from +3.0% per year down to +0.8-1.4% annually.

View the report in its entirety on the December 11th Board Agenda here.

Board Budget Priorities

NBISD Board of Trustees opened up budget workshop #3 by reviewing possible Board budget priorities for the FY 2024 – 2025 budget.  

The following priorities were discussed with the Board:

  • Providing a balanced budget with minimal reliance on the general fund; providing optimal and targeted levels 
  • Providing optimal and targeted levels of funding and staffing for improved student achievement to meet the goals identified within the Strategic Plan
  • Administering competitive salaries, stipends and benefits for all employees
  • Continuing to sufficiently fund school safety initiatives
  • Increasing state funding through implementation of district initiative that promote student attendance
  • Providing adequate adequate start-up staffing for Legend Point, Elementary #11 and Long Creek High School
  • Taking action to reduce/eliminate all unnecessary spending
  • Eliminate leakage in supplier contracts 

Some of the risks that are associated with bonds have been actions taken by state, such as unfunded mandates that typically occur each Legislative session. The state requires districts to spend more funds to meet requirements, but it fails to provide additional funding for those mandates. For example, the state has required each campus to have a School Resource Officer (SRO). Districts now are required to pay for those salaries without any additional funds coming from the state, leaving the district to have to use its funds.

The board also discussed looking at a variety of ways to bring in revenue. Discussions included marketing, advertising and making NBISD an open-enrollment district. All of these topics were only up for discussion and no decisions were made. 

NBISD Chief Financial Officer Paul McLarty said there also are risks with the possibility of failing a Bond Election if one is called. In that case, the district would be forced to use its fund balance to fund projects that were planned to be paid for with bond funds.

Other impacts on the budget have inflationary impacts on fuel, property and casualty insurance and other commodities and the $100,000 homestead exemption. 

He recommended the creation of a capital plan. Creating a capital plan would allow NBISD to have a fund separate from the fund balance. To do this, McLarty suggested the board approve that the fund balance minimum be set at three months operating expenses.

“Since I’ve been on the board, the fund balance has had 9-10 months,” said Board President Eric Bergquist. “I get nervous when I hear you want to take that down to three months.” 

McLarty said that he has created capital plans in other school districts and we would not  not drain the fund balance down to zero.  

“The minimum the board ever will go is three months and can never go below 3 months of fund balance. It can always be higher and I would recommend that it is,”  Arterbury said.

Report from NBISD Bond Planning Committee

The NBISD Bond Planning Committee presented and recommended that Trustees move forward with a bond program totalling $313,000,000 with no tax rate increase. The committee had nominations and applications for 83 members with 69 members attending bond planning meetings. Five meetings were held between September and November.

Twenty NBISD staff members and Stantec Architecture staff were in attendance for support. There were representatives from every area of the district and membership included community members, business owners and non-parents.

Committee Chair Brandon Dietert and Co-Chair John Tucker presented their findings to the board. Recommendations from the committee included:

Facility Upgrades

  • NBHS Phase 2 ($226,771,441)
  • Agriculture center upgrades ($2,500,000)
  • School safety and security upgrades ($4,322,750)
  • Playground equipment and sun shades at Carl Schurz and Seele ($500,000)
  • Fine arts and band equipment ($1,426,568)
  • Major maintenance projects such as HVAC, roofing, lighting, window replacement, mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades, interior refreshing, sidewalks and parking lots ($23,744,310)
  • Administrative and project management fees ($5,000,000)
  • Bus replacement ($3,000,000)

Athletics (Note: This will be in a separate proposition.)

  • LCHS Stadium and competition track ($40,000,000)
  • 7,000 seat stadium with ability to expand, modest press box, 8-lane competition track, field event areas, concessions and restrooms, storage and upgraded lighting
  • Unicorn Stadium upgrades ($2,500,000)
  • Turf replacement, upgrades to current pressbox, upgrade lighting, update sound system for video board

Technology (Note: This will be in a separate proposition.)

  • Replacement of student and staff devices – iPad replacement for one-to-one learning, network hardware upgrades and replacements and refresh staff computers ($3,000,000)

View the report in its entirety on the December 11th Board Agenda here.

Board Approves Continuing NBISD Comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Plan Instead of Employing School Chaplains

NBISD administration recommended that the district continue to use our current processes and follow the NBISD Comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Plan so our students have the opportunity to receive counseling services from certified professionals in the field. The board voted in favor of this recommendation.

Senate Bill 763 was passed in the 88th legislative session and this bill allows school districts to employ chaplains or accept chaplains as volunteers to provide support, services, and programs for students as decided by the Board of Trustees. This bill also requires that each Texas School Board take a record vote by March 1, 2024 on whether or not to adopt a policy that would allow chaplains to work in the school district in the above mentioned capacity.

