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Appendix A
PUBLIC FORUMS AND FOCUS GROUP COMMENTS
Public Forums and Focus Group Comments - Part 1
Public Forums and Focus Group Comments - Part 2

(PART 2)

FACILITIES USE AND MANAGEMENT

  • Need sound proofing - voices carry - unbearable.
  • Bond programs have been fair to all areas.
  • Facilities are very clean but maintenance is slow. Mold removal in one of our school s hasn't occurred after three years of complaining. Maintenance employees are very nice and professional.
  • Administration would do fine hiring more custodians. Buildings are too large with few people to handle - that's abusive. Buildings: why is it that Galena Park high school and NSSH don't look even closely alike? What is the difference in the buildings? GPISD is not HISD. Galena Park ISD is small compared to HISD, that's why is hard to understand the difference in buildings. It's clear where GPISD spends more. There should be enough classrooms for each teacher that is hired. No teacher should have to carry her materials for class from room to room. Custodial Services - should be able to keep the grounds around the school s clean.
  • GPISD rank excellent in this area.
  • GPISD have wonderful instructional learning facilities. Custodial and teaching staff takes pride in their facilities.
  • I think they should fix the tampon things. I also think they should clean up better, as in sweep and stuff.
  • The taxpayers just built a $26 million stadium. This is an excessive amount to spend on a facility. Money would be better spent on the students directly. Not an efficient way to spend money. Some of the school board members are benefiting financially from selling insurance to the district. A board member should not gain financially from the district. In fall 2000, students were supposed to make a film about safety and security. The students were told they would be paid $100 to participate and the students were never paid. The company said they sent checks of $50 to each child but no child has received a check. The district is more interested in putting money into the facilities rather than in books and programs and supplies. Overall Galena Park is doing a good job. It is one of the better districts in the area.
  • School district's new administration building shows an excessive amount of spending. There is a full cafeteria and a weight room. I'm concerned the district is not spending money wisely and losing focus of the most important things. I am pleased with the faculty as a whole. They discipline in the right manner and keep the students focused.
  • I voted against the $120 million bond package. The money is being spent differently if you live in Galena Park or North Shore. In Galena Park, the FFA parking lot is gravel. This wouldn't have happened in North Shore. You should treat everyone the same no matter where they live.
  • Did we really need an agriculture facility which will serve less than 1 percent of the district's students? Hallways are very crowded at GPHS.
  • I want information! I have lived here for many years. The district has built a brand new stadium - in the northern part of town. The stadium in this part of town is very old - They don't want to fix anything - There has never been any remodeling here - I see that they have made/done lots of remodeling on the other and nothing is done here - There is so much to do - I don't want to complain, but I'm tired of this - We paid taxes for many years - It's our fault for not coming - I have distanced myself from the school - Yes there is discrimination - I don't expect any changes! I've been here since 1969.
  • New Havard Elementary was overcrowded the day it opened - the number of students should have been better foreseen. How many thousands of dollars were spent on "professional quality, state of the art" astro-turf for the new stadium, while playground equipment at Cloverleaf and Woodland Acres is non-existent? How many thousands of tax dollars were lost by converting the old Randall's into the new headquarters? How many thousands were spent on very expensive new furniture?
  • Inadequate parking in new elementary school.
  • The money spent on the Randall's building should have been spent on employee raises instead.
  • When they build a school it is built for the needs of today and not for the future. So when the school opens it is already overcrowded. The schools are not kept clean.
  • Why has the nine to 10 campus NSHS been neglected? Part of the school has been closed for more than four years. After the new stadium, new pool facility, bus barn, two credit unions (within five miles of each other), and the newly purchased administration. Building has been added. GPISD finally decided to start construction on the closed area of the school. This school is overcrowded-to say the least! The lockers are screwed closed (unused) because of overcrowding in the halls.
  • West campus (grade 9-10) of North Shore was supposed to be refurbished. Using the same old cafeteria-too crowded. Why not use the building next door? Why didn't they use money to extend the cafeteria?
  • Also, the air conditioner in Room 105 makes a horrible noise and I think it should be fixed. I know the teacher is an excellent teacher but with an air conditioner like that it's enough to make anybody nervous.
  • The cafeteria is too small for the number of students that are served. Several students are sent to the patio to have lunch. The patio is not covered, exposed, and is not air-conditioned.
  • Galena Park High School - the cafeteria exit doors are too small for all students to exit.

