McKinney ISD: A Parent Speaks Out

I am the parent of two graduates of the McKinney Independent School District. In 2006, I lived away from my family for a year, so my daughter could graduate from McKinney High School. We returned to McKinney in 2008, specifically, so my son could graduate from McKinney High School.

Over the past few years, I have grown increasing concerned about the direction, that our Board of Trustees and the administration of McKinney ISD, has taken the district.

Here are some of the low lights:

  • McKinney North High School Cheerleader scandal that brought national shame and ridicule to the community.  Besides firing the principal involved, we have no indication that the district implemented any of the suggestions or recommendations of the independent investigator.  The incident is merely dismissed, as if it never happened.
  • Lost millions of taxpayer dollars in legal fees and penalties by initiating and dragging out an Eminent Domain condemnation case for nearly ten years, until the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the case in April of 2007.
  • Squandered millions of dollars building four “energy efficient” elementary schools that actually used more electricity than the cheaper traditional designs.
  • ConstructionRefusal to stop the forced socio-economic busing; despite parental objections and proof the effort actually hurts all students. Test scores across all demographics have dropped since busing started in 2006. Economically Disadvantaged have dropped to below the state average, since the district began the program in 2005.

VS State

Now, the district is claiming to be destitute and threatening to fire teachers and cut valuable programs, unless voters approve a tax hike, that would force local homeowner to pay the highest school property tax rate in Texas.

Why should we believe them?

The truth is the district does not have a revenue problem, they have a spending problem.

travel

I refuse to believe that firing teachers and cutting programs are the only options.

Here are some suggestions for cost savings and student performance enhancements:

    • Encourage, instead of discouraging community, business and parental involvement in the district and in the classroom.
    • Increase salaries for teachers! Set up teacher incentive and accountability programs. Reward the high performers and remove the low ones.
    • Cut central admin staffing headcount.
    • Reverse administrative salary increases since 2010.
    • Expand corporate and business sponsorship opportunities.
    • Remove all non essential support personnel, return to 2010 levels
    • Slash busing by one half. Stop socio-economic forced busing
    • Cut 100% of the subsidies for TASB and limit board travel to maximum of two per year. Require majority of board members to approve member travel. Require summary of travel and make the report publically available.
    • Restrict all administrative travel.
    • Explore and eliminate redundancies with county and city functions (i.e. payroll, personnel, purchasing, etc)
    • Replace Bilingual Programs with English Emersion
    • Bid alternative vendors for Food Service. Explore replacing with local vendors and suppliers.
    • Revive innovative programs like the ACT Academy that were proven performers.
    • Webcast all Board of Trustees meetings and make archive of videos publically available. Board must be open and accountable
    • Texas Ethics refresher classes for all board members and administration.
    • Set up strict ethics policy, eliminating acceptance of gifts, dinners and entertainment from vendors for board members and MISD personnel.
    • Replace technology spending and buy textbooks.
    • Return all Apple iPads and Macs. Stick with cheaper Windows based systems.
    • Begin a cooperative program with local businesses to hire MISD students for summer employment.
    • Offer dual credit Associate Degree program with Collin College, allowing ambitious student to obtain college credits and degree along with high school diploma. This will cut class sizes and save parent money.
    • Eliminate all consultants.
    • Form citizen committee with local business leaders to explore, evaluate and institute cost saving initiatives.
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3 Responses to McKinney ISD: A Parent Speaks Out

  1. Blair says:

    Thank you! Wish we could afford to send this out in a glossy, color, 6 page brochure to all McKinney residents but that might be a gross waste of taxpayer money.

    • Kim says:

      Curtis, I found this interesting article. This realtor has done the research and has concluded that we do not need a tax increase. Our increase in value and growth will pay for the mismanagement of MISD, I mean deficit, of funds.

      Market Conditions Should Take Care of McKinney ISD TRE increase – No Need for TRE or Cutting Teacher, Support Staff and Programs

      A McKinney Realtor’s Perspective on the Proposed McKinney ISD TRE Tax Increase:

      What You Need to Know Before You Vote

      In the early February 2012 issue of McKinney Living Magazine, the Bright Star Group published an article stating that sales in Collin County were up and inventory was down, indicating the beginning of a seller’s market. True to what we felt in our business as early as October 2011, the market rapidly turned into one of the best markets we have seen in many years. Average McKinney sales prices have indeed been on the rise and according to the Collin County Appraisal District Certified Value Summaries for McKinney ISD, the values for the average 2013 taxable McKinney ISD home have increased over 4% over the 2012 tax year.

      By now, McKinney ISD residents should have received the McKinney ISD TRE 2013 tax ratification brochure in the mail. According the information published, MISD, will be forced to reduce their budget by $10.7M in 2014/15 school year, as claims made by the ISD that State Funding was cut by $11.2M in 2011/12 and $4.5M in 2012/13 school years.

