Growth was on everybody’s mind at the joint meeting of the Denison City Council and Denison Independent School District school board Monday night.
The meeting was held at city hall with members from both organizational bodies addressing the public on how each intends to work together to prepare for the projected growth the area is facing.
Denison Mayor Janet Gott said she hoped it was the first of many meetings to come in the future.
“I feel strongly this collaboration validates team Denison is stronger than ever,” Gott said. “We are Denison: one town, one family, one school moving forward, together.”
Denison City Manager Jud Rex said the city and district would need to work together in order to plan for all the growth. He showed graphs and charts that illustrated where the growth has occurred over the last 10 years. He pointed out that the majority of new housing permits were in the Hyde Park district and said every 10 houses that comes to Denison brings about four school-age children.
“As we grow as a community, there is going to be more opportunities for us to collaborate together,” he said. “I am excite to work together for tonight.”
Denison ISD Superintendent Henry Scott said it has been about 30 years since the last joint meeting and it was a good time for the two groups to discuss plans for the future.
“Things change every day,” Rex said. “What growth and development happens depends on our partners. Things can change from day to day. This was a great opportunity for us to work together. We’ve always had that great relationship. Getting the two bodies together was really important for the community to move forward together.”
Due to the tremendously increasing growth, Rex said said in the last five years the city had issued close to 1,200 new housing permits with more in the pipeline.
Denison Director of Community Engagement Sunny Mackey gave a presentation on the city’s use of social media as a platform to communicate and engage with the community, but Denison ISD Director of Communications Brian Eaves said the DISD was not ready to commit to a social media policy at this time as there were still potential negatives the district was considering.
Scott said he would love to have the district more involved in the city’s town hall-style discussions. The next town hall will be held at Terrell Elementary School on Feb. 13. Several members of the school board expressed interest in attending.
Scott was also quick to point out the school district recently adopted a more open policy regarding public comments saying they have diverged from the city’s policy of requiring a sign-up sheet he said due to previous public backlash over the way the district handled the sign-up sheet during the school bond process.
Rex said while the two bodies have different needs, the district is communicating primarily to students whereas the city has to communicate with all of its citizens.
“What we found success as a city by using social media as a good medium for us to communicate what is going on in Denison,” he said. “Any ideas we have we can share with the district collaborate and share information as well.”