This afternoon, the City of Hedwig Village and Spring Branch ISD celebrated the completion of the reconstruction of Piney Point with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Last month, our Board recognized Hedwig Village for this cooperative effort that has benefited our District.
The Board also gratefully accepted a donation of 45 external defibrillators (AEDs) from the Texas Arrhythmia Institute with a value of nearly $100,000. This donation will provide every campus with at least one AED.
The Board held a public hearing on the 2006 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). With a perfect score on all 21 financial indicators, the District received a rating of Superior Achievement (the highest rating) for the 4th consecutive year. The District's presentation is available here (.pdf)
During the discussion on the FIRST rating, I raised the issue of publication of the District's check register on the District's website. This is something I feel will increase transparency for our taxpayers. Look for this to become a reality this Fall.
Each of the Board members delivered their respective Liaison reports.
The Board received a presentation from the Summer School Principals on the successes of the program as well as the areas of anticipated improvement. Overall, the program was very successful this year. The presentation by the Principals is available here (.pdf).
The Board took action to approve contracts, routine personnel items, and a SPARK Park at Meadow Wood Elementary, and the use of the construction manager-at-risk contracting method for the Police Station and Athletic Facility projects.
The Board approved the Five Year Educational Plan Annual Performance Objectives. For each of the objectives, action plans will now be developed with final approval of the Plan anticipated at the December Board meeting. The Plan with the performance objectives is available for review here here (.pdf).
Finally, the Board discussed the tax rate which must be set at the October meeting. The Texas Legislature lowered the District's rate by 18¢ to $1.6315. The Legislature allows Districts to raise that rate by up to 4¢. However, our Board reached a consensus that the rate will not be increased. In addition, we will be adjusting the debt service rate within the $1.6315 in order to maximize the amount of additional State funds available which total approximately $800,000. The presentation concerning the tax rate discussion is available here (.pdf).
I, for one, am tired of those high-paid teachers. Their hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year!
It’s time to put things in perspective and pay them for what they do, which is baby-sit. We can get that for less than minimum wage. That’s right … I would give them $3 an hour and only pay them for the hours they worked, not any of that silly planning time.
Assuming five hours of real work per day, that would be $15 a day. Each parent should pay $15 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now, how many do they teach in a day … maybe 25. Then that’s $15 times 25 children … $375 a day. But remember, they only work 180 days a year! I’m not going to pay them for any vacations. Let’s see … that’s $375 times 180 days … $67,500. (Whoa … hold on, my calculator must need new batteries!)
And what about those special teachers or the ones with master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them the full minimum wage, just to be fair. Let’s round it off to $6 an hour. That would be $6 times five hours times 25 children times 180 days … $135,000 per year. Wait a minute, there must be something wrong here!
There sure is! Send this to all the teachers you know. Send it to your child’s teacher with a thank you!
Yesterday, the House passed the Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006 along party lines by a vote of 228 to 196. If passed by the Senate and signed by President Bush, the Act will require anyone voting in a federal election to present a government issued photo ID that shows that the individual is a U.S. Citizen -- i.e., a passport.
Steve Irwin's memorial service was today, and the most moving tribute came from his 8 year old daughter, Bindi. The text of her message is below, or you can watch it by clicking here. ______________________________________________________
My Daddy was my hero. He was always there for me when I needed
him. He listened to me and taught me so many things, but most of all he
I know that Daddy had an important job. He was working
to change the world so everyone would love wildlife like he did. He
built a hospital to help animals and he bought lots of land to give
animals a safe place to live. He took me and my brother and my mum with
him all the time. We filmed together, caught crocodiles together and
loved being in the bush together.
I don't want Daddy's passion
to ever end. I want to help endangered wildlife, just like he did. I
had the best Daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day.
When I see a crocodile I will always think of him. And I know that
Daddy made this zoo so everyone could come and learn to love all the
animals. Daddy made this place his whole life. Now it's our turn to
At our Board Meeting on August 28, we adopted a Resolution (.doc) opposing the widening of Bunker Hill Road north of I-10. The Resolution supports our Board's concern for the safety of our students, particularly those at Woodview Elementary who will be directly affected by the proposed project. In addition, many members of the community, including those who came and spoke at our meeting, have made it clear that they don't want the project to go through. Our unanimous adoption of the Resolution supports the community's efforts.
It was therefore with some surprise (and annoyance) that I read Council Member Lawrence's letter (.pdf) to our Board in which she takes issue with the Board's adoption of the Resolution. She says (among other things)
As an elected member of the Houston City Council, I spend 100% of my time and energy focusing on city related issues and am astounded, given the numerous tasks that your organization has before it, that this board finds enough time to weigh in on City of Houston matters.
Clearly the Council Member doesn't appreciate that widening a road in front of a school makes it more dangerous for children crossing the street. And frighteningly, she doesn't seem to understand why that might be of some concern to the Board.
I urge those of you who are concerned about this issue to read the letter (.pdf) and attend the Council Member's public meeting (.doc) on Bunker Hill Road on September 14.