From the Superintendent: Setting the record straight

Dear Aldine ISD Stakeholders:

Our school district has enjoyed a well-deserved and hard-earned reputation for wisely spending money to help students learn while, at the same time, setting the second lowest tax rate among school districts in the Houston area. Unfortunately, during a recent political campaign, false information was spread about how Aldine ISD operates. It is important to set the record straight so that our taxpayers can have all the facts.

Q: Did Aldine ISD spend $10 million more than it had during the 2002-03 (fiscal) budget year?
A: No. Thanks to our employees and good financial management across the district, Aldine was actually able to spend $716,032 less than it budgeted and placed that additional amount into the district’s bank account (fund balance).

Q: Were Aldine ISD’s procedures for operating its finances inefficient and improper during 2002-03?
A: No. The district actually earned a Superior rating from the State of Texas (Texas Education Agency), which is the state’s highest rating for quality performance in the management of the school district’s finances.
Additionally, this year the district has been able to provide pay raises and meet the needs of students without laying off employees, unlike many school districts in Texas.

Q: Did the Freeport Exemption, which Aldine ISD’s school board unanimously approved, result in the school district increasing property taxes by 10.4 percent and losing $5 million in revenue?
A: No. The Freeport Exemption, which exempts companies from paying taxes only on certain inventory in storage, actually resulted in $70,000 in additional revenue to the school district. Under the Freeport Exemption agreement, companies were still required to pay property taxes and pay additional revenue to Aldine ISD to make up for any revenue lost during the first three years of exemption. The state of Texas also pays the district the lost revenue after the first year of the exemption. Additionally, new companies were attracted to the Aldine community because of the Freeport Exemption, resulting in more property tax revenue for the school district and more jobs for Aldine families. This agreement was a very good deal for the district and community.

Q: What about the rumors that the school district improperly appoints school board members to complete the terms of board members who have resigned from the board?
A: All school board appointments follow state law and school district policy and will continue to follow state law and school district policy. If a school board member is appointed, the member must run for election in subsequent election years.

Q: Is it true that the school board approved $9 million in incentive bonuses and most of those bonuses went to administrators?
A: No. The school board actually approved $5.5 million in incentive pay. Approximately 68% went to campus-based teachers, aides, and clerical staff; 27% went to campus-based administrators (principals, asst. principals, counselors and diagnosticians); and 5% went to non-campus personnel.

I hope that I have satisfactorily answered questions that have surfaced recently. We want our parents and all taxpayers to be informed about the operations of this school district to strengthen our partnership as we, together, produce the nation’s best students!

Nadine Kujawa
Aldine ISD Superintendent of Schools