HPISD Trustees Swears In New Members, Elects Officers

Two new trustees took their oaths of office at the May 16 Highland Park ISD school board meeting – Blythe Koch in place 6 and Pete Flowers in place 7.

Koch received  81% of the vote (3,034 votes) for the place 6 seat to entrepreneur Paul Calce’s 18% (656 votes) and social media provocateur Alexander Stein’s 1% (47 votes).

Pete Flowers, who works in commercial real estate and is a Highland Park Education Foundation board member and Park Cities Dads Club executive board member, ran unopposed for the Place 7 seat. 

Following the administration of the oath of office, the board voted to promote Maryjane Bonfield from vice president to president of the board and secretary Bryce Benson to vice president. The board approved trustee Jae Ellis to serve as secretary of the board and Doug Woodward to continue serving as finance officer.

Outgoing trustees Stacy Kelly (place 6), Tom Sharpe (place 7), and outgoing superintendent Tom Trigg were recognized with proclamations. 

In other news:

  • The district is nearing choosing a consultant to bring on board to help with evaluating math framework.
  • District staff discussed changes to the Texas Education Agency accountability ratings for 2023, including calculating districts’ scores using a proportionality method that involves dividing the number of students enrolled in grades 3-12 on each campus by the total number of students in grades 3-12 in the district to get a percentage that determines the weight each campus contributes to the district rating. The state’s score requirement to receive A ratings for college, career, and military readiness was also increased from 65% to 88%. 
  • Highland Park ISD Police Chief Mark Rowden discussed the findings of the latest state-required districtwide intruder detection audit, which resulted in a finding that Rowden said was brought up to the district’s emergency operations planning team and campus to address.
  • The board approved the 2023-2024 out-of-district tuition rate for interdistrict transfer students of $6,315, which is a daily rate of $36.29. It’s an increase of $7.27 per day when compared to the rate for 2022-2023.
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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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