FIRST Meeting - December 8, 2015
Chief Operations Officer Paula Barbaroux welcomed FIRST members to the meeting. She then invited Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robin Ryan to offer opening remarks.
Dr. Ryan thanked members for coming. He emphasized the importance of sharing consistent information with members and the community. He gave a quick history of prior bond programs and project selection, such as the building of a new Colleyville Elementary School in 2005. At that time, both Cannon Elementary and Colleyville Elementary were discussed as possible bond projects and it was decided by the community to build a new Colleyville Elementary and renovate the former school into the PDEC.
Dr. Ryan next referred to a map of schools and facilities in the district to discuss the history of programs and the schools that host them. In this discussion, he shared a history of Silver Lake Elementary School and it’s bilingual population, which is where the dual language program began. He then shared details about Cannon, explaining that before STEM came to Cannon, there were only 7 parents in the PTA and families were moving their students to other schools. A new leader and principal had a vision for the school and proposed to make Cannon a STEM school. Now, after the program has developed over the past 5 years, the PTA has grown exponentially with new families seeking to send their students to Cannon.
Moving along the map, Dr. Ryan explained that Career & Technology Education opportunities were very limited. Building a new facility, like many districts have done, would have been possible but expensive. Instead, the community chose to renovate the former 900-wing of Grapevine High School into a state-of-the-art career and education center to serve both GHS and CHHS students. Enrollment in these courses has almost tripled since this renovation.
Another specialty program of the district is found at Glenhope Elementary School through the ASPIRE Academy. This program serves highly gifted students. The district was aware of a need to provide a rich and challenging educational experience for its highly gifted students. At the time only two schools had capacity to add students. One was Bransford Elementary School located in the Northwest corner of the district and the other was Glenhope. Glenhope was selected because of its centralized location in the district and principal leadership that asked to lead the program.
Dr. Ryan emphasized that each of these programs began through principal/staff initiatives. The leaders of these programs sought grants, business partnerships and found creative ways to implement them on their campus. Looking to the future, we cannot anticipate what new programs will evolve but the district continues to encourage campus leadership to find ways to bring these new programs and student opportunities to their schools.
Ms. Barbaroux referenced several handouts and shared some good news with team members. The new working total of possible bond projects are closer to $381M. She then gave a quick explanation of the budget-cutting changes team members worked on to trim down their project ideas.
She also explained a cost-cutting change to a possible transportation project to expand the parking lot. This line item cost has been trimmed due to a location change to this expansion project.
Multipurpose Activity Centers
Ms. Barbaroux transitioned her discussion to clarify items related to the MACs. Not each group had the complete touring / background information as other groups, and thus she wanted to provide some of those details now. A handout includes a breakdown of spaces in the HEB ISD MAC compared to the proposed GCISD MACs. The GCISD facilities proposed do not include offices and spaces for coaches of all sports programs. LD Bell High School needed additional space for its academic program. GCISD high schools do not have this need.
She shared these details in order to help all team members have the same, consistent information.
Swim Center Feedback
Ms. Barbaroux explained that additional messages have been submitted through Let’s Talk requesting inclusion of the Swim Center in the possible bond projects. Included in meeting handouts, are data and information about facilities in other districts. Details regarding the Garland ISD swim center is also included to serve as a construction budget example of a project that is currently in design. Ms. Barbaroux explained the committee could consider the Garland facility for budgeting and planning purposes, which would bring the cost of a new swim center down to $44 million.
She explained that if FIRST would like to again discuss a possible new swim center for GCISD, then that can definitely happen. She also explained that if a new facility is built the district would need to assess the M&O costs associated with running the facility. She noted that if a new facility is built, most likely the old facility will remain in use.
Consensus Voting Framework
To prepare for the voting process, Ms. Barbaroux confirmed laptop operators for each group. After group members organized themselves, Ms. Barbaroux turned time over to Tim McClure from Huckabee to deliver the voting process instructions. This is Round #1 of voting--team members will have two more voting opportunities.
During the group voting discussion, Ms. Barbaroux provided an update to the group to explain that an error in the spreadsheet had been found regarding the Cannon rebuilding project. The recommended project keeps the 2008 renovation and plans on a rebuild for the rest of the campus.
At 7:58 p.m., Ms. Barbaroux informed Team Members that they were free to pause their voting and discussions and resume at the next FIRST meeting in January.