ALDINE – Aldine ISD held its annual State of the District Breakfast on Friday, Oct. 14 at the Hilton Houston North Hotel as Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg and members of her Student Advisory Committee took a look back at the 2015-16 school year and ahead to the challenges the district will face in the future.
In addition, the event served as the kickoff for the Aldine Education Foundation’s (AEF) donor campaign.
More than 400 stakeholders, business partners and Aldine ISD administrators and principals attended the event.
The audience was treated to an outstanding performance by the Aldine ISD High School District Honor Choir, under the direction of Daryl Freeman. Prior to the start of the event, the Eisenhower High School Jazz Band entertained the audience. Following their performance, the audience gave them a standing ovation.
Victory Early College High School student Xavier Bishop delivered the welcome and introduced members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees and AEF Board members. He also introduced elected officials and their representatives who attended the breakfast.
Eisenhower High School student Marco Castro then introduced district stakeholders, which included students, parents, grandparents business partners and community/non-profit partners.
Following breakfast, AEF President Bill Ginder spoke on behalf of the Foundation and kicked off AEF donor campaign for the 2016-17 school year.
“I am acutely aware of the need for quality education,” Ginder said. “Since we were formed in 2012, we have raised $3.5 million and funded 14 special projects. We have also provided 150 scholarships to our students and 31 innovative teaching grants to our teachers. We’re only just beginning.”
Ginder said he and the AEF Board were proud of the way Aldine ISD employees have stepped up to support the foundation. The employee payroll contribution has grown from 550 a year ago to 2,240 this year, an increase of 440%.
“While I’m not a student of Aldine, nor a staff member, I am fiercely dedicated to the success of this district. And as the current Foundation board president, know that I and my fellow board members are committed to being a part of Aldine ISD’s future, its growth, and the tremendous achievements still to come.”
After Ginder’s remarks, MacArthur High School student Cortland Washington introduced a video produced by Alyssa Duty, the district’s multimedia communications specialist. The video provided a look at what the future holds for Aldine ISD and provided information on the focus to improve instruction.
Following the video, Davis High School student Sydney Brown provided information on the district’s demographics. During the 205-16 school year, AISD had an enrollment of 70,418 students (it marked the first time the district reached the 70,000 enrollment figure). The district’s current enrollment is 69,894. Other demographic information from the 2015-16 school year included:
•At-Risk Population – 65.2%
•Economically Disadvantaged Population – 88.3%
•Attendance Rate – 94.6%
•Hispanic Population – 72.2%
•African-American Population – 23.8%
•Anglo Population – 1.9%
•Special Education Population – 7%
•Students enrolled in Career and Technical Education – 27.6%
•Bilingual Population – 22.1%
•Graduation Rate – 82%
Sydney also shared information on how AISD students performed on the state’s accountability test, STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness). In reading, the percentage of students meeting the standard was 62% in Aldine, and 73% in math. Each year, the state gives the district and individual campuses a rating of either Met Standard or Improvement Required. AISD’s rating is Met Standard. Seventy-one campuses Met Standard and four campuses received a rating of Improvement Required.
MacArthur High School student Karina Puente provided information on how local tax dollars and state funds are used to fund local school districts.
Dr. Bamberg then provided an overview of the district’s finances. She told the audience that the district has expected expenditures of $677,310, 325 and projected revenues of $612,032,811, for a projected deficit of $65,277,514. The district has a strong fund balance of $177,457,889. Dr. Bamberg also added that the district’s one month’s expenditures are $56,442,527. She added that the district’s tax rate is $1.32 per $100 valuation.
Hamma Badat, an Eisenhower High School student, reminded the audience the 84th Legislative Session will begin in January of 2017. Aldine ISD officials will monitor legislation and provide updates on bills that could impact education in Texas and locally. The public can follow the session via www.capitol.state.tx.us.
Carver High School student La’Jasha Champion provided information on the Aldine Education Foundation and the number of scholarships Aldine students received during the 2015-16 school year. Last year, the Foundation awarded 47 AEF scholarships and 118 Aldine Scholarship Fund scholarships. AISD seniors were offered 1,031 scholarships totaling $40.5 million. In addition, AISD staff received 133 grants totaling $922,638.
Victory Early College High School student Faith Baynard shared information about projects completed from the 2007 bond referendum. The last school built from that bond was Greenspoint Elementary School, which opened at the start of the 2016-17 school year. She also shared information about locally funded projects, including the purchase of the old Baker Hughes Building, which is now home to the Donaldson Administration Building. The district also purchased the Fisher Building on Veterans Memorial, which will be the new home for Technology Services, Curriculum and Instruction, Facilities Planning and Construction, the Aldine ISD Police Department, Textbooks, Central Receiving, and the Staff Development Center.
MacArthur High School student Darinka Rosales provided information on the $798 million bond referendum Aldine voters overwhelmingly approved in November of 2015. The bond will fund the following projects: a new Career Technical Education high school, a new early college high school, three new middle schools, one new elementary school, two new EC/Pre-K Centers, replacement schools for Francis and Johnson elementary schools and upgraded WiFi at every AISD campus. Additionally, the bond will fund renovations and additions at Aldine and MacArthur high school, the remodeling of Carver High School and Anderson Elementary School, and repairs and renovations at all AISD schools. GPS systems have already been installed on all district buses with funds from the 2015 bond referendum.
Dr. Bamberg introduced her cabinet and provided closing remarks.
“I appreciate the work that is being done in the district,” she said. “I am so proud of our kids and staff. I appreciate our Board for holding us accountable for what we do every day.”