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Opinion: Change Has Come to GCISD, and We’re Just Getting Started

Opinion

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD | Image by Dallas Morning News

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We are in the midst of a transformation at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD (GCISD). In the last several years, parents and taxpayers have begun to take back our local schools by sending champions for change like myself to serve on the school board.

And we have hit the ground running.


The old guard, which has lost its monopoly of control on our tax dollars and children, has been reduced to the politics of personal destruction against the new board members and outright lies about our achievements and intentions.

I am here to set the record straight on our proud record of accomplishment thus far. Our overall objective from the start has always been simple: return to a primary focus on education (not indoctrination), put parents back in charge of their schools, and restore fiscal sanity to the district.

Radical, I know. Or at least to some.

The first major fight we had, and won, for this agenda of change was to significantly raise the salaries of our teachers. If education is our primary focus, then there is truly nothing more important to meeting this goal than world-class, well-compensated classroom teachers.

You would think this would have been easy, but it was not. The old guard trustees fought our efforts to dramatically raise teacher pay across multiple board meetings, dragging it out and using every tactic available to them to derail the plan.

And why? With teacher pay languishing behind for years under their control, giving the new board members “the win” was clearly more important to them than doing what was right by our teachers.

Now GCISD pays our teachers at market rate, and surrounding districts are scrambling to compete with us. That’s a win for our teachers, our children, and GCISD as a whole.

What about indoctrination in our schools? Everyone has heard about Critical Race Theory, but how does something like that enter our classrooms? The answer we quickly discovered was that these ideas and schemes enter our schools through third-party vendors, specifically curriculum and instructional materials vendors.

You see, across each different class, of each different grade, of each different campus at GCISD, materials from almost countless third-party vendors were being utilized for lessons or to support the teaching of a lesson. And each and every one of these outside materials was effectively an entry point for political, social, or cultural propaganda.

More than that, a number of these private vendors were pushing surveys on parents and students to collect data that was then resold for profit. Some of these surveys pushed the same propaganda as the instructional materials and sexualized our children.

I am proud to say that we have thus far rooted out and eliminated over 18,500 different vendors from our schools, some of which poisoned the minds of our children. You read that right; the number is truly unbelievable, and our work is far from done.

The board should not have to engage in this type of housecleaning, but for too long the old guard sat back and encouraged the use of these types of materials. Not anymore.

The new board has also instituted a uniform district-wide curriculum. We were dismayed to find, for example, that first grade on one campus looked wildly different on another. There was no cross pollination of ideas and effectively no GCISD standard that ensured high quality education across the district.

Since we view parents as the primary educators in a child’s life, we have published this curriculum online for scrutiny and review, and we are in the process of improving that process as we speak.

The results of all this? Our state testing numbers have gone up significantly in the last year. And while those tests are just one indicator of success, it is clear that returning our focus to a well structured education delivered by respected, highly trained professional educators works.

We have also taken the extremely valid concerns from parents surrounding the books our children are required to read, and have access to through school libraries, very seriously. The board has led by creating committees of teachers and parents who together review books and form a consensus around the appropriateness of a book’s content and its academic value.

This is not a revolutionary concept to most, but for years parents have been demeaned, dismissed, or treated as a threat by the old guard of GCISD. Again, I say, not anymore.

Just as crucially as what happens inside our schools is how we fund them. Led by Board President Casey Ford, we have aggressively pursued a policy of fiscal restraint and sanity. Casey has literally found tens of millions of unexpended dollars, and we have used them to pay down debts early and establish emergency funds for the district.

We also balanced the budget for the upcoming school year—a conversation that began around an $13 million shortfall. GCISD families operate on what they have and the new board insisted that our district should be no different.

Further, we ushered in roughly a 5.5 cent (per $100 valuation) reduction in property taxes last year and are currently considering another 10 cents. Schools are the number one driver of local property taxes, and our taxpayers deserve significant relief. It is beyond clear that for years those in control of GCISD overtaxed this community. Again, I will say it: not anymore!

The new board is just getting started at GCISD. The recent elections have sent more champions for change to serve, and I am excited to continue our work on behalf of our children, parents, and taxpayers.

We are taking back our schools and we will settle for nothing less than the absolute best for this community. Thank you for your continued support and trust. We are in this together.   

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Jere May
Jere May
1 month ago

Shannon, thank you for your leadership in these crazy times.

Katie
Katie
1 month ago

Congrats on a most important job

Gregory P. Ennis
Gregory P. Ennis
1 month ago

I sent a note to you about a year ago as well as all the other board members in regards to my concerns about the use of money and the use of information for our students. You were the only one that responded. I wanna thank you for responding and your work. Thank you very much

Leslie Hillhouse
Leslie Hillhouse
1 month ago

Thank you Shannon and Casey for finally bringing sanity to GCISD. As a taxpayer I appreciate the fiscal accountability. I’ve heard from friends with students at GCISD that they are thrilled with the new direction of getting back to education and not indoctrination.