ASSET AND RISK MANAGEMENT

  • District offered insurance packages (premiums) that ate up our salary. The rush for all district employees to sign up for or change insurance was not enough time for individuals.
  • The change in insurance and in rates was poorly communicated to the employees this year. No explanation in the process of enrollment. We were all dropped into this cafeteria and you moved around hoping to get the information and services you needed.
  • Health insurance is very expensive to afford! Health insurance should separate employees that have only one child and no children. It is unfair that you pay the same amount of money as employees with seven children.
  • GPISD - rank 'Excellent' in this area.
  • The insurance premiums are too high. They went through the roof last year.
  • District did not gather enough information for its employees health insurance therefore many are having no choice but to go to an HMO or cancel their insurance totally.
  • My spouse works for GPISD, and she had to drop her health insurance because she could not afford it. That is a shame - working for a school district that can't provide affordable coverage for their employees.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

  • New stadium is great and so is the Agriculture Center, but there are still temporary buildings in use and one campus has 19 floating teachers. Money should be spent on education first, then on extracurricular buildings. Budgeting at campus level is extremely secretive, which makes one wonder-Why? Money is spent on books and computer programs which teachers are then not allowed to use and which are ultimately thrown away. School board members have large contracts with the district, creating conflict-of-interest concerns.
  • There are no apparent problems in this area.
  • Spending all the money on North Shore. When our band students (GP) went over to the stadium, they were not allowed to perform. Galena Park is not given equal treatment. Spent too much money on administration building instead. It's not fair that they spend all the money on North Shore. Why can't we use the stadium at Galena Park high school instead of having to drive to North Shore? Galena Park high school needs expansion. The cafeteria at Galena Park high school is too crowded.
  • School taxes should be based on the community that you live in and not where all the new buildings are being built.
  • As taxpayers and as parents we have concerns as to how money flows within the district. We attend most meetings at several different campuses. All of GPISD's programs don't benefit equally. For instance, one specific program spends lots of money for this very reduced group of kids. To us all kids should benefit the same way. The new Arrival Center children get to have very special privileges that none of the rest of the students have. That's a big concern right there. What's the total cost of the new administration building? What's the cost of the new stadium? Why hasn't some of the money been allocated in schools? Financially, we want to know if GPISD works towards children or overspend dollars in food, decorations and private businesses.
  • Dr. Shirley Neeley addressed all employees of the district in August, at a pep rally, which her office organized. Well, at this pep rally Dr. Neeley arrived in a helicopter, which was flying around for awhile, I'm sure this cost taxpayers a pretty penny. There was also an ad in the Houston Chronicle a full page ad that cost $3,600 per zip code. I'm sure this was taxpayer money as well. Please look into these spending practices.
  • Taxes in GPISD are as high as they can go and that is wrong. They should be lowered.
  • My daughter is in the varsity drill team (Scarlets). This year the team is at 86 girls. There was not enough school furnished outfits for that many girls. The school wants the parents of the girls to pay for the extra outfits ($250 each). Why can't the GPISD school district pay for these? They obviously have the money. Look around at what all they have built.
  • Why doesn't the district apply the $1,000 from the State directly to insurance costs instead of taxing it through teacher paychecks?
  • Why did employees sign a statement saying they wanted the $1,000 applied to insurance benefits rather than having considered part of their salary if the intent of the district was to apply it to salaries as a raise thus making the $1,000 subject to taxes rather than a pre-tax application to insurance benefits?
  • Zoning at Purple Sage - want to ask who was homeowner and who was renter. What do they want with this info? Look at 1994-95 re-zoning patterns.
  • My school taxes are very high. I was one month late on my school taxes and a lien was put on my house. I had to pay court cost or be sued by some lawyer.

PURCHASING

  • The district is doing well in these areas.
  • School board members with large contracts (business contracts) with the district will abstain from votes on their own contracts, but will support each other's contracts. The superintendent has ultimate power over the board. They have voted her the right to overrule them. At the campus level, administrators will order department chairs to order certain books, but the books never arrive. If you are not a "favorite" teacher, your textbooks may be very difficult to find, or you may not have any. Everything is extremely secretive - funds disappear then re-appear in a different location.
  • Many times there were not enough textbooks for everyone to have one. Then we had to leave them in the classroom. Sometimes when we got books half the semester had gone by and the books were out of date to start with.
  • Reinstate the Insurance Committee to evaluate costs and different plans and bids for employee insurance.
  • The students can't take home any books unless a parent checks them out.

