FIRST Meeting - September 22, 2015


Chief Operations Officer Paula Barbaroux started the meeting by welcoming team members, and presenters.

Before progressing further in tonight’s meeting, she wanted to connect back to our last meeting, reminding team members that our foundation is rooted in LEAD 2021.

She then turned time over to Matt Gamble from Baselice to explain the results from a recent community survey.


Community Awareness Survey

With a sample of 352 respondents, Matt Gamble of Baselice explained that the survey was completed in two nights, Sept. 8 & 9. Survey objectives were:

  • To assess current levels of support and opposition to bond proposals of $125, $200, and $225 million.

  • To measure willingness to pay additional monthly property taxes of specific amounts.

  • To measure the favorability of bond elements.

Questions were asked based on uninformed and informed possible ballots. Voter Participation and Gender Quotas were evaluated in sampling for the survey. Mr. Gamble explained that 39% of registered voters in the sample area are age 18 - 44; however, looking at past election participation, seniors (age 65+) are generally the strongest voter groups.

Looking at possible Voter Participation, 58% of survey respondents claimed to participate in “all” or “most” elections.

A Brief Summary of Survey Responses

  • 50% are current GCISD Parents, 32% are former GCISD parents and 18% are non-GCISD parents

  • 85% of respondents are “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with the quality of education GCISD offers

  • When asked about the Initial Ballot (an “uninformed” vote), 52% of respondents said they would vote “yes,” in favor, while 27% would vote against.

  • Looking at the level of support based on possible bond amounts,

○ At the $125 bond level, 54% said they would vote “yes” vs 29% voting “no”

○ At the $200 bond level, 52% said they would vote “yes” vs 27% voting “no”

○ At the $225 bond level, 42% said they would vote “yes” vs 43% voting “no”

  • Mr. Gamble then reviewed support for select possible bond elements (e.g. classroom additions, security, technology, career and tech, athletic facilities, HVAC upgrades, etc.). All elements received strong favor for support.

  • When respondents were asked about possible tax increases to support a bond, 64% (40% strongly) would be willing to pay an additional $13.47 more each month in taxes to support a bond program.

○ Only 42% said they would vote “yes” to a $24.20 monthly increase

○ Only 38% said they would vote “yes” to a $27.78 monthly increase


Additional Information

Additional respondent notes showed that community members appreciated knowing that 100% of bond funds stay in the community (i.e. cannot be taken away by state); all projects in the 2011 bond program were completed on time, under budget and ahead of schedule; in the past 10 years, the district has not raised the property tax rate for operating costs and the district tax rate is lower today than it was in 2006; and because state law freezes tax rates for residents 65 years of age and older, those residents would NOT pay additional taxes associated with the bond. Knowledge of these factors had a positive impact in a respondent’s likeliness to vote “yes” to a possible bond.


Attitudinal Statements

Respondents agreed (80% or higher) with the following statements:

  • A top quality school district enhances my property value and strengthens our community.

  • Our schools must be maintained and improved to extend their life and protect taxpayer investment.

  • Renovations are needed to modernize our schools in order to continue providing a high-quality education with a variety of programs for our students.

Respondents were fairly split in their opinions on the following statements:

  • Four years ago voters passed a $124.5 million bond, which increased the district’s property tax rate. It is not time for another bond.

○ 50% Agree, 44% Disagree

  • My taxes are already high enough and I cannot support a bond measure at this time.

○ 49% Agree, 48% Disagree

  • The bond proposal includes a lot of unneeded and costly items and voters should insist on something better.

○ 40% Agree, 41 % Disagree


Informed Ballot

Now that respondents were more informed of the possible elements of a bond, when asked whether or not they would support the bond: 61% said “yes” they would support and 33% said they would still vote against a bond.

