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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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March 6, 2013     Hays Free Press
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March 6, 2013
 

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "We expressed no direction or intervention to members how to vote. We want open and honest elections." -Patrick Cox, PEC Board Vice President on Page 4A Hays Free Press March 6, 2013 t's time to get out the wallets and the ham- mers. Friday is a workday east of Kyle, as an impromptu - well, almost impromptu - coalition of local residents will be working on the home of a local couple. Just a few weeks ago, when a windstorm was ripping down fences and uprooting trees, an elderly couple, Chuck Sherwood and Sherry Cryer, found that their roof was about to be blown off. They had no family lo- cally, they didn't necessar- ily want the help. But they knew they couldn't really get their place back in order as they had no insurance and no money. The Sherwoods had planned to stay overnight in their trailer, even as the temperature dropped. All it took for the com- munity to get involved was one photo placed on the Facebook page and website of the Hays Free Press. Residents came pouring in with offers of help, and one person, Noel Rodriguez, stepped up to the plate and organized the workday. Another local resident, Rick Rodriguez, contacted He- roes Night Out, which helps veterans in need. And so a workday has been organized. But, there is still need for monies to help on this project and others. Noel Rodriguez set up a do- nation acceptance through his church, Promised Land. (See story, page 1C) Please give. It is a worth- while project. But this giving also brings to mind all the other groups that help day in and day out. The Hays County Food Bank, for example, has been hit with requests for more and more food. As the Hays County population continues to expand, social services are being stretched. The food bank is just one organization in need of funds. Other organziations, local libraries in Kyle and Buda provide computers so that those without jobs can turn in applications. Even as the number of jobs are increas- ing, there are still many people out of work, or un- der-employed. The libraries are filling the gaps in getting people help during trying times. They need money to continue their efforts. Veterans programs help veterans, churches help members and non-members alike. So, as those of us with jobs think about spending the night in a cold trailer with a flapping roof, open the wallets to the organiza- tions trying to fill the gaps where governmental social services are lagging. It takes all of us, even if it is one workday at a time, to help each other out. Guidelines for Letters to the Editor We welcome locally written letters to the editor on timely topics of community interest, We ask that you keep them to about 350 words in length and that you not indulge in personal attacks on private individuals. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. All letters should be signed by the author and include a daytime phone number where the author can be contacted for verification. Letter writers are limited to one letter per month. Letters can be emailed to csb@ haysfreepress.com .................... OUP. RUIN. A ilOl l ,ii!ii!i!i!' to Friday, March 1, was the deadline for Congress and the White House to agree on how much to tax and how much to spend to avoid "seques- tration" - automatic across-the-board cuts to federal programs in the current federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and beyond. No agreement came. Now, budget reductions totaling $85 billion will come, resulting in fewer federal dollars meted out to the 50 states for education, social programs, environmental funds, civilian jobs linked to defense functions, and more. According to Texas' 10-member Legis- lative Budget Board, however, key safety- net programs are exempted from federal cuts, such as Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program, National School Lunch Program, and Temporary Assis- tance for Needy Families. Also, certain transportation programs are exempted, including those administered by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. The Airport Improvement Program is also exempted, the LBB said. On Feb. 25, E Scott McCown, execu- tive director of the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, said, "Se- questration will be extremely damag- ing to our economy and to American families." McCown listed possible effects in Texas resulting from sequestration, such as: Loss of $68 million in funding for primary and secondary education, put- ting around 930 teacher and aide jobs at risk. Loss of $51 million in funding for about 620 teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities. Around 4,720 fewer low income students would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 1,450 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college. CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for about 4,800 children. Loss of $8.5 million in environmen- tal funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. Some 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be fur- loughed, reducing gross pay by around $274.8 million in total. LAWMAKERS HERE MARCH ON Even with the prospect of no agree- ment in Washington, D.C., to avoid sequestration, the Texas Legislature pressed forward with its tasks in the weekdays leading up to March 1. On Feb. 27, the Senate Finance Committee tentatively approved SB 7, legislation funding education and health and human services. The House on Feb. 21 passed House Bill 10, a patch that funds Medicaid until Sept. 30 coupled with partial restoration of the $5 billion hit suffered by public education in 2011. The bill quickly moved through the Sen- ate Finance Committee, where it was substituted and passed. CSHB 10 is on the Intent Calendar, awaiting consider- ation by the full Senate. SB 7, by Senate Health and Human Services Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, redesigns the Medicaid long- term care system for individuals with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as Texans 60 and over, she said. "We cannot continue to fund the same inefficient, unsustainable Medic- aid system and expect a different result, especially given the significant increases in our populations of seniors and indi- viduals with developmental disabilities - who are living longer, healthier lives than ever before," Nelson said, adding, "SB 7 ensures that those currently being served continue to be served - but in a more efficient, coordinated manner. It also lays the groundwork to extend services to those currently waiting for them." MILITARY VOTE EFFORT STARTS Texas Secretary of State John Steen on Feb. 25 launched an initiative, The Boots and Ballots Tour, by the Elections Divi- sion in the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, to prepare and provide military voters with additional resources to regis- ter to vote and participate in local, state and federal elections. As part of the effort, military and overseas voters are also being reminded that the Federal Post Card Application they can fill out and return, permanently registers them to vote and serves as a ballot request for a calendar year so they do not have to request a ballot each time an election is held. There are two Uniform Election dates in Texas this year: May 11, 2013 and Nov. 5, 2013. "No one does more to protect our freedom and right to vote than the men and women of our armed services," Steen said. "So we must do everything we can to ensure they can participate in the very process they are serving and fighting to protect and defend." Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. edsteding@texaspmss.com "esse Hagopian is doing more than teaching history. He is answering his- tory's call. With Hagopian in the lead, most of the teachers at Seattle's Garfield High School have made recent history's most important statement about what drags down public education in 2013. They have refused to give the test. In this case it is MAP,, the Measure of Academic Progress. The teachers say it is time-consuming, costly and serves no true diagnostic purpose. Since Garfield teachers declared their boycott weeks ago, other Seattle teach- ers have joined the protest. The school district has threatened them with their jobs. Tellingly, however, it also has said it might re-examine the test. For all who value public education, let these teachers win their battle. As one who was educated in public schools, and whose children were as well, I cannot express sufficiently my impression that those who are most gung-ho about testing are least inter- ested in true quality public schools. To the contrary, they are most inter- ested in assailing those schools based on false comparisons, then promoting schemes like school vouchers and for- profit charters. In truth, and in their heart of hearts, these people don't buy into the whole concept of public education, and certainly not education in a classical, Jeffersonian sense. They want to treat schools like factories that dispense facts and spit out workers. It's all about keep- ing up with the smoke-belchers of China and Taiwan. Or maybe it's about stoking the burners of some of the most profitable factories on our shores: those dispens- ing standardized tests and curricula and test-prep materials. The test in question in Seattle is developed by the Northwest Evaluation Association. It uses interactive computer software to supposedly demonstrate student readiness. Seattle teachers don't get to see the results, but they are evalu- ated, in part, based on them. Administered in addition to Wash- ington's mandated state test, MAP is different from many state tests because it is low-stakes, at least for the students. Their grades are not affected by the results, and they often give half-hearted efforts, though teaching careers may hang on them. Beyond that matter, what is affected, say the teachers, is the "astounding" amount of instructional time lost - five hours per school year for each student. Ah, yes. Time. How often have we heard policymakers talk about the need for longer school days, or more of them? How about less time spent on tests and test prep? A Texas grade school teacher told me that she lost the equivalent of 16 in- structional days each year to state tests, locally mandated test-prep drills and benchmark tests. Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers did readers a service by focusing on the time and cost of the Florida Compre- hensive Assessment Test - FCAT. It reported on how school districts spend untold time and thousands of dollars on benchmark tests, called "test- ing of the test" - students as guinea pigs to see if the state's demands are or can be met by overtaxed teachers. On top of $62 million spent by Florida are unfund- ed demands school districts assume to administer FCAT. Dollars and instructional times lost: None dare call it waste. The sad thing is that so many citizens salute this toilet-paper banner under the guise of "achievement" and "excel- lence." The fact is that no standardized test meant for everyone of every imagin- able learning level can deliver on such pretenses. Is that so hard to understand? The teachers of Garfield High under- stand. They understand that what they are trying hard to achieve -- true educa- tion - is being filleted with a long sword on the altar of standardization. So, horrors, instead of playing along, they have said, "We will remain at our posts and teach." What say, America? Off with their heads? Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. jyoungcolumn@gmail.com COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE Of course this doesn't help with the self-pay or ATM's, but I write SEE ID on the back of my credit card. The sad thing is, vendors only ask 10% of the time. -MGD on "Scammed: Credit card fraud rising in Buda" You bet aft of Buda goes to Hays. Just a little digging will reveal the sleaze that took place when those attendance lines were drawn and locations of campuses established. Trustees of today are aware of the situation, but to date have made no effort to rectify what happened. Just a clue: Nothing sells like aft-white real estate. If l recall correctly the Hays Free Press did an insightful story on at least one school board meeting and comments made by certain since disgraced trustees. We suffer from those decisions, many years ago... - Bonn Brooks on "Lehman and Hays girls soccer team ties 1-1" Yes! Thats great news/ Now when will they start building across the street? We need more shops and restaurants something besides mexican food. - Note on "ACC campus construction going strong on Kohler's Crossing" MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy Slovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Cyndy Slovak-Barton csb@haysfreepress.com Sports Reporter Moses Leos III Features & Education Editor Kim Hilsenbeck kim@haysfreepress.com Staff Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Halle Clint ounts Will Durst John Young Danny Tyree Proofreaders Jane Kirkham OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com Dioni Gomez ads@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Melinda Helt Distribution Gigi Hayes Pete Sizemore Contact Us: news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfreepress.com 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640 i