Superintendents discuss districts plans during luncheon
In an effort to update the community and boost morale for independent school districts, superintendents from Aldine ISD, Klein ISD and Spring ISD headed the panel for the Annual Scholarship Luncheon hosted by the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce.
During the luncheon, four high school seniors from the school districts received scholarships and gave speeches on their achievements. Bret Champion, Klein ISD superintendent, LaToya Goffney, Aldine ISD superintendent and Rodney Watson, Spring ISD superintendent, all gathered to speak on the current state of their respective district.
Superintendent Champion advocated not only for better funding for Klein ISD, but all public schools in Texas.
In June 2018, Klein ISD had a tax ratification election fail, forcing the district to cut millions from their budget. Champion said Klein ISD is currently advocating for more public school funding and may consider another TRE at one point, although that plan is not firm.
“We have so many things going on and the beauty of it all ... is we’re all about one thing,” Champion said. “To ensure that every student enters with a promise and exits with a purpose.”
While speaking on Texas legislature, Champion reminded the audience that although legislature may potentially bring billions of dollars in funding to school districts, the result may not be nearly enough. Although legislature may increase education funding by $9 billion, they cut more than $5 billion in 2011.
Last year, Klein ISD had to cut $22 million from their 2018-2019 budget and an additional $8 million from their 2019-2020 budget as well as lay off staff across the district. Champion explained the difference between a bond and a TRE, with bond funds being used for large scale projects, like building schools, and TRE funds being used for programs.
“This fall we have Elementary No. 33 opening up paid for by a bond,” Champion said. “This fall, Elementary No. 33 will be vacant because the TRE failed and it cost about $1 million to staff an elementary school.”
Overall, Champion said Klein ISD is working to make sure every single student in the district receives the funding and education they deserve, and praised each of their high schools for having students nominated for the Tommy Tune awards, an award show for high school musical theater, and the hackathon taking place April 13, KleinHacks and the fine arts programs at Klein ISD.
“I love this community and this community is incredible,” he said. “We’re so proud that in our most advanced and rigorous courses. We have more students than ever before engaging in those courses and being more successful in them than ever before.”
Watson said Spring ISD is working on strengthening middle schools and feedback received from parents including the new middle school coming to Spring in the fall, Spring Leadership Academy.
“One of the areas (parents) indicated was not only do (they) want choice, but (they) want smaller environments,” Watson said. “This school will be a brand new leadership school focused on blended learning with a community service point in it. One of the areas we’re excited about is that every student will participate in a team leadership course.”
Watson said every student at the school will participate in community service projects. Spring ISD is also opening Springwood Village Middle School. The school will be an international baccalaureate middle school, offering students college-level courses, another request from parents, he said.
Roberson Middle School is also coming to the district this fall, Watson said. Watson said the middle school will focus on STEM programs. The police command center and a new teacher training center, a professional learning center with mock classrooms and students volunteering for practice classes.
Spring ISD is also working on arts integration for the district, putting art into core curriculum, and building a strong pre-K program in the near future.
“We are looking at ways to catapult student achievement but also create more engaging classrooms across the entire district,” Watson said.