Because 61% support may be less than some specific elements addressed in the bond (some items garnered close to 80% support), Mr. Gamble explained that Baselice then worked to try and find the connection between these elements and participants who did not support the bond. Looking at the relationships of respondents and the supported elements, helped narrow down the list of bond elements to what respondents feel are the most important:


○ Because of rising construction costs and current low interest rates, it saves our community money to do this bond package NOW rather than later

○ Improve learning environments by creating multipurpose spaces for collaborative learning

○ Add classrooms to Grapevine ES, Timberline ES and Grapevine MS to handle overcrowding and enrollment growth in Grapevine


○ Improve learning environments by creating multipurpose spaces for collaborative learning

○ Allow for improvements to heating and cooling systems and replacing exterior lighting with LED, all of which make schools more energy efficient and save on utility costs in the long run

○ Cannon ES renovation


○ Add classrooms to Grapevine ES, Timberline ES and Grapevine MS to handle overcrowding and enrollment growth in Grapevine.

○ Because of rising construction costs and current low interest rates, it saves our community money to do this bond package NOW rather than later

○ FIRST (knowing that community members are looking at facility needs and prioritizing)

After Mr. Gamble concluded his review of the survey information, Ms. Barbaroux wrapped up the presentation topic by informing FIRST members that this survey data is simply a tool to help in planning and discussion phases. Since we don’t know what elements will be included in a possible bond program, this information provides members a perspective from the community to aide his/her work prioritizing potential projects as a member of FIRST.


Operational Services Presentation

Ms. Barbaroux transitioned the meeting to discuss with FIRST members details about the Operational Services division of the district.

Ms. Barbaroux explained that Strategy 7 of the district’s LEAD 2021 strategic plan is dedicated to facilities to ensure all facilities are progressively equipped and designed to support the district’s mission and strategic objectives. As a result of Strategy 7, 9 specific results were developed:

  1. Multipurpose areas to support administrative, academic and extracurricular activities

  2. Optimize the utilizations of space, sustain a more flexible learning environment

  3. Promote an interactive, stimulating and engaging learning environment

  4. Ensure facilities support increased use of existing and emerging technologies

  5. Adopt best practices for new construction, maintenance and renovations to provide a learning environment that is a resource efficient, healthy, comfortable, secure, safe, adaptable and easy to operate and maintain

  6. Adopt best practices for landscaping and grounds to provide resource efficient, healthy, safe and easy to maintain outdoor areas

  7. Adopt best practices for cleaning that result in hygienic, clean, and safe environments, make use of environmentally friendly cleaning methods, and reduce the consumption of natural resources.

  8. Establish a school of choice (e.g. TECC)

  9. Augment and financially support outdoor instructional areas

Operational Services also has a general district goal to implement a comprehensive plan to address security needs at all district facilities.

Areas of concern for Operational Services revolves around Aging Conditions (e.g. buildings, systems, outdoor learning areas, etc.), Growth (e.g. overcrowding, school additions, renovations, etc.), Environment (Evolution) (e.g. multipurpose spaces, optimize space, upgrade HVAC, etc.), Resources (Evolution) (e.g. resource efficient, LED lighting, replace grass with turf, etc.)

Considerations for OPS

Consider projects that result in more efficiency and result in less manpower and resources and that do not add cost to the operating budget.

  • Cannon Elementary School (56 years old) -- foundation repairs rival cost of a new facility (AGING)

  • Colleyville Middle School (40 years) -- originally built as open concept school which reduces functionality (AGING)

  • Additions to handle growth (Grapevine ES, Grapevine MS, Heritage MS, PDEC, Administration) (GROWTH)

  • Controlled vestibules (relocate campus offices to have a direct line of sight to the main entrance of the school and to monitor entrance/exit -- have a way to allow visitors to enter building without giving them access to entire building (SECURITY-EVOLUTION)

  • Additional EVOLUTION Considerations

○ LED light replacement

○ Makerspaces - optimize an existing space or spaces to create areas for students to work independently or collaboratively, to cement their learning through experimentation, tinkering and their fellow students

