Friday, December 6, 2019

Carroll School Trustee Won't Seek Third Term

Carroll School Board Trustee John Thane has announced that he will not seek re-election to his Place 6 seat on the Carroll Board of Trustees.

Thane will be completing his sixth year on the School Board in May; he was elected to his first term in May of 2007 and voters reelected him in May of 2010.

To date, two candidates have filed for Thane’s Place 6 seat on the May 11 ballot:  Sam Torolopoulos and Matt Kormann. A third candidate, Bob Kemins, has filed in the Place 7 seat currently held by incumbent Sherri Williams. The deadline to file for a place on the ballot is 5 p.m. Friday, March 1.

Letter to CISD taxpayers from John Thane:

Nearing the end of my second term as a Carroll ISD Board Trustee, I have decided to not seek reelection to a third term.  Here, I would like to share my perspective on the district based upon my experiences over the last six years.

In the face of daunting economic challenges we have maintained a standard of excellence in education that prepares our students for their futures in a world where achieving success has grown much more competitive and complex.  Even with dwindling state support and short- sighted political agendas, we continue to utilize our financial resources in a conservative yet effective manner. By carefully and methodically building our financial reserves to $30 million dollars we have protected our tradition of outstanding academics and extracurricular achievements. Most importantly, the primary focus has been, as it always should be, on our students.

One of the key accomplishments that will benefit students for decades to come is the array of projects approved by voters in the most recent bond package.  The construction of two new schools and renovations at every other campus has improved facilities that not only expand the opportunities for our students but also conserve our precious maintenance and operations dollars.

The investment in advanced and highly efficient solar arrays and geothermal heating/cooling systems in the new buildings has significantly reduced the district’s utility expenses, keeping more money available in the classrooms. All of this has been achieved without increasing taxes.  In fact, contrary to what some may have you believe, the board has decreased taxes over the past several years and we currently have the lowest tax rate of the past decade.  I consider the partnership with our taxpayers established by the approval of these projects to be one of the most significant endeavors of my service on the board.

A tightly managed budget allowed for significant investments in upper-level science labs, band instruments, fine arts, foreign language and state-of-the-art technology in every classroom at every grade giving our students every advantage possible.  Additionally, extra-curricular programs, which are proven to be beneficial to our students, have been protected.

Of course, there have been painful moments as well.  Instituting increased bus rider fees was difficult, but necessary to help defray the costs associated with this service.  Payroll expenses, the district’s largest operating cost, were reduced through attrition and not rehiring for those positions.  This prevented a direct employee furlough and shaved over $3 million off our expenses but, unfortunately, forced larger class sizes that further stretch our teachers and ultimately impact our students.

To complicate this situation, we have been unable to competitively reward our teachers and have only provided a 1.5 % raise to our dedicated instructors and staff in the last several years.  With rising costs of living coupled with the active recruitment of our teachers and administrators by other districts, we are faced with the potential of losing many of the outstanding individuals that have such a positive impact on our kids. It is a frustrating reality, and one that I know has many parents and taxpayers concerned.

Our administration is lean, at one of the lowest administrative cost ratios in the state for like sized districts, with competent and caring people at the helm.  Dr. Faltys is one of the most heralded superintendents in the state.  Our students are challenged and accountable.  They are highly regarded for both academics and athletics. Their achievements have propelled the district to recognition across the state and country. Our talented instructors paved the way for this success and turnover is at its lowest point in many years because CISD is a great place to work.  We remain one of the largest exemplary districts in Texas. The partnership of parents, students, staff, and taxpayers has created a district built upon the guiding principles of quality academics and a tradition of excellence.

While there is still work to be done, it has been an honor to serve you.

Protect the Tradition!

All the best,

John Thane

Carroll ISD Board Trustee, Place 6