FOOD SERVICES

  • Could be a little more appealing. Less fat.
  • The facilities should be able to keep food hot. The meals for students should be of good quality.
  • I think there should be a water bottle machine in the snack bar area.
  • Not long enough lunch hours. Summer feeding program is good.
  • Very Unhealthy. School board is biased to Pepsi products and will not use any other brand. This seems to be wrong. However, I think all soda should be removed and water and juices. Remove the junk machines or put more healthy products in the machines. Lunches are high in carbohydrates with at least two to three bread products. Kitchen staff is friendly to the children and professional. There should be a way to get food for a hungry students or ill students without money on a temporary basis.
  • The cafeteria is too little for so many students. We have to run through crowded halls to get here and even if we got any food we have but five to eight minutes to find a seat, which are nonexistent due to space. Food availability is also in question as food choices are narrowed to one because of too many students and too little food. In short all of us (students) are wondering why we have a new administration building and a new home stadium - that's in North Shore! - when the stadium and Administration building we had were fine? We're wondering why our halls are so crowded, so lacking in resources, why it takes so long to get anything fixed and why so much money was wasted on the administration building and stadium when it would have been better spent on the school itself!
  • There's too many kids, and too little of a cafeteria. We should make the school a bit bigger because the halls are way too crowded. And when we get here we have too little time to get to a seat because the seats are taken and it takes too long to get here through the halls. The availability of food is questionable. Because it depends on where your class is to decide whether you get something of your choice, or something you have to eat because you're too hungry to complain. And in C lunch students hardly get anything. A and B lunch have a bit more but that's because there's an abundance then. The quality of food is not bad, but not something I want to eat everyday, also it's too repetitive. Monday its spaghetti, Tuesday tacos, Wednesday-hamburgers, Thursday-Managers Choice, Friday-pizza. Same as always! At least mix it up! Nutrition is not as good as they make it seem. Most of it is incredibly greasy. There's no nutrition in grease, as far as I know. And when we have chicken, sometimes it's overcooked. Sometimes it's under cooked. They need to watch the cooking. But mostly there's not much nutrition in it.
  • We try to send lunches for our kids. We don't think cafeteria food is nutritious. It's way too fattening and not nutritious at all.
  • Food served not warm/hot. Too much junk food available for students at the snack bar.
  • I think the food service is good. We have a good variety of foods, nuggets, pizza, cheese sticks, ice cream, cokes, fruit drinks, and candy. I heard that they were thinking of taking the coke machines out, and I think it would be unfair, because we need the drinks to boost our energy to get through the day. The teachers don't want us falling asleep during class. And a healthy diet, vegetables, for lunch. Today's child society, we are not really into the healthy stuff, so if you don't force it, maybe we will eat it. I eat a salad at lunch, not because I'm on a diet but because it tastes good. But sometimes we want to eat snacks and junk food. Lines in cafeteria and snack bar are too long. Some food in cafeteria is good. Some bad. Depends.
  • I feel that the cafeteria facilities are severely deficient. The facility should be enlarged to accommodate the present student body of about 1,600. If financial resources are not available, then add at least one more lunch period to facilitate overcrowding. The menu consists of too many carbohydrates on the "free" lunch plate for students. The orange juice is overpriced! (The workers are usually very accommodating and friendly!)
  • In the 9th and 10th grade campus (NSHS) there are not enough food options. The students have 30 minutes and by the time they stand in line and finally get food, its time to get back to class. Most eat from the machines. My student has complained and nothing has been done.
  • At Green Valley we have a nice, new, bright cafeteria. However, I am still packing a lunch daily. I have looked at the food and would not eat it. Certainly there are ways to provide better quality food to our children. We know that the kids love fun food (i.e., hot dogs, pizza, etc.) How about adding spaghetti, lasagna etc. I know that this is a difficult area to improve upon, and it has gotten better.
  • The food in the cafeteria is terrible. Many times we were fed food that was several days old. The food at the snack bar is more nutritious than the cafeteria.
  • The schedule for lunch is not working and it needs to be redone.

TRANSPORTATION

  • At Galena Park High school the bus pickup area is not covered. They should have a canopy for protection.
  • Not enough buses. In need of bus aides.
  • Overall, no complaints. For field trips, they have to be back by 1:30, in order for the buses to continue their routes. This is very inconvenient at times - they cannot go on long field trips.
  • Very good.
  • Buses to San Jacinto College.
  • Adequate buses. Safety number 1 - children safety is number 1.
  • Overcrowded buses. The older children cannot sit three to a seat. Often there are not enough seats for all the children in Galena Manor and Fidelity. This is very unsafe.
  • I'm concerned about the placement of the bus stop at Woodland and Blackrock and the one north of Woodline. It concerns me because the children have to wait for a bus by the Wal-Mart at 6:30 in the morning.
  • Many of the buses are falling apart and the drivers do not know how to drive. They would run off the road every day. The routes were laid out too far apart and too widely dispersed.
  • Elementary students walking in the traffic from Cloverleaf to North Shore Elementary. No bus service in Cloverleaf. No sidewalks in Clover/open ditches.
  • Air-conditioned buses should be provided to school events or field trips that are far away from the district.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

