Recap of March 29, 2021 Board of Trustees Meeting

Very long but productive board meeting last night with much good news!

The Spring Health Update was passed by the majority of the board in support of bringing parents and volunteers back on campuses, adjusting quarantine timeframes to help keep students(and teachers) in classrooms, and holding social events and celebrations such as elementary field days and senior picnics! This is wonderful news for our students, and is only possible thanks to the diligence of our community, particularly GCISD staff. The full update can be found on the district website. I want to reiterate, this update is for this spring only. Fall planning is just now beginning but based on the information at the meeting last night, I am extremely optimistic that the 21-22 school year will look even better!

In addition, the Board unanimously authorized the refunding of a portion of the 2011 bonds, which will result in a substantial rate reduction from 5% to approximately 1% and cost savings of about $8 million to district taxpayers on those bonds alone. The cost to issue the refunding is minimal compared to the huge savings and will also set up the district for additional future prepayments, thus continuing the trend of aggressive debt reduction. Sound fiscal policies and strong financial management has equated to nearly $100 million in direct interest savings to GCISD taxpayers over the years, without big tax rate increases.

Spring Break Nutrition

Spent the afternoon volunteering with staff and middle and high school students who gave up part of their spring break to help provide meals to GCISD families. The Nutrition Services team has this down to a science, creating meals that are healthy(look at all that fresh fruit!), easy for kids to assemble while parents are at work, and simple to distribute. And what a pleasure it was to thank in person some of the employees who braved the terrible conditions during the big freeze to get meals to students. Check out their Facebook page for more information on this program and future opportunities!

#WeAreGCISD

Get to Know Becky! A Q&A with Community Impact

Here are my responses to a Q&A with Community Impact. Read on to learn about why I’m running, my extensive qualifications, my top 3 priorities, and the district’s COVID-19 response.

Why are you running for office?

I am a firm believer in Servant Leadership and in giving back to this community which has been a wonderful place to live and raise our family since moving here more than 20 years ago.  By staying focused on GCISD’s core values of Purpose, Community, and Innovation, and our strategic plan LEAD 2.0, GCISD stands as one of the top school districts in some of the most desirable, safest cities in not only the state but the country.  This is evidenced by numerous recognitions such as Top 100 Place to Work 3 years in a row, H-E-B Excellence in Education Board of the Year finalist, campus distinctions including Colleyville Middle School  “School to Watch” and Cannon STEM School of Excellence(only one in Texas), and many other awards.  My parents instilled in me a commitment to be an active participant in my community, and I am honored and humbled to be a part of the team that has contributed to the academic success of GCISD.

List your qualifications for office.

I have an extensive record of work and civic experience, and have held numerous campus, district, community, and organizational positions. My work history includes former Park Ranger at Grapevine Lake and experience as a PreK Assistant Teacher, and I am currently an assistant public housing coordinator with the Grapevine Housing Authority. 

Within GCISD, I have served on the Budget & Finance Committee, the District Excellence Committee, the Safety & Security Committee, Legislative Committee, Community PTA member, GCFFA sponsor, elementary Room Mom, middle and high school sports, band, and academic booster club volunteer, and SAGE member.

As a trustee, I earned my Master Trustee certification in 2016, and represent Region 11 on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association of School Board, where I have served on the Budget & Finance Committee and Legislative Committee.

My community involvement includes former Ronaoke City Council and mayor pro tem, Roanoke 4B Economic Development Board, Grapevine Planning and Zoning Commission, Keep Grapevine Beautiful, GRACE Board of Directors, Grapevine Chamber, Grapevine Women’s Division, and current GCISD liaison to Grapevine Parks and Recreation board. 

My husband John and I have three children, and we attend St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?

Students will always be my top priority.  Given the challenges of 2020-2021, I want to ensure that unfinished learning is addressed and students have opportunities to fill in any gaps, such as bridge courses and collaboration between grade levels to transition to the next school year.  At the same time, their social and emotional health is also important, which is why I support the continuation of sports and fine arts, access to mental health support and resources, and keeping all campuses open for in-person instruction.

GCISD has paid down debt, improved the district’s bond rating to Aa1, earned Financial Integrity recognition 18 years in a row, lowered the tax rate, and provided teacher raises.  Work remains to be done including educating taxpayers on their rights to protest unreasonable property valuations, encouraging homeowners to access heir homestead exemptions(SB1943) and maintaining relationships with GCISD’s legislators to advocate for additional shifting of the burden of property taxes away from homeowners.

Community involvement is vital; I support opportunities for parents and community members to participate in our schools including Safety & Security, Student Health, Budget & Finance, and Campus Excellence committees as well as business, church, and civic organization partnerships.

Discuss the district’s COVID-19 response and what you think is working well and what needs to change.

Thanks to the hard work of teachers and staff, GCISD opened on time in August, well before other DFW school districts, and parents could choose online or in-person instruction for their children.  With the fiber optic project partnership with the cities of Grapevine and Colleyville and the voters’ support of the 2016 bond, GCISD was well-prepared to meet the digital demands with 1:1 devices and connectivity. Increased health and safety protocols for teachers and students resulted in GCISD’s positivity rate consistently trending below Tarrant County and allowed students to stay in-person and to participate in extracurricular activities, and at no time did any GCISD campus shut down.

The district’s covid response was hampered by contradictory, over-reaching directives out of Austin from TEA.  Also, a shortage of substitutes has been a challenge; the district added compensation to teachers who cover additional classes. Reducing the number of days in quarantine has made it possible for students and staff to return to campus faster, as in-person instruction is vital to their academic success.  I would like to see teachers prioritized to receive the vaccine, and with its availability, next school year should look even better.

Vote GCISD with FACTS!

Know the facts about our district.

Salaries raised 8 out of last 9 years

Tax rate lowered 2 years in a row

Financial management rated SUPERIOR

$100M in savings to taxpayers

Elementary STEM, Arts, Dual Language

High school high performance AP

Career/Tech offered in Middle & High Schools

Campus security with Police & Fire Departments

GCISD Facts: AP Scholars – A tradition of excellence

GCISD continues to be one of the top school districts in all of Texas, period. 2020 AP recognitions extend down to the middle school level, something every few ISDs can claim. AP classes challenge students and gives them the opportunity to experience college-level rigor without the college-level price. GCISD students are better prepared for their post-secondary choices–college, career, and military–thanks to the AP program. #factsnotfiction