Dr. Arterbury, NBISD Superintendent, brought the topic up for discussion at the November Board meeting. It was noted that NBISD does not currently employ or accept chaplains in this capacity. NBISD utilizes certified counselors and follows the NBISD Comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Plan.

NBISD Comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Plan offers a comprehensive counseling program to all NBISD students. This program includes professional, certified school counselors, certified Crisis Intervention Counselors, and Communities in Schools Site Coordinators. You can view the entire plan here.

This bill does not define “chaplain,” so the state will not require any type of certification for chaplains employed or volunteering under this law. Because of this Dr. Arterbury recommends NBISD continue to use our current processes and follow the NBISD Comprehensive School Counseling and Guidance Plan so our students have the opportunity to receive counseling services from certified professionals in the field.

There are a number of ways that folks can volunteer within NBISD. Volunteering, mentoring, Parent Teacher Association and Watch Dogs Dad Groups are all available to NBISD community members. To find out more about specific volunteer possibilities, please click here.

Board Approves Human Sexuality Instructional Materials

After a long process of researching and vetting human sexuality instructional materials, the board voted to approve the program titled Living WELL Aware as the next curricular model for grades 6-8.

In April of 2022 the NBISD Board of Trustees adopted a resolution convening the local School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) to make a recommendation on the adoption of a new human sexuality curriculum for grades 6-8. The curriculum the district has been using is now out of date.

The SHAC committee reviewed five instructional programs and used a rubric to evaluate the curriculum based on correlation and alignment, content, and differentiation and enrichment. By law, instructional materials must teach abstinence as the only method of birth control that is 100% effective.

The committee determined the program Living Well Aware: My Choices, My Life, A Guide to Adolescent Wellness scored the highest on the rubric. With this information, the committee unanimously decided to take this curriculum forward to the Board.

Before doing so, the SHAC held two public meetings where the community and parents reviewed the proposed curriculum for themselves. The community had the opportunity to ask questions, view the curriculum online and speak with the author Dr. Sulak via Zoom. The curriculum was well received by those in attendance. This curriculum, if adopted, will be delivered to students in grades 6-9 whose parents “opt-in” to the instruction.

Living Well Aware: My Choices, My Life. A Guide to Adolescent Wellness Living WELL Aware: My Choices, My Life – Welcome Video

“As a parent of two middle school daughters myself, I was excited to see that this curriculum fills a need for sexual education in the district,” said Laura Prewitt. “

Board Approves Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the City of New Braunfels for School Resource Officers

The Board voted to approve the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the City of New Braunfels. This partnership with the New Braunfels Police Department, the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office and Comal County Constables provides armed security, as mandated by House Bill 3. 

NBPD assigned a 7th School Resource Officer (SRO) during the week of October 30, and three additional SRO positions have been posted recently. 

Police presence can be seen throughout the day at NBISD campuses, according to Araceli De La Cruz, NBISD Executive Director of Student Services. Officers check doors and monitor the exterior and interior of school buildings.

NBISD is grateful for the strong partnership that we have with NBPD and the City of New Braunfels.

Board Approves Long Creek High School Marching Band Uniforms

Dr. Marty Lenard unveiled the Long Creek High School Marching Band Uniforms at this evening’s board meeting. The Board voted to approve the purchase of the uniforms for the band.

With Long Creek HS opening in the Fall of 2024, the fine arts department has been working on ensuring that the campus has marching uniforms to begin the 2024 marching season and for football games when the Dragons take the field.

Band directors in the district, along with district administration, have worked on the design since August. “We’re working on designing a versatile uniform for Dragon band members that includes a game day uniform as well as alternate pieces of the uniform that can be interchanged and worn for competitions and other events,” said Dr. Marty Lenard, NBISD Director of Fine Arts.

These uniforms have become much easier to take care of over the years and can be washed on campus rather than taken to a dry cleaner, Lenard said. The uniforms also are a much lighter fabric for games that are held in 100-degree temperatures. Life expectancy of the band uniforms is 8 to 10 years, he said.

Consider the Approval of Security Fencing

The Board of Trustees approved the purchase of exterior fencing at Oak Run Middle School, New Braunfels Middle School, and Seele Elementary School. This project will cost $249,230.00 and is being funded by the TEA SAFE Grant.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

The next regular board meeting will be held on January 8th at 6:00 pm. If you would like to make a public comment at an upcoming board meeting please fill out the request form.

Learn more about the New Braunfels ISD Board of Trustees on our website where you can find recordings and agendas from past board meetings.