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February 13, 2013     Hays Free Press
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February 13, 2013
 

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Hays Free Press February 13, 2013 OPINION Page 5A Texas' current school fi-A nance system fails to pro- vide substantially equal CAPITAL access to revenues needed to provide "a general diffusion of knowledge" in accordance with the state constitution, a Travis County state district court declared on Feb. 4. Judge John K. Dietz ruled in the lawsuit brought by nearly 700 school districts (as Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education), three individual school districts, a group ofin- tervenors and a charter school coalition. Named as defen- dants in the lawsuit are the commissioner of education, the state comptroller of public accounts and the state board of education. Major among complaints against the officials was inadequate state funding to augment local property tax levies. School districts forced to tax at the cap of $1.17 on the $100 valuation, in essence, have been asked to do too much with too little, therefore losing "meaningful discretion" in setting their tax rates, Dietz wrote. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst reacted, saying he expects an immediate appeal of the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. Last session of the Texas Legislature, in 2011, lawmakers voted to cut education funding by about $5.5 billion, part of an across-the-board effort to reduce state agency spending to compensate for a budget shortfall then calculated to be between $10 billion and $24 billion. Today, however, the current estimate by the comptroller indicates a multi- billion-dollar budget surplus. Educators hope to recoup billions in funding lost to those cuts made two years ago. Complaints about school funding formulas repeatedly have been addressed in high- profile cases by state courts since the mid-1980s. Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education's published goal "is not asking the court to legislate a solution to this problem, but rather to force the Legislature to do their job in creating a constitutional public school system." CANCER AGENCY QUESTIONED Texas in November 2007 responded to a call by the governor to create an entity that would focus on finding cures and preventive measures for cancer. It was then that vot- ers approved a constitutional amendment to establish a state agency, the Cancer Pre- vention and Research Institute of Texas, and allowed the is- suance of $3 billion in general obligation bonds over 10 years to fund it. Last year, questions arose over the cancer agency's man- agement and where the money was going. Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus on Dec. 19 sent a letter to the agency, call- ing for it to address "concerns that have been raised about its processes and operations before any future grants are awarded." Cancer agency officials testified in a daylong hearing before the House Appropria- tions Committee on Feb. 6, an- swering questions about grant management, property leases, executive salaries, and more. PERRY TAKES CALIFORNIA TRIP Gov. Perry traveled to San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Orange Cotmty on a three-day mission to meet with high tech, biotechnolog~ financial, insurance and film industry leaders. In a pre-trip "California regulates... Texas innovates" marketing blitz, Perry invited California businesses to relo- cate in the Lone Star State. Perry's office said TexasOne, an economic development corporation based in Austin, is paying for the trip and no tax dollars would be used for the governor's travel or accommo- dations. ACCREDITATION MUST WAIT Education Commissioner Michael L. Williams an- nounced Feb. 7 the Texas Edu- cation Agency will not assign its normal annual accredita- tion statuses to the more than 1,200 independent school districts and charter schools for the 2012-2013 school year. "Because student perfor- mance is a key indicator in the state accreditation system, and because that data is not available due to the transi- tion (to the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) account- ability system), the Agency will suspend the assignment of accreditation statuses until the 2013-2014 school year," Williams said. SENATE SEAT VOTE IS SET Gov. Perry by proclamation' on Feb. 8 set Saturday, March 2 - Texas Independence Day- as the special nmoff election i)i i i i;! i ; !iil i:!i ii:il !iiiiiiiiii!i~iii~i!~i~iiiii! il iilil date for the Texas Senate Dist. 6 seat held by the Hon. Mario Gallegos Jr., who died Oct. 16. Gallegos, though deceased, still won 71 percent of the vote to Republican challenger R.W. Bray's 29 percent in the Nov. 6 general election. Included among eight can- didates in the race to serve out the term ending in 2016 are Bray and standing state Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsterling@texaspress.com "hope all you young 'uns out there are having a nice Valentine's Day. I'm sure lots of flowers, candy and kisses will be exchanged, but I suspect this Hallmark holi- day is celebrated by dating couples and a few married folks who still have a slice of their wedding cake in their freezer. I can't recall the last time Maw and I really celebrated Valentine's Day, but I suspect Reagan was still in office. I reckotl if Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday night, I might be a bit more romantic, but when it falls on a work day, all the romance I want after a lO-hour day is Maw offer- ing to take my shoes off and hand me a cold beer. Lots of folks get engaged on Valentine's Day. I don't recall what day I proposed to Maw, but I do recall there was a lot of beer and a loaded shotgun. Just kidding! There was no shotgun. But shortly after that proposal, wedding planning began and I don't recall having much say in anything except picking my groomsmen. Everything else, from choosing invitations to selecting the wedding cake, was planned by Maw and my future Maw-in-law. All I had to do was to keep my family sober and get them to the church. Speaking of wedding plan- ning, have y'all heard of this new trend in sending out invitations? Not only do the dearly proposed mail out