Sharla Tinsen
Sharla Tinsen
1 month ago

It’s good to hear about the positive direction and all that is being done for GCISD. Thank you for incorporating the much needed changes. Keep up the good work!

Jane G Boyd
Jane G Boyd
1 month ago

This is all a COMPLETE LIE. Significant raise — you mean 2%? You and the new majority are ruining GCISD. Just stop the lies.

VOP
VOP
Reply to  Jane G Boyd
1 month ago

Better than the 0% the previous board did🤷‍♀️

Sarah R
Sarah R
Reply to  VOP
1 month ago

Even better than -2%

Gigi
Gigi
1 month ago

As a GCISD parent, grandparent and taxpayer I am so encouraged to hear this good news! Thank you so much for your work on our behalf as well as the students who will ultimately reap the benefits of your efforts. Keep up the good work!👏🏼

Alex
Alex
Reply to  Gigi
1 month ago

Lol just change that to “GCISD taxpayer” grandma since your taxes and not your grandkids’ education is what you seem to really care about

Stephen W Conover
Stephen W Conover
Reply to  Alex
1 month ago

You are a true libtard Alex! There is nothing in that post to indicate she cares about taxes and not education. But that’s the way you libs work. Distort and lie rather than address the facts. Gigi is RIGHT!

Michelle
Michelle
Reply to  Stephen W Conover
4 days ago

What happened to Rule #1?

  1. “Refrain from name-calling and personal insults”
Linda Tailford
Linda Tailford
1 month ago

Accountability within our school district is not negotiable. It is critical. Educators working WITH the parents shape a students future. Excellent article with positive news. Stay loud 👊🇺🇸

Jennifer Lemmes
Jennifer Lemmes
1 month ago

Need to get rid of some admin at schools for things to change for the better

Stephen W Conover
Stephen W Conover
Reply to  Jennifer Lemmes
1 month ago

Amen!

Reality not insanity
Reality not insanity
1 month ago

All of the “accomplishments” you posted are complete lies. Did you not realize you can look up teacher salaries? Every district that touches GCISD pays more so are they rushing to decreasing teacher pay to match GCISD. The district doesn’t even have 10000 vendors let alone the 18500 vendors you claim pushing CRT. You also failed to mention the passing rate on most of the STAAR test this past year where the lowest they’ve been since the introduction of STAAR. GCISD actually decreased a bit according to TEA report cards for districts. The fact that you are allowed to represent an entire district and post a article filled with knowingly false statements is ludicrous. What makes this even more of a joke is people voted you in showing how uneducated the Constituents you are suppose to represent are. You yourself don’t even have kids in the district and have no idea what goes on in the schools or could even explain any TEKS the state requires teachers to teach. Yet some how your qualified enough to decide a direction of a district. Your “squad” has done the opposite in GCISD and within the next two years when scores have drastically declined, the quality of teachers GCISD is able to hire goes down, and schools Deteriorate bringing property values down you will move on and take zero responsibility for the actions you’ve implemented. If you truly care about educating kids and the community please resign immediately and start a book club to vent your delusional accomplishments an grievances. Make sure the books are Alt right and white washed of history so you don’t offend the people you “quote” represent.

Last edited 1 month ago by Reality not insanity
Reality not insanity
Reality not insanity
1 month ago

Why was my posted deleted?

Reality not insanity
Reality not insanity
Reply to  Reality not insanity
1 month ago

I see my comment has been deleted guess the truth isn’t allowed.

Spencer
Spencer
1 month ago

Outstanding!! Need to eliminate EdTech and cut the layers of administration. Also, just say no to the next bond deal.

The books are easy – just grab a list from one of the growing Classical schools.

Lissa Critz
Lissa Critz
1 month ago

Shannon Braun is, AT BEST, grossly misrepresenting every single point here. More likely, based on my experience interacting with her and watching the antics of the board recently, is that she simply doesn’t grasp what she’s talking about. She and her cohorts are destroying the level of education provided you students in GCISD at a breathtaking rate and it will take years to undo the damage. Already, those who can afford it are sending their children to private schools, leaving the rest to watch in horror.

Lissa Critz
Lissa Critz
Reply to  Lissa Critz
1 month ago

I’m also very interested to understand why Ms. Braun is allowed to speak with media outlets regarding her opinion when the High School principal was fired at the beginning of last year for the same. More rules for thee, not for me mentality.

Aaron
Aaron
Reply to  Lissa Critz
1 month ago

What is your basis for claiming “She and her cohorts are destroying the level of education provided you students in GCISD at a breathtaking rate” because the ISD’s education rating just came out and the rankings are significantly up?

Billybob
Billybob
Reply to  Aaron
1 month ago

Because Ryan cooks the numbers, that’s why. He’s guilty of misleading parents on both sides. He’s hidden and omitted emails to save his coward butt time and again. Only people still there are his lackeys that are too afraid to speak up.
Ryan has an big ego but unfortunately his actions just don’t fall in line with what’s right. He’ll make a great politician someday.

