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Godley Independent School District - Empowering Students

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Godley ISD school board trustees heard a new report regarding recommendations from the Long Range Facility Planning Committee during the regular monthly meeting on January 23, 2023, at Godley High School. The board also moved forward with establishing a school district police department.

Aubrey Slaybaugh of the Huckabee school architectural firm outlined the LRFP committee process and findings for a potential $889 million bond to: build and make additions to accommodate an additional 5,000 students; make significant upgrades to facilities and equipment including safety and security, technology, transportation and parking; increase capacity for growing student programs including agriculture, fine arts and athletics.

Recommended by the committee are:

  • Learning spaces for an additional 5,000 new students:  three new elementary schools, one new middle school, renovations and additions at Godley Middle School, additions at Godley High School, renovations at R.B. Godley Elementary School, Legacy Elementary School

  • Infrastructure and support to accommodate growing student enrollment:  several projects including traffic flow improvements and additional parking, safety and security upgrades, tornado shelters, technology infrastructure, additional school buses and replacement buses, transportation facility, and more

  • Student programs:  career and technical education, performing arts center, black box theater, athletics addition, agricultural center addition, fine arts equipment, locker rooms for agriculture and tennis programs

A recent survey of parents, employees and community members determined a number of topics from these stakeholder groups:

  • Growth pays for growth. New bonds will not impact the district’s property tax rate.  The tax base will increase as new homes are built and new businesses come to the community. The district cannot increase the tax rate, which is capped at 50 cents per $100 of property valuation. Bonds will only be sold as the district’s bonding capacity allows.  Should growth slow, the district can delay or postpone projects.

  • A previous bond approved by voters in May 2021 planned for 1,400 new students with a new elementary school and significant additions at the high school. The district continues to grow. Construction is underway at the high school as part of this initiative. Other projects had to be postponed due to inflationary costs, but each of those improvements is included in the 2023 plan.

  • The overall bond recommendation of $889 million is large. Construction costs continue to escalate due to inflation. A larger initiative allows the district to respond to growth as needed. Local input previously was not in favor of having multiple smaller bond proposals presented to voters annually or every other year.

  • Traffic improved significantly with the opening of Pleasant View, as 470 students moved to this new campus and away from the central area of Godley 6th Grade Campus, Legacy and R.B. Godley.  Future neighborhood schools will distribute traffic more evenly, and land purchases and proactive design will enable the district to plan for new campuses. District officials have ongoing collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation and local government regarding road infrastructure.  A traffic study is also planned for the high school and middle school master plan.

For the establishment of a school district police department, Superintendent Dr. Rich Dear and Director of Safety and Well-Being Brian Hunt explained past agreements with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Godley Police Department for school resource officers.  With a growing school district, a police department will provide focused attention on the safety and security of students, staff and visitors to campuses and other district facilities. Dear pointed out that several surrounding districts and almost one third of Texas school districts have their own police department. 

Board members adopted a resolution to be submitted with the district’s application to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, a state regulatory agency that establishes and enforces standards to ensure service by highly trained and ethical law enforcement, corrections and telecommunications personnel.

Other actions included the adoption of changes to local district policy as well as a memorandum of understanding with the sheriff’s office for investigative assistance with felony offenses, coordination of warrant services, assistance in active threat incidents, activation of the county’s special response team and other services.  Additional items approved included a communications system agreement with the county, an agreement for access to law enforcement systems and crime information centers and an interlocal agreement with the county for dispatching services.

The board heard from Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Company regarding facility progress for Pleasant View Elementary School as well as projects at GHS.  With the new Pleasant View campus open, work continues to finish the building and address “punch list” items.  Phase 2 projects at the high school include a four-story career and technical education center and a competition gymnasium - together, these additions will house over 40 classrooms and learning spaces. In addition, REEDER Construction reported on Phase 3 construction for the high school’s fine arts wing.

Trustees approved the donation of land near the new Pleasant View campus in the Silo Mills subdivision. The donation from the Silo Mills Investment company includes 1.9 acres in two parcels adjacent to the existing school site.

Board members also approved a financial audit for the 2021-22 fiscal year completed by Snow Garrett Williams CPAs, which provided an “unmodified opinion” with no corrective actions regarding the school district’s finances. A copy of the report is available on the district website.

Reports to the board included:

  • Dear reported that new residential housing starts in the district totaled 344 for 2022 and 83 thus far in 2023 - among the highest in Johnson County.

  • Assistant Superintendent Jason Karnes provided initial reports on the 2024-25 academic year calendar as well as staffing proposals for the 2023-24 school year.

The board approved minutes from regular and special meetings in November and December, budget amendments as well as financial, investment and tax reports. 

Donations reported to the board included:

  • $2,500 from Esther and Johnathan Phelps Benevolent Account for the purchase of a classroom set of coveralls for welding students

  • $2,500 from HistoryMaker Homes in the Godley Ranch Community as a part of their Season of Giving for the purchase a K-9 trainer for veterinary medicine classes

  • Kubota small tractor from Hellas Construction

School trustees will next meet on Monday, Feb. 13. Board meetings are held at GHS, which is located at 9501 Highway 171.

  • Bond 2023
  • Long Range Facility Planning 2022
  • Police
  • School Board