○ Furnishings for libraries that transform these large areas into adaptable and multipurpose areas of the school

○ Learning Gardens (outdoor learning areas)

  • Aging Facilities (from HVAC systems to roofing)

  • Mustang Panther Stadium (built in 1968) (AGING)

  • Traffic Flow at Campuses (BES, TES, GHES and GMS), canopies and parking lot additions (GROWTH)

  • Surveillance (EVOLUTION-SECURITY)

  • Access Control (access systems and roll down gates) (EVOLUTION-SECURITY)

  • Key management System (EVOLUTION)

  • Public Announcement Systems (EVOLUTION-SECURITY)

  • Equipment -- grounds, maintenance (AGING)

  • Transportation -- replace busses due to mileage, age and condition, GPS, Radio Frequency ID with Parent Portal, parking lot addition, 2 activity travel buses, Fuel management system hardware, and cathodic protection of fuel tanks (AGING, GROWTH, EVOLUTION)

  • Kitchens -- freezer/coolers, steam tables and dishwashers (AGING)

Ms. Barbaroux reminded FIRST members that many of the potential projects are directly connected to Lead 2021, many others deal with compliance and aging issues, and the rest deal with growth. She then asked FIRST members to keep the 30,000 ft. view in mind--the big picture of our district goals--while looking at the micro-view of your subcommittee goals.

Discussion Activity

The discussion activity began with an opinion poll on the following question:

Do you recommend putting together a bond package for GCISD?

FIRST members answered the anonymous poll with a overwhelming agreement of “yes.”


Facility Assessment Process & Navigating Potential Projects

Following the poll, Tim McClure of Huckabee discussed the facility assessment his firm conducted on GCISD. He opened his presentation explaining who Huckabee is: experts in education construction (building public schools in the state of Texas).


Timeline of Process

Mr. McClure explained that the FIRST members are currently in the middle of their process, with the current end-point being a possible May 2016 election. Huckabee has been engaged reviewing facilities against the district’s vision and standards since December 2014.


Facility Assessment Process

The Facility Assessment process includes putting experts on the ground (engineers/consultants) who, over the course of several months, walk through each district facility. This develops a profile of the condition of the buildings at that time. FIRST members in Group 1 will be given details of the assessment (dealing with aging conditions), which is organized by campus. Reports include a master plan of how the school is utilized and photographic map along with a narrative.


FIRST Subcommittees

Mr. McClure reminded FIRST members that the six subcommittees focus on Aging, Growth and Evolution and potential projects or requests have been placed into the corresponding group.

Mr. McClure then reviewed a sample spreadsheet to explain the associated opinions of probable costs for potential projects. All estimates are based on a loosely defined scope that has to be refined as members go through their review and prioritization process and are made at today’s construction rates.


Building a Bond Budget

Mr. McClure explained to FIRST members that Total Project Costs are inclusive of ‘soft costs’ (architectural/engineering professional fees, permitting, etc.), contingencies and escalation.

When building a budget, start with the Current Construction Cost (Bricks, mortar, roof, etc.) and add Escalation (construction time / inflation). This totals the Estimated Construction Value. From there, we soft cost, furniture and equipment, technology, contingency (i.e. to cover unforeseen/unexpected conditions and changes in the market, such as material spikes, labor shortages or natural disasters. The final total is the Total Project Budget.

Ms. Barbaroux emphasized to FIRST members the importance of the contingency fund needed in any public bond program. What makes a bond program successful and helps ensure future successful bond programs includes completing all projects voted on by the community--i.e. completing all projects promised to voters. The contingency fund helps provide this assurance when faced with unexpected costs and events that affect the construction/completion of bond projects.



Ms. Barbaroux informed FIRST members that she will send the information presented tonight to ensure they have the resources and notes they need to begin their review of potential projects. She will also send FIRST members the Student Voice video(shown below) to hear the student perspective on what would improve their learning environment.