Stephen W. Conover
Stephen W. Conover
Reply to  Lissa Critz
1 month ago

If this is “destroying” then we need more “destroying” !! Thank you Shannon. Don’t pay any attention to ignore, biased rankings from the libs.

Reality not insanity
Reality not insanity
1 month ago

Everything in this article is a complete lie. Her information is easy to look up and disprove.

Sarah R
Sarah R
1 month ago

Shannon Braun is a Q-Cult member. Ford acts like he is a king. GCISD is going into the toilet.

GCISD Parent/TeachersSpouse
GCISD Parent/TeachersSpouse
1 month ago

Shannon and her cohorts are a disgrace to the district.

  1. Creating “Hit lists’ of teachers and forcing them to fear speaking their opinions to the board – essentially silencing them.
  2. Giving them a paltry raise (that’s actually smaller than some previous raises) and them patting themselves on the back for it.
  3. Hiring personal lawyers and charging their fees back to the district
  4. Violating legal agreements by publicly commenting on previous actions which now puts the district at risk for lawsuits.
  5. Overseeing the largest mass exodus of Teachers in the history of the district (18% turnover).
  6. Yes, test scores are up this year..but that is because the previous scores were during COVID when all test scores state-wide were down – this has nothing to do with the school board.

Casey Ford is a tyrant – let the people speak at the school board meeting Casey!

Stephen W Conover
Stephen W Conover
Reply to  GCISD Parent/TeachersSpouse
30 days ago

Sounds like Shannon and the other conservatives are doing a great job! Get rid of the libtards!

Karen Clardy
Karen Clardy
1 month ago

There is so much wrong about this I don’t know where to begin. I happen to know some of the “good” “old guard” trustees and YOU are the reason for the terrible direction that this district is headed. Shame on you for trying to “indoctrinate” these children. You are a “white priviledge” supporter and in no way do you serve all students. Shame on you and shame on this district for voting in these trustees who do not represent all students.

Jacqui Van Horn
Jacqui Van Horn
1 month ago

I am going to highlight the word “Opinion” here in the title. Speaking from experience here as a former Curriculum director in the district. There are no facts to support your claim. What you espouse here about curriculum is absolutely inaccurate. What you have created; however, is a culture of fear of reprisals by administration, teachers, librarians and hard working folks at the central office as well as countless lost jobs due to your supposed “fiscal responsibility”. I have remained quiet and reserved but this recent piece is only just getting me started with the ruthless tactics certain board members will employ to pressure good people into making decisions despite their better judgment.

Billybob
Billybob
1 month ago

This is insanity. You could not be more incorrect about pretty much everything you spewed out on this ‘Opinion’ piece. Go toot your horn to some of your cohorts like Mr.Ryan. He lives for suck ups like you. He’s a coward and has allowed the few squeaky wheels (on both sides of the aisle) run his district. Ryan and you need to go.

Dr.L.Miner
Dr.L.Miner
1 month ago

YUCK. “Critical Race Theory” isn’t just about teaching about American history, including the accepted truths about the Civil War, Slavery, and Nazi-ism. Or about having an African American as a Principal. Your narrow vision, tossing out books, preaches intolerance and hate. Yes, Hate. Just play back the videos from school board meetings and school board elections. Y’all scream about everything.
Your steering the ship off a cliff, and soon you will have stoked a fire of ignorance and intolerance that will be out of control. Shame on you.

Stephen W Conover
Stephen W Conover
Reply to  Dr.L.Miner
30 days ago

Shame on you Miner. Have you not got the message? Parents are sick and tired of your liberal preachings. Get the parents back in charge and get rid of the liberal and woke teachings!! That’s why we elected these members!

Jeff Skr@ck!
Jeff Skr@ck!
1 month ago

Wake up Sheeple….

And do some of your own research on what is actually occurring. The wool is being pulled over your eyes.

Point in case the July 25 2022 School Board meeting….as a taxpayer and parent with children in this district….this is not the change that I voted for or want to see. Disgraceful and Disgusting.

Brad
Brad
Reply to  Jeff Skr@ck!
1 month ago

This is a joke. Just like the episode with getting one of our black presidents fired due to him embracing diversity, this is their extension to whitewash the world and sanitize it to the evangelical Christian dream. This attack against the freedom of speech had not done unnoticed. If only these fascists cared enough about limiting kids getting a hold of guns and executing other kids as they do about making sure our children don’t believe that slavery and abortion existed.

Stephen W Conover
Stephen W Conover
Reply to  Jeff Skr@ck!
1 month ago

You voted incorrectly!

Jim a Avers
Jim a Avers
1 month ago

Shannon, we met briefly outside the GV rec center. I could tell you’re a firecracker…

trackback
Grapevine/Colleyville ISD's Witch Hunt Against Books Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg - Times News Express
1 month ago

[…] GCISD board vice president Shannon Braun wrote an editorial on the right-leaning news site The Dallas Express, owned by Ashford Hospitality CEO and Republican campaign donor Monty Bennett, describing the […]

Stephen W. Conover
Stephen W. Conover
1 month ago

Thank you Shannon for the excellent work. Please keep it up!! We support you!!