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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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March 6, 2003     Hays Free Press
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March 6, 2003
 

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- hge 2 me Current Events March 6, 2003 Teacher retires after allegations of test violations BY CYNDY SLOVAK-]2grON Associate Publisher _YS CISD---A Kyle ementmT School teacher is #king early t, effective at .the end of this school year, after .alleged testing security violations ,on last week's Texas Assessment , of Knowledge and Skills test. Fourth graders throughout the _chool district were given the TAKS test on Thursday. The test bad been scheduled for Tuesday, -but the ice storm and closure of : school dehyed the testing day. , A district investigation found _testing security violations by only ..one teacher. The investigation found that 13 of 14 students said the teacher helped and coached them during the test. The investigation was brought on by a parent who reported to Dr. Steven Ehell, Hays CISD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, that her child had been coached by the teacher dur- ing the test. The district conducted an investgation that involved inter- viewing students and the teacher, and concluded that violations had occurre The teacher denies giving any student answers on the test, according to Julie Crimmins, Hays CISD Public Information Officer. Crimmins said the teacher in ques- tion admits to telling students to re- mad sections, sound out words and look back over their work. Monitors on the statewide test are not allowed to give any coach- ing whatsoever, and all monitoring teachers sign an oath acknowledg- ing that they understand the testing information is confidential, according to Texas Education Agency spokesperson Suzaune Middlebrook. The Hays CISD investigation and result has been forwarded to the TEA by telephone and by let- ter, according Crimmins. The letter stated that there is "no reason to believe this problem extends beyond this one teacher and this one testing group" Middlebrook said Wednesday that her agency had been notified by Hays CISD via telephone and that the written report was expect- ed shortly in the investigator's office. While sanctions against a teacher can vary, Middlebrook said the strongest sanctions against a teacher can be the suspension of the teaching certificate. Such actions would be taken by the State Board for Education Certification. However, at this point, TEA would still pursue sancations against this teacher, despite the fact that the teacher is retiring. Middlebrook said that, despite the teacher's retirement, the teacher later could decide to go back to teaching, and that sanctions need to be in place should the teacher decide to again pursue her career. Middlebrook said that school districts are required to r any testing irregularities. If the district does not report to TEA on these matters, the district caa be found in violation of testing rules. Depending on the details reported by Hays CISD, TEA will investigate the situation. Whether the followup is just a phone call with the teacher and students involved, or whether TEA makes on on-site investigation depends on the details provided by the school district. Middlebrook said as soon as TEA receives the written report r from Hays CISD, the agency will conduct its own investigation. They will not necessarily close the case, Middlebrook said, but will wait until the test results are released'in May to decide on final action. Because there is no account- ability associated with the TAKS tests this year, then any investiga- tion at the school district would probably he taken on a case-by- case basis. This is the first year for TAKS testing. Middlebrook said such actions by the teacher might affect only that one school or that one class, rather than the entire dis- trict. Hays CISD and the State Below is a comparison between the Hays ISD and the state averages for school dis- tncts, showing the percentage of budget spent on various categories for the 2001-2002 school year, the last for which comparable data is available, according to the Texas Education Agency's Academic Excellence Indicator System. Category Instruction Instructional Related Services Instructional Leadership School Leadership Support Services - Student Student Transportation Food Services Cocurricular/Extracurricular Activities Central Administration Plant Maintenance and Operations Security & Monitoring Services Data Processing Services Other (Includes Debt Service) Total Budgeted Expenditures State average Hays ClSD 51.0 43.4 2.7 2.5 1.2 0.5 5.2 4.3 4.0 4.0 2.6 5.4 4.8 4.4 2.2 1.8 3.5 3.4 10.1 9.7 0.6 0.1 1.1 0.1 10.8 20.4 100.0% 100.0% Karens Kitchen & Katerinit 106 Hwy 81 North in Kyle (Pac-N-Sac building) Open 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Mon-Fri 7:00 am - 10:00 pm(512)268-5372 Now accepting mz  .:00ity, county offictals concerned i00bout Big Sky Ranch standards BY BRENT STRONG cerns, presentations initiated by Carter %- Staff Writer , AN MARCOS-Hays County :kPct. 2 Commissioner Susie :ia , ,!: # Tuesday =-. any seen m recent commls- :,tuners court proceedings. Her =iggest concern Came in the form =f a 1,541-lot subdivision called :ig Sky Ranch, which barely :misses going into Kyle's Extra :rerdtorial Jurisdiction. 