Aldine ISD board votes to cut magnet programs

January 25, 2010 8:47:39 PM PST
The Aldine school board voted to cut some programs for students, and as you can imagine, that has some parents upset. There may be more changes ahead which will hit families in the wallet. At Monday night's special meeting of the Aldine ISD board of trustees, parents of students from five magnet programs filled the seats, only to be disappointed.

After weeks of consideration, the board voted to cut portions of magnet programs at Hill Intermediate, Carroll Academy, Harris Academy, Smith Academy and Stovall Academy. It's not what the parents wanted to hear.

"I'm very, very disappointed," said parent Maribel Andrade.

Then the news got worse.

"The only way we're going to get additional revenue at this point is to look to the community," said Dr. Wanda Bamberg, Aldine ISD Superintendent.

Translation - a possible property tax increase.

"The options are drying up," said Dr. Alton Smith, president of the board.

District leaders say they've cut all they can, but they still need about $18 million to balance the budget.

"The amount of income that we have coming in will not exceed expenditures. We need more money," said Dr. Alton Smith.

If the board votes to hold a special election on the issue, the district could ask for as much as 13 cents per $100 value of property. For a $100,000 home, the property tax bill would be $130 dollars more per year.

Some parents already had their minds made up.

"I will not pay one cent more. Not when they are cutting programs that work," said Andrade.

However, others fear what will happen if an increase doesn't pass.

"The alternative is going to be worse. Our kids are going to be without special programs that help them out," said parent Santos Reyes.

In the coming weeks there will be a number of meetings for Aldine ISD taxpayers to contribute their input on the issue of a property tax increase. If the board decides to put it to a vote, the election would be sometime in the fall.