  • Student Discipline - principals and teachers need to follow through with student code of conduct. Safety - campuses are doing a great job - badges, lock doors, entrances, parent sign-in. Local law enforcement - great working relationship with police department.
  • Science labs - have inadequate facilities for management of dangerous chemicals. Roof leaks often, making slippery floors.
  • Top Parent Concerns: Safety and Parent education.
  • 911 emergency response crew for staff and students. Good overall. Well prepared for weather related emergencies. Work well with Galena Park police.
  • Lots of drills. They have intruder drills. Spend one year working on this with the constable. We have "safe teams" - they walk around with walkie-talkies.
  • There is a district and campus level crisis management plan.
  • Very good, with the same constable working each school daily. This allows them the ability get to know the children. I am concerned when the district policy allows a minor child to be removed from the school property without parent notification. This occurred at Galena Park Middle school last school year.
  • Campuses don't always adhere to their own discipline policy. Students not always disciplined as needed. What applies for one student does not apply for others with the same offense. Too easy for outsiders to roam building without questioning. Deputies on some campuses handle students totally inappropriate (too harsh). Physical restraint is excessive when not necessary.
  • I feel safe. I really feel comfortable here.
  • Parents should not walk the hall without an escort because we have some parents that look for other students that bother their kid.
  • My concern is teacher and student safety. What is the law concerning notification of children found with a gun? I had an incident with a student who was threatened. On Monday he brought a gun to school. His teachers were not notified. The rules on confidentiality should apply to the teachers who are teaching that student. Not knowing this information jeopardizes the student's teachers and the students in that classroom. Also, when he was sent to the alternative school his teachers and the other students assumed he was involved with drugs instead of just trying to protect himself. He was socially ostracized to a certain extent when he returned to school.
  • Very big difference in crossing guards - deputy sheriffs or constables - provided for elementary school s. Cloverleaf has none, while Green Valley has two. Contract with constables smacks of cronyism.
  • There is a policeman that is the gang task force person and he said some of the principals won't let him go to the school and talk to the students about gangs. It is especially bad at North Shore Middle School.
  • As a graduate of North Shore High School a GPISD school, I did not feel safe with the deputy constables securing the schools. My freshman year we had deputy sheriff's securing the school but soon as Dr. Neely became superintendent that changed.
  • To Whom This May Concern: My concern is the young kids drive too fast in the neighborhood. Also, the students should be more disciplined.
  • Why don't elementary schools in GPISD have two assistant principals per campus? There is a great need and concern. Why no implementation or attention to student welfare? Big safety issues at Green Valley's pick-up and drop-off. I suggested that we develop a task force to look at alternatives for pick-up and drop-off. We need to also meet with the Sheriff's Department First of all, the school speed zone seems to mean nothing to motorists. Law enforcement could write tickets all day long in front of Green Valley. It would be great to issue citations for those adults who cannot follow rules for drop-off and pick-up. People are getting way too angry, usually because a few don't follow the rules. I have expressed a good deal of concern regarding this for both the morning and afternoon drops and pick-ups. The safety of our children is first and foremost. The school has done well in the discipline of students (at least last year). It's still early in the school year, but hopefully, they will maintain good discipline control. We really need to look at ways to improve external school safety (drop-off/pick-up).
  • High school - a lot of gang activity not organized gangs. Different races, example girls block stair well making other kids detour or be cussed at etc. Threats of death - this is happening in school. This is a big problem.
  • There is a conflict of interest. Why does the precinct, where the superintendent's husband works, contract with the district for police assistance?
  • We would like to see the security guards more visible. Many times, they are just standing, chatting, while the kids are misbehaving.
  • When a child is accused of committing an infraction, a constable interviews him before the parents are notified. Lots of time, the story changes in favor of the school or the district so that they look good.

COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Technology training is too superficial and teaching sessions are not well thought out. Every time I've attended one, there has been no review of objectives taught, inadequate textbook or lesson guides and I am always left in a "fog" afterward. If we were allowed a reference book(s) the sessions would be more informative. No one pays attention to evaluations. In some classrooms the equipment is antiquated and no plans are forthcoming to switch out equipment. We have a predominately Hispanic enrollment. We should have Spanish software!
  • District training. All teachers must meet competencies. There are free, available lessons.
  • GPISD has a very nice technology department.
  • Super job!
  • We should be able to go on the Internet when we have free time. We won't print anything we don't need. If someone happens to do so they should get written up or something.
  • There are computer classes only for teachers but not the aides.
  • Many times the technology available for the students was not as up to date as that available to the faculty and staff of particular school s.

Public Forum and Focus Group Comments - Part 1