      Analysis of the Audited MISD financial statements for years 2010, 2011, and 2012, indicates that State Aid for MISD was $65.2M, $73.7M and $69.8M respectively, indicating an increase of $8.5M from 2010 to 2011 and a decrease of $3.9M in 2011 to 2012. Over the three year period, there was a net increase of State Aid of $4.6M. For more details regarding the Audited Financial Statements, check out the following websites:

      http://www.mckinneyisd.net/information/docs/2011%20final%20signed%20TEA%20from%20Pingleton.pdf

      http://www.mckinneyisd.net/information/docs/2012%20Audit%20Report-FINAL.pdf

      Also from these statements, there was an increase of net assets (Revenues minus Expenses) of $10.7M that resulted in 2012 thus adding to the overall MISD balance sheet for 2013. According to the MISD proposed budget for 2013/14 the General Fund has a beginning balance of $53.7M, $18.4M for the Debt Service Fund, and $2M for the Food Service Fund. For more details on the proposed budget check out the following site:

      http://www.mckinneyisd.net/information/docs/13-14%20Website%20Proposed%20Budget%20117.pdf

      What residents may not know, for this 2013 tax year, McKinney ISD will potentially receive about $12M in additional tax revenue over last tax year merely by the fact that market factors have increased sales prices which increases the amount of revenue the ISD will receive. According to the Collin County Appraisal District Certified Reports using their total taxable revenues for McKinney ISD and applying the current tax rate, this number is estimated to be $149M of which $100.9M is estimated going into the general fund for 2013. To view the Certified Summaries see the following website:

      http://www.collincad.org/downloads/viewcategory/45-certified-value-summaries

      According to the CCAD, a 2013 McKinney ISD home is valued at $222,000. For the previous tax 2012 year, this home was valued at $213,000. At our current rate of 1.54, the home owner is paying a tax increase of about $220. If the TRE passes and the rate increases to 1.67, an additional $269 will be added to the tax bill, raising the total tax increase to $489 for the year over the previous year.

      It’s important for homeowners to understand in this sellers market, home sales prices have significantly increased, 12.5% over this time last year according to our local MLS. The Collin County Appraisal District has a complex method of establishing home values which includes analyzing our MLS data by neighborhood, which they have access, however, they will also look 3 months the previous calendar year beginning in September and 3 months following the calendar year in March to help determine home values for a given tax year. Since tax year figures are one year in arrears, McKinney homeowners can probably expect another increase in 2014 taxable home market value as for most McKinney residents, historic home sales continued to soar throughout the 2013 calendar year.

      Using the CCAD average value for a McKinney ISD home, it may not be out-of-line to assume a 5% increase in 2014 assessed home market value; although the taxing authority, by law, can raise assessed value a maximum of 10% each year. In this example, we can expect the average McKinney ISD home value to be $233,000, effectively raising taxes again in 2014 by an additional $286.

      If you want to know the effects this has on your own tax bill, take your 2013 Notice of Appraised Value tax bill and use the 2013 “taxable” value for McKinney ISD. Divide this number by 100 and multiply this by $0.13. This is the new proposed tax increase for your home. If the TRE passes, you can expect to pay this increase at the end of this calendar year.

      Since a large portion of funding the ISD’s comes from our property taxes, currently 62.8%, the ISD is asking that this percentage be increased to 64.7%. If this tax ratification passes, it will increase our total taxable rate from 2.4518 to 2.5818, which is the highest property tax rate compared to near-by “sister” cities, assuming that our County Assessor keeps all other tax percentages constant later this fall. Here is how these nearby communities compare:

      Town ISD ISD Total Population
      Tax Rate Tax Rate

      Allen Allen 1.67 2.548 89,640
      Fairview Lovejoy 1.535 2.2213 7,914
      Frisco Frisco 1.46 2.248 128,176
      McKinney McKinney 1.54 2.4518 143,223
      McKinney (TRE) 1.67 2.5818
      Plano Plano 1.3734 2.1883 272,068
      Prosper Prosper 1.67 2.5163 11,729

      As indicated in the brochure, some of these ISD’s passed a TRE, but what you don’t see printed are the current tax rates for the ISD’s. Of this list of nearby cities, only Allen and Prosper are at the same rates as proposed by MISD. Other factors, such as the number of homes and business tax base will also affect tax rates. It’s interesting to note McKinney’s population in relation to the total tax rate of other comparable cites as the higher rate can suggest either insufficient number of homes on the ground, more apartment dwellers, more residents per home, a smaller business tax base, insufficient use of funds, to name a few or some combination hereof.

      As a McKinney ISD resident and Real-Estate Professional, I know the importance of competitive tax rates, good school districts with sufficient programs and materials as well as quality educators. Having all this is a recipe that has attracted many buyers to McKinney over the past few years; as reflected in our high demand and low inventory of homes on the market. With only MISD projections at this point (FYI – actual audited revenues have exceed MISD budgeted amounts by 9.5% in 2011 and 7.4% in 2012), to start messing with this recipe, might end up spelling disaster for residents and business alike in the near future. Bottom Line, the MISD budget will take care of itself due to current market factors alone there should be no need to cut teacher, support staff positions and programs.

      Filed Under: McKinney ISD

  2. Michelle says:

    This is an AMAZING article! I can not believe you wrote down very similar thoughts my husband and I have said. We are very frustrated with how the school system is going. My son just started 9th. grade at North and can’t find one person that he recognizes from elementary & middle school-there are WAY too many people from outside our neighborhood over shadowing the school. He doesn’t know how to relate to any of them. It’s also quite frustrating when in class, instruction time needs to be stopped because the ESL students don’t understand what’s being taught & some teachers actually re-taught the lesson in Spanish to accommodate them. That was very frustrating for our son while at Scott Johnson. I voted NO. My husband will vote NO. And I’m trying my hardest to spread the word to others so they’ll also vote NO.

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