Accomplishments

Community advocacy efforts:

  • Since the Alief area was annexed by the Houston Community College System (HCCS), I have worked with area residents and HCCS officials to ensure that our community receives promised services and programs. 
  • I have supported various community activities and events sponsored by the Alief Super Neighborhood Council and helped establish the International Management District. 
  • I facilitated the collaboration of the Alief School District, the International Management District, the Alief Super Neighborhood, and the SPARK Park organization to construct a community garden.
  • I serve as Treasurer on the SPARK Park Board and advocate for new parks for Alief schools.

 

Local, state and federal educational advocacy efforts:

  • I successfully fought for state and federal assistance for school districts statewide and in particular, those in Alief that were heavily impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.   
  • I opposed vouchers and unfunded mandates at the state and federal level.
  • I worked with state lawmakers to pass legislation providing funding to districts offering night high school.  
  • For many years, I have advocated for a major revamping of the state school funding system.  The current system is inadequate and inequitable.  Last session, minor changes were made but the school finance lawsuit will have to be resolved before major change takes place.
  • During the last legislative session, I worked with legislators, parents, and educators to reduce high stakes testing and to add flexibility to state graduation plans.  We were successful in reducing testing for high school students, but we still must work to reduce testing at the elementary and middle school level.  The new graduation plans will allow students more choices while still preparing them for post-secondary education or the workforce.
  • I advocated at the federal level for needed changes to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and for increases in Title I and IDEA funding.
  • I worked to ensure that school districts are reimbursed by the federal government for health services provided to Medicaid-eligible children with disabilities.
  • I have advocated for increased funding for early childhood education at the state and federal level.
  • I campaigned successfully for inclusion of additional education funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

 

During Sarah Winkler’s tenure on the Alief ISD Board:

 

Student Achievement is up.
  • Alief ISD students outperformed the state in many academic areas and grade levels on the new STAAR testing system. 71% of our campuses earned at least one of the three possible state Distinction Designations for 2012-13 and 22% of our campuses earned a distinction in all 3 academic areas.  For an explanation of Distinction Designations click here
  • The percentage of students earning a score of 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) exams has increased from 22.4% in 2012 to 30.2% in 2013.  
  • Alief ISD’s high school graduation rate increased to over 93%.
  • 60% of Alief Early College High School’s (AECHS) first graduating class earned Associate’s degrees along with their high school diplomas.
  • 2013 graduates were offered over $33 million in grants and scholarships.

 

Instructional offerings have expanded and changed to meet student needs.
  • The Aims Gifted and Talented Program has been expanded to all intermediate schools.
  • Students have access to an on-line curriculum and a night high school.
  • Alief is offering a Dual Language Immersion Program at 10 elementary campuses.
  • Enrollment has increased in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Pre-AP/AP programs.
  • Alief’s speech, debate, and theater arts programs are state and nationally recognized.
  • Career and Technology (CTE) programs have expanded. Alief offered 17 certifications in 2012-2013.  Last school year, total enrollment in CTE courses increased 12% and, more importantly, enrollment in coherent sequences of courses increased 45%.  Students earned 1142 certifications.
  • Free breakfast is now available for all Alief students.
  • The Communities in Schools (CIS) program has expanded and is now available at 27 campuses.
  • Dual credit course sections have increased from 5 prior to the HCCS annexation to 29 for the 2013-2014 school year. 25 new courses will be offered at the AECHS.

 

Tax dollars have been used responsibly and efficiently.
  • The 2013 -2014 combined school tax rate has been reduced to $1.29.  Alief’s tax rate has decreased 5 cents in the past 4 years and is now the second lowest in the Houston Metropolitan area.
  • Alief ISD’s administrative cost ratio is one of the lowest in this area while the district’s instructional expenditure ratio is one of the highest. 63% of general fund expenditures are for direct instruction to students.
  • Teacher salaries and benefits are highly competitive.  Salaries increased 3.5% this school year.  Alief teachers pay less for health insurance coverage than teachers in neighboring districts.  Premiums have remained flat for 7 consecutive years.
  • Operating costs per student are lower than the state average and lower than many neighboring districts.
  • Alief repays debt at a much faster rate than neighboring districts contributing to the district’s long term financial stability.
  • Alief earned a 4.5 star Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST) rating from the Texas Comptroller, Susan Combs for the last 3 years.  The FAST system identifies districts that produce high academic achievement while maintaining cost effective operations. 

 

Political advertisement paid by the Sarah Winkler Campaign, 12731 Palm Desert LN Houston, TX 77099

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