invitations to the people they want attending their wed- ding, but some folks are also sending notices to people they don't want. You know how some guys will show up uninvited, and the newly- weds just think their in-laws must've invited that dude in mismatched socks dipping his flask into the punch bowl. Well, by mailing or emailing out a "Not Invited" card to certain individuals, a couple can be assured a definite mOMTHE number of people will be attending their wedding and the ensuing reception. It's all about finances. It's not meant to be a way of snubbing certain friends or co-workers, but I'd hate to run into some- one on the "Not Invited" list after returning from the honeymoon. Gotta be a bit awkward, huh? So, how does someone come up with a list of folks not to invite to their wed- ding? You have to invite all family members, no mat- ter how goofy Uncle Claude might be. Hopefully, the re- ally disgusting future in-laws are on house-arrest or can't remember where they parked the car. You have to invite your boss, but you don't have to invite everyone else in the office. Send a "Not Invited" card to the boss and guess what your wedding gift from him will be. A pink slip[ Adding certain individu- als to the "Not Invited" is a no-brainer, like your previ- ous girlfriend or that fella you met in jail who claimed you two shared a cosmic connec- tion. Yeah, put these two folks on the "Not Invited" list for sure. But deciding who else you don't want to see at your wedding could be trouble- some. Fortunately for you, I had a few minutes (and a few beers) to ponder on this sub- ject, and I have come up with a helpful list of individuals to add to your "Not Invite" list: 1. The Maryland man who was recently fired from job with the Social Security Administration for excessive flatulence. This is one guy you don't want at your wed- ding reception. While you and your bride are cutting the cake, he'd be cutting the cheese. 2. The couple on the Go- Daddy Super Bowl commer- cial. Yuck! 3. Your neighbor, the crazy cat lady who has poor eye- sight and smells a lot like a skunk. 4. That fat guy at work who eats all the donuts in the break room before you get a chance to have one. 5. Charlie Sheen and/or Lindsay Lohan, especially if you have an open bar. 6. Your buddy at the firing range who is still distraught over being stood up at the altar last June. 7. Joe Biden. Enough said. 8. The co-worker who recently informed you about his mysterious and apparent- ly infectious fungal infection. 9. Randy Travis, unless you want a drunk, naked, washed-up country crooner at your wedding. Just seat him at the table with Chariie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. 10. Any woman other than your bride whose name is tattooed on your buttocks. Personally, I think sending out "Not Invited" emails is a bit rude, but I can under- stand how people want to have a memorable wed- ding and reception without worrying if certain unsavory individuals might make an appearance. Heck, I wasn't worried a bit about my old friends crashing our wedding back in 1980. Even if they could've found that church in the mountains of North Carolina, there were enough folks there with shotguns to run them off. HappyValen- tine's Day, MawI Maw skipped town to get a rest from Clint's hilarity. He's hoping she returns by Valen- tine's Day, if only so he can give her a bottle of beer and a welcoming "sit-yerself" down pat next to him on the couch. crowsnest78610@yahoo,com NOTICE OF SPECIAL ELECTION AVISO DE ELECCION ESPECIAL To the Registered Voters of the City of Buda, Texas: A los Votantes Registrados en la Ciudad de Buda, Texas. Notice is hereby given that the polling place listed below will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., on March 9, 2013, for voting in a Special Election to elect a Councilmember for Place 2. Notificamos, por medio de la presente, que las casillas electorales sitadas abajo se abrirfin desde las 7:00 AM hasta las 7:00 PM el 9 de marzo de 2013 para vo- tar en la Elecci6n Especial para elegir a un Concejal para el Lugar 2. LOCATION OF POLLING PLACE: LUGAR DE LOS CENTROS DE VOTACION City of Buda City Hall, 121 Main Street, Buda, Tx 78610 Early voting by personal appearance will be conducted at the Main Early Voting Polling Location at the Buda City Hail, Buda, Texas beginning on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 and ending on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Voting will be con- ducted on weekdays from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM from February 20, 2013 through March 5,2013. Additionally, voting by personal appearance will be conducted at the Main Early Voting Polling Location on Monday, February 25,2013 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Monday, March 4, 2013 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. La votaci6n adelantada en persona se llevar i a cabo en la principal ubicaci6n de votaci6n temprana en la Buda City Hall, Buda, Texas, el Mi6rcoles, 20 de febrero 2013 y termina el Martes, 5 de marzo 2013. La votaci6n se llevar i a cabo de lunes a viernes 08:00 AM-5:00 PM desde 20 de febrero 2013 al 5 de marzo de 2013. Adem is, el voto en persona se llevar i a cabo en la principal ubicaci6n de votaci6n tempra a el Lunes, 25 de febrero 2013 7 a.m.-7:00 pm y el lunes, 4 de marzo 2013 7 a.m.-7:00 pm Applications for ballot by mail shall be mailed to the Hays County Elections Administrator, 712 South Stagecoach Trail, San Marcos, Tx 78666. Las solicitudes para boletas de votaci6n en ausencia por correo deber in envi- arse al Administrador de Elecciones del Condado de Hays, 712 South Stage- coach Trail, San Marcos, Tx 78666. Issued this the 6th day of February, 2013. Publicado este dfa 6 de febrero de 2013. Danny S. Batts II City Secretary / Secretario de la Ciudad I : Online bill pay is a quick way to view and pay your monthly bill. You'll save time I: and postage and your account will be immediately updated. Registering your account online also lets you track your energy use, view your payment history or request a variety of services. For step-by-step instructions to register your PEC account online, go to www.pec.coop/register >> POWER OF COMMUNITY PEDERNALES ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE