Sarah McMurrough, AISD Place 1

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1. Taxpayers' Dollars – please respond by February 29, 2024

Currently the AISD has the highest M&O rate of any ISD in Tarrant County. Staff has started budgeting for the paying of recapture (“Robin Hood”). How fiscally responsible should the board be with taxpayers' dollars and why? How high of a priority should fiscal responsibility be and why? What are your suggestions to be more fiscally responsible?

Did not respond.

 

2. Transgender – please respond by March 7, 2024

Which locker rooms/restrooms, etc., should transgender students be using? Should there be a District policy? Why or why not?

Did not respond.

 

3. Teachers' Salaries – please respond by March 14, 2024

Is having the highest teachers' salaries in the north Texas area a good thing? Why or why not?

Did not respond.

 

4. Student Achievement Goals – please respond by March 21, 2024

The district has performance improvement plans where the goals are for less than 50% of the students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations on the state achievement assessments. Is this acceptable? Why or why not? What are your suggestions regarding student achievement goal plans?

Did not respond.

 

5. Communications – please respond by March 28, 2024

If you receive an e-mail from a constituent on an AISD issue and the constituent logically laid out and well documented the issue, will you respond to the constituent? Why or why not? What actions will you take?

Did not respond.

 

6. Issues – please respond by April 4, 2024

What is the most important issue the board is currently facing? Why? What are your suggestions for addressing this issue?

Did not respond.

 
 
 
 
 
 
: sarahforaisd@gmail.com <sarahforaisd@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 07:26:16 AM CDT
Subject: Five questions
 
Ms. McMurrough,
 
Since  there is a very confining two-minute time limit for speakers I am forced to send you an e-mail with my questions.
 
Here is my two major problems with the 4% raise.
1. As Dr. Reich stated at the May 18 meeting, we are already at the top of the chart [setting the standard concerning salaries]. By giving another 4% [for the fourth? year in a row]  you are NOT just staying competitive [as you stated], but actually causing ISD inflation. Think about it, you are already on top and setting the price even higher. If the only way you can get people to come and/or stay is to overpay over everyone else's price, there must be something else that is wrong, and I say fix that. I also have to question the "heart" of people that are only going where the top dollar is. For paying the top dollar, are we on top of all the ratings? NO, we are not. There are other districts that are paying less and rated higher [obtaining more from their employees]. [I am NOT trying to imply AISD is doing bad, certainly a whole lot better than say FWISD, but others are doing better with less dollars.]
 
2. ESSER funds are limited and not forever lasting. So you may think $8.6 million deficit for FY23-24 already accounting for ESSER and vacancy funds might be good, but when no more ESSER funds are available, you are talking an already vacancy adjusted $33 million deficit for future years. The raises accumulate. The ESSER funds expire. We are being set up for a disaster.
 
1. Do you see how a 4% raise is causing ISD inflation?
 
2. Do you believe there might be better solutions other than just giving a 4% raise?
 
Another thing discussed at the May 18 meeting, with no fanfare, was the debt service fund having a $10.6 million surplus. The debt service fund should basically have a cushion (for protection of soft tax collections) then basically aim for annual zero balances for debt service expenditures [The district should already have a good idea what the value of those expenses will be tor the year]. In my mind that is another 3-cent reduction that should be coming off the total tax rate.
 
3. Do you think the district should be investigating lowering the taxpayers' tax rate by looking at lowering the debt service piece?
 
The Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers make payments to the AISD for taking properties off the tax rolls for stadiums. I believe both pay a six-digit figure. In theory, how school funding works, the M&O total dollars are not affected by whether these properties are on the tax rolls or not, but the debt service piece certainly is. In fairness to the taxpayer these funds should be going to the debt service fund, not the general fund.
 
4. Do you believe that in fairness to the taxpayers, these stadium payoffs for taking properties off the tax rolls should be added to the debt service fund, helping to lower the total tax bill to taxpayers?
 
5. Do you believe two minutes is the correct time limit for AISD speakers?
 
Sincerely,
 
 
From: Sarah McMurrough <sarahforaisd@gmail.com>
To: THE SPECTATOR <arlspectator@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 11:46:31 AM CDT
Subject: Re: Five questions
 
Hi Mr. Weber,
 
It's good to hear from you. I first want to clarify that public comments and email are not your only communication options. I am also available via phone call, in-person visit, or Trustee Talks. I appreciate your concern for taxpayers, and I will always welcome a conversation with you. In regards to your questions, a 4% of-the-midpoint raise is necessary to attract and retain qualified professionals to educate and serve our children. As you know, employers throughout the state and the nation are striving to keep up with the rising rate of inflation. School districts are no exception. After much hard work and collaboration amongst staff, our finance department has presented our board with cost-saving measures that are significant and sustainable. I anticipate a better-balanced budget this cycle and will continually strive to balance fiscal responsibility with ensuring our teachers and staff are able to earn decent salaries and wages necessary to support their families and remain employed with AISD.
 
Warm regards,
 
Sarah McMurrough
Arlington ISD Trustee - Place 1
Cell: (817) 975-0893
 
=====================
 
To: sarahforaisd@gmail.com <sarahforaisd@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, May 19, 2023 at 10:20:16 AM CDT
Subject: Two questions
 
Ms. McMurrough,
 
The FY2023-24 Budget discussed at last night's board meeting has the taxpayers spending greater than $6.1 million on recapture/"Robin Hood".
 
Question 1:  Is this efficient use of taxpayers' dollars?
 
Question 2: What options are available to reduce that amount to $0?
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Did not respond.