7.: The reason her red flags went p is because the property in estion did not meet the county's :mbdivision regulations. She was- '*l]'t the only government official =$0ncemed about the develop- -inent. Both the city manager of yle, Tom Mattis, and Buda City :dministrator Bob Mathis attend- .ed the meeting to voice their con- :00lays Performance Review, 'This type of growth, if not have been made by the Barton controlled, will compromise what Springs/Edwards Aquifer we've done to try and create our Conservation District vision of our city," Mathis said. (BS/EACD) among other experts "If you're looking for a tomplate onwater quality and preservation. for a subdivision ordince , this is Aside from subdivision regu- not it." This is the second appearance in commissioners court for Big Sky Ranch. Several weeks ago, debate about the ranch ended with Carter asking for the developer to come forward with the informa- tion on water and wastewater solutions for such a large proper- ty. Carter took issue with every subdivision item on the agenda, all the while trying to illuslrate the need for developers to provide all information pertaining to their properties to the court. Recent from page 1 lations, the hot topic was meant to he a workshop to review and re- examine the salary survey, includ- ing qualifications and education requirements for county employ- ees. The county-wide raises came under some heat recently from citizens concerned that the raises were coming at the wrong time because of the economic down- turn. The court tabled the item, however, due to the absence of Pct. 4 Commissioner Bill Bumett, who was on the committee that created the salary survey. Visit me at my new o[./k'e at 251 N. FM 1626, Bldg. 2, Suite C, in Buda !(rawford said. "She does about .[) of these a year. They came =eat early in the fall to schedule owlth us. We're looking forward :to their coming?' :-*" Laura Hennessee; a : spokesperson for the comptrol- :ler's office, said I0 districts are :selected for review every fall, with another I0 selectedin the spring. She indicated that the :comptroller's office probably has been planning to audit the Hays CISD for some time. ,, "We get tons of requests for reviews," Heunessee said. "We prioritize the greatest need at the : moment?' - The TSPR is a comprehen- :sive review of a school system aimed at making recommenda- tions to put as many dollars as ,=possible into the classroom. In addition to making recommen- ,dations for savings outside the classroom, the TSPR collects '"best practices" it finds in every  district. " "I believe we have a bunch of those" Folmar said. "I think we're going to get some pats on the back. I'm sure we'll get t'. .-ome other findings, too. You .;-bn't have a review like this .2ithout those. But if they can nd ways for us to save money, t11 take it?' 2 Hays CISD officials added .at a number of factors could ome out in favor of the district ,. the course of aa audit. :,, For example, the school dis- 'Mct's fund balance increasexl to $3 million in 2002 from $1.2 million in 1999 and school offi- cials say it was well less than $1 million in 1998. In addition, some discrepan- cies in statistics indicate that the Hays CISD's performance at spending in the classroom may be better than the comptroller's office indicates. While the comptroller's office said the dis- trict spent only 43.4 percent of every operating dollar in the classroom in 2001-02, the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) says the district spent 53.9 percent of its operat- ing budget in the classroom for the same year. The Comptroller and AEIS both put the state average at 51 percent. Furthermore, said Folmar, a couple peculiarities in the dis- trict's bookkeeping come into play. For example, the district placed $200,000 worth of tech- nology teachers under a budget function for technology in 2001- 02. Folmar those teachers should have been counted under the instruction function and that the matter has been rectified for the current year. Also, the district purchased $700,000 worth of school buses this year, paying cash. Most dis- tricts finance their buses, Folmar said. Because the money bud- geted for buses goes under the transportation function, that function is increased, meaning America can depend on Farmers' DEBBIE THAMES Agent Thames Insurance Agency is now serving your area. I would like to serve all of your insurance needs: AUTO * HOME * LIFE * BOAT * TAX DEFERRED ANNUITIES * IRA's Come by our new office at: 251 N. 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