Major Priorities

RESTORE TEACHERS – we must replace the number of teaching positions to pre-2010 levels

In 2011, while complaining about the “deepest state funding cuts to education in decades”, MISD slashed “68 teachers and aides and 65 administrative and support” staff positions. Despite their promises to “minimize the impact on core curriculum classroom”, ISD immediately began replacing teaching position with administrative positions.

In 2013, the district threatened to cut up to 290 teaching positions, unless voters approved a tax increase giving McKinney homeowners the highest property tax rate in the state of Texas.

While increasing overall staffing, McKinney ISD still has 42 fewer teachers, than they did in 2010.

This is not acceptable.

END FORCED BUSING – We must allow Parental Choice within McKinney ISD and devote transportation cost savings for programs and initiatives that will help McKinney’s most needy children.

Since the mid 90’s McKinney ISD has employed a policy of forced busing for SES (Socio Economic Status) balance for schools.

In spite of the evidence that parents hate the policy, it does not improve the academic performance of the targeted student demographic, and the high cost of busing ($8+ million/year), the policy stands.

The result of these two misguided policies is predictable. Enrollment at McKinney ISD is stagnant and McKinney ISD STAAR test are below average in Collin County, and our neediest students score lower than comparable districts in Texas.

OPEN, HONEST AND TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT – Elected officials must be accountable.  All meetings must be televised and available for viewing on the internet with full access to materials and presentations.

 

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McKinney ISD PACs – Funded by Special Interests Fund

Question: How much money did concerned homeowners donate to the McKinney (ISD) Independent School District PAC Committees in 2011 and 2013?

Answer: Zero.

2011 Vote Yes for McKinney Schools PAC

4-Apr-11 Pogue Construction Builder to MISD  $    1,000.00
1-Apr-11 McKinney Alliance McKinney Businesses Special Interest  $    5,000.00
7-Apr-11 McKinney Chamber PAC McKinney Businesses Special Interest  $    5,000.00
9-Mar-11 SHW Group Division of Stantec (MISD Stadium Architect)  $    3,954.37
5-May-11 Durham Transportation Services MISD Bus Operations Management  $    2,000.00
17-May-11 Estes McClure MISD Engineering: 23 years & 120 Projects  $    1,500.00
21-May-11 Charter Builders Construction Management  $    1,000.00
 $  19,454.37

 

2013 Vote for McKinney Kids PAC

20-Aug-13 Pogue Construction Builder to MISD  $    1,000.00
29-Aug-13 McKinney Chamber PAC McKinney Businesses Special Interest  $    2,500.00
21-Aug-13 SHW Group Division of Stantec (MISD Stadium Architect)  $    1,500.00
30-Aug-13 Estes McClure MISD Engineering: 23 years & 120 Projects  $    1,000.00
29-Aug-13 Pogue Construction Builder to MISD  $    2,000.00
 $    8,000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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McKinney ISD: The State Cut Our Funding! Really?

In August of 2013, McKinney property owners approved a request from the McKinney Independent School District that gave McKinney property owners, the highest tax rate in the state of Texas.

The foundation for the tax increase was the claim that the Texas state legislature had cut school funding, that deeply wounded McKinney ISD. Although the district had enacted heroic cost saving measures, the cuts were too deep, the only course of action was a massive increase in local taxes.

Community leaders stepped up to support the increase and blast the legislature.

According to the MISD School Board of Trustees President Curtis Rippee, the TRE is necessary not to add additional programs, but rather maintain the existing quality of education.  It [the TRE] isn’t to increase programs in our district,” Rippee said. “It’s to keep what we have. It’s to remedy the lack of funding we’re getting from the state.”

McKinney ISD Board President Curtis Rippee, September 2013

This is not new money for new programs or enrollment growth, it is to replace money the state cut to continue current programs.

* MISD Parent Cindy Evans – August 2013

passing this TRE will allow us to keep the programs and class sizes that have, to date, benefitted students.

Angie Bado, September 2013

During the 2011 legislative session our legislators in Austin, the total amount of cuts was $5.3B. McKinney ISD’s share of those cuts was $11.2M in the 2011-2012 school year and $15.7M in the 2012-2013 school year. So, to make up for the shortfall of monies coming from Austin, we decide locally that we want to keep our community strong.”

Bill Campbell, August 2013

This is screenshot of the mailing, that was produced and distributed at taxpayer expense, to parents and supporters.

TRE Reasons

Officials with McKinney ISD administration claimed, along with the $15.7 million in cuts, the district had “not seen substantial increases in [state] funding since this time [2005-06]“.

According to the Audited Financial Reports submitted by the district, here is a history of Texas state funding to McKinney ISD:

State Funding

The red areas represent over $12 million in  funding MISD received through the state in 2010 ($6,620,812) and 2011 ($6,332,975) as communities slice of the 2009 Obama Stimulus. This $12 million in bonus money is apparently monies that McKinney ISD claims were “cut“.

Link to individual years: 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

Here is same funding on a per student basis:

State Funding per Student

When I visited with McKinney ISD officials with this information, their reaction was “meh”.  I suggest you vote “meh” for the $72.5 million Football Stadium.

 

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$70 Million Football Stadium Coming to McKinney

Stadium Project RFP

 

Construction: ~$50 million

Infrastructure: ~$12.5 million

Land: ~ $10 million

TOTAL: ~ $72 million

On May 7th, the McKinney Independent School District Board of Trustees will ask voters to approve a $220 (plus $12.5 million)  bond package, that fails to include the construction of a single school.

More details to come.

 

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Question: Is McKinney Stadium Really 55 Years Old?

“I do believe we need a stadium because our current stadium is 55 years old”

McKinney ISD Superintendent Rick McDaniel

McKinney Lions Field 1971

MISD Stadium circa 1971

Presentation1

McKinney Ron Poe Stadium 2015

Ron Poe Stadium 2015

Question: Is the football stadium really 55 years old?

Answer: While the original structure opened in 1962, according to the 2000 Bond Report McKinney ISD spent a reported $10,119,614  to renovate needed renovations in the mid 2006.  The stadiums real age, obviously, is closer to 10 years, than 55.

A family reunion under the Friday night lights in McKinney

Although voters approved a new stadium in 2005, McKinney ISD board decided to renovate the old stadium.

Here is an article from the September 25, 2005 Dallas Morning News:

McKINNEY – High school football fans here won’t get a new stadium anytime soon, but the current stadium will get a makeover by next season.

After reviewing four proposals to renovate the stadium earlier this week, the school board is slated to approve a final renovation plan as early as Monday.

School officials said the proposals, which include new seating and concession areas, provide the only way to improve the football facilities right now because the district can’t afford to build a new stadium.

“Someday, we will build that stadium, but this is our stadium until then,” Superintendent Tom Crowe said.

The four proposals, which vary in price from nearly $4.4 million to $5.2 million, all include major changes to the press box as well as new restrooms and bleachers. The two most expensive plans also include extra parking.

Regardless of which plan is selected, work is expected to begin soon after the end of this year’s football season and be finished by the summer.

Voters approved a $13 million bond referendum to build a new stadium in 2000, but school leaders nixed that plan in favor of building new schools to accommodate the district’s booming student population.

That growth also fueled the current $197 million bond referendum now before voters for four new elementary schools, a middle school and the second phase of the yet-to-open Boyd High School. The measure would not increase taxes but would be paid for by future growth in the city.

Early voting started Wednesday, and election day is Oct. 8.

Geralyn Kever, the school board president, said the district has only so much debt that it can cover under the current tax structure.

“The board looked at our financial rate and looked at our growth and realized that if we built another stadium, we would have to postpone building schools,” Ms. Kever said. “Our current schools would be overcrowded.

“We recognized that a football stadium was a want, but we have an existing football stadium, so it wasn’t a need.”

As a backup plan, the 2000 bond referendum also included $5 million for renovations to the current stadium, which hosts games for McKinney and McKinney North high schools.

The $5 million is expected to cover the renovations.

Ms. Kever said the growing student population, changes to the state tax structure and other factors will determine when the district has the debt capacity to build another stadium.

“I suppose there may be those who might still prefer to build a stadium ahead of schools,” she said, “but I think the vast majority, including myself, would have a difficult time telling children we’re going to have to put out additional portables because we’ve used money toward a stadium.”

During a board work session this week, Mr. Crowe said residents should not consider the renovations as a one- or two-year solution.

“We may get the bonding capacity, but the priority has to go to schools,” he said.

The district has more than 19,000 students and is expected to grow to 25,000 students by the 2009-10 school year.

McKinney ISD Board of Trustees: Never let the Facts get in the way of making a Bad Decision.

 

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McKinney Stadium: Does Past Attendance Justify a 12,000-Seat Stadium?

McKinney Stadium: Does Past Attendance Justify a 12,000-Seat Stadium?

Administrators and board members at McKinney Independent School District (McKinney ISD) cite game attendance and costs for temporary seating, as driving factors for building a 12,000-seat $60 million stadium. Attendance figures, obtained from the district, however, do not back up these assertions.

In 2013, former MISD Chief Financial Officer Edd Bigbee, warned that seating “continues to be an issue”, remarking the district was forced to spend $20,644 in 2012 to lease bleachers for home games with Allen and the cross-town game between McKinney Boyd and McKinney High.

Last year, district officials told the Dallas Morning News, “Two popular McKinney games in 2014 each drew at least 9,000 people to Ron Poe Stadium, spending about $20,000 in temporary seating rentals”, an expensive, that McKinney ISD School Board President Amy Dankel complained was “just throwing money away”.  Dankel added “it just takes so long to get to our current stadium with all of the construction, and there’s hardly any parking”. “We’ve just outgrown it.”

Last August, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to McKinney ISD and neighboring districts, requesting “attendance figures for the home football games for years (2014-2015, 2013-2014 and 2012-2013).”

While all of other districts quickly complied, McKinney ISD demanded $202.50 for “Labor cost for approximately 13.5 hours @$15/hr for compiling information.costs of materials, labor, and overhead”. Even after the request was narrowed to just the 2013-2014 season, MISD still demanded $180 with 11 hours for labor.

After the 2015 season, McKinney ISD finally relented and supplied me with attendance figures, without demanding payment.

The following are the 2014 and 2015 paid attendance figures for the Average and Maximum for Allen, Plano, Wylie, Frisco, McKinney and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD’s. Unpaid attendance ranges between 1,000 to 1,500, with free attendance for district employees.

Attendance

MISD reported, in 2014, the highest attendance was the McKinney Boyd – Allen that attracted 7,000 and in 2015, the largest total turnout was 4,810.

The facts speak for themselves. Having several high schools, a huge stadium or even a winning football record, does not lead to high attendance. Frisco Lone Star went to the State Championship and still had low attendance.

Even though the district spent nearly $10 million in renovations, for Ron Poe Stadium, we do need to fix the parking and other issues, that do not require $60 million.

Officials at McKinney ISD MUST focus on ACADEMIC issues.

May Bond Election

Superintendent Rick McDaniel appears to be willing to play Texas Hold ’em for the May Bond election and is going “All In” for the stadium.

He told Community Impact that “We have bond capacity of about $200 million, and we could easily stand to use all of that, (as) there are a lot of different projects, that need to be done” and the stadium would “only amount to roughly one-fourth” of the bond.

This is a clear sign that MISD is planning on lumping the stadium with the total bond. MISD is fully aware that support for the stadium is tenuous, and they do not want to take a chance and have it rejected, like McKinney voters did with the downtown parking garage.

If anyone believes that the newly formed citizen’s “Kid’s Bond Committee” will NOT operate, as anything other than a rubber stamp for MISD, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona, that I would like to offer you, at a bargain price.

More information about the proposed stadium, and other important local issues, can be found at rathpack.me.

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Levels of Lead and Copper in McKinney Water Supply

At the October 15, 2015 District 1 Town Hall, a gentlemen got up and spoke about the levels of lead in the drinking water, specifically in the homes of residents of McKinney east of Highway 5.  He noted that children are being poisoned and nothing is being done about it.

I’ve been hearing these poisoning claims since 2008, and have never seen any evidence to support these claims. It has always been my position for people to submit water samples to the City of McKinney for testing, if they suspected that the quality of their water, was less than acceptable.

Be aware that the EPA has established the follow LEAD and COPPER RULE, noting:

“If lead concentrations exceed an action level of 15 ppb or copper concentrations exceed an action level of 1.3 ppm in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the system must undertake a number of additional actions to control corrosion.  If the action level for lead is exceeded, the system must also inform the public about steps they should take to protect their health and may have to replace lead service lines under their control.”

The day after the Town Hall meeting, I submitted a FOIA request for the latest water testing results for Lead and Copper.

In 2013, the City of McKinney samples water from various locations east of Highway 5 and submitted the samples for Lead and Copper testing at an independent laboratory, the Environmental Laboratory Services.

The following were the results. For simplicity, all the units have been changed to PPB (Parts Per Billion).

Date Collected Location COPPER LEAD Date Analyzed
Action Level: 1300 PPB 15 PPB
6/10/2013 319 Franklin St 85.8 0.408 6/19/2013
6/6/2013 1106 Anthony St 44.4 0.734 6/19/2013
6/6/2013 312 Franklin St 341 0.459 6/19/2013
6/10/2013 505 Anthony St 49.1 0.408 6/19/2013
6/10/2013 814 Lindsey St 334 1.18 6/19/2013
6/10/2013 904 Standifer St 315 0.869 6/19/2013
6/10/2013 916 Greenville Rd 63.7 0.408 6/19/2013
6/10/2013 918 Greenville Rd 128 0.408 6/19/2013

The 2015 City of McKinney Water Quality Report notes no quality problems, and clearly, all samples had levels, well below the unacceptable limits.

The City of McKinney responded:

November 2, 2015     

To Whom It May Concern:   

The City of McKinney does not have any lead water mains.  There are a total of 12 lead and copper samples sites east of Highway 5. These sample sites were established and approved according to TECQ’s  requirements (290‐117-Regulation of Lead and Copper) to monitor and report levels of lead and  copper.  

Since our system has been meeting or exceeding all pertinent regulatory requirements, we were able to reduce our sampling frequency to every three years at the reduced number of sampling sites.

Therefore, there are currently 8 active sites for lead and copper monitoring, east of Highway 5.  The last testing for lead and copper was conducted in 2013.  All tests indicated levels of lead  well below the allowable limits (test results attached).   

 

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