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Bond Advisory Committee Update, Community Input

Bond Advisory Committee Update, Community Input
Posted on 05/10/2017

We are now entering the final weeks of school and, as they do every year, calendars are filling with Advanced Placement tests, end-of-year performances, award banquets and final projects and exams. Likewise, our Bond Advisory Committee (BAC) subcommittees have been busy, often meeting weekly to finish collecting and compiling their research. As I have discussed previously, our Board of Trustees formed the BAC in January, along with five subcommittees — elementary school, middle school, high school, technology and ancillary needs — to help determine whether it is necessary to call a school bond election.

These subcommittees have taken an intensive look throughout this semester at our district's demographic and financial reports; they have toured campuses and facilities; they have met with teachers, administrators, parents and community members to better gauge our needs and priorities. These volunteer committee members have each done their due diligence in working to understand the state of their areas of focus.

Our district has also utilized Let's Talk! over the past month to allow our LISD community to submit their input via online form or mobile app. I would like to thank all those who took the time to make their voices heard. With so many involved parents, volunteers and local business leaders in our district, we count on those on the front lines to help communicate the wants and needs at each campus that will better serve our students. Our communications staff collected each Let's Talk! submission, responded to all questions where possible and forwarded the feedback to the appropriate subcommittee.

Our next step in the bond process is to partner with outside experts to conduct phone surveys of voters in our district. I am excited to be working with Dr. Robert Stein, a Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of political science at Rice University, and his team to conduct and analyze this research. An expert in public policy and 40-year veteran professor, Dr. Stein has also conducted polling for several government agencies and school districts in the Houston area, and throughout Texas.

The research Dr. Stein will conduct in our area gives community members an outlet to voice their opinions to LISD and our Board of Trustees. It's also an opportunity for Dr. Stein's team to use their expertise to “translate” these survey responses into recommendations for our district's growth road map. To ensure this growth path is reflective of all voices in our community, I would encourage you to please participate in our phone surveys, should you be contacted by one of our surveyors. However, this will be a random sample survey, so only a portion of our residents will be contacted.

The initial round of surveys will be conducted in late May to early June and reported to the bond steering committee to provide them with as much public input as possible. The steering committee will then take this feedback, as well as the recommendations from each of the five subcommittees, and consolidate them into its own comprehensive recommendations for the Board of Trustees. Should the Board decide to move forward with calling a bond election, additional surveys may be conducted this summer.

Again, it is highly important in LISD that we maintain transparency and an open line of communication with our stakeholders. One of our greatest strengths in LISD is the healthy, collaborative relationship we share with our community. As we progress in the bond exploration process, it is my hope that you continue staying informed, participate in our survey efforts and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

With the continued growth of our schools, neighborhoods and cities, our collective success will largely rely on our ability to pursue a shared set of priorities. I have every confidence we can maintain this success, continuing LISD's reputation as one of the best districts in Texas and a place where our children start their path toward bright futures.