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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
March 23, 2011     Hays Free Press
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March 23, 2011

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MARCH 23, 2011 + IMPACT Trio leaves its mark on Lobe boys soccer program. - Page 1B Special advocates assist children in tough transitions. -PagelC "r" o~ Barton Publications, Inc. p.. Vol. 108 * No. 49 Serving Buda, Kyle and Northeast Hays County 75 HCISD makes BY JENNIFER BIUNDO Coming down to the wire of the March 25 deadline to an- nounce layoffs for contract po- sitions, Hays CISD Trustees are preparing to make a final deci- sion Thursday of which employ- ees will be axed in anticipation of state hmding reductions. "Nobody is happy with any of this, and that's the honest to god truth," said Hays CISD Superin- tendent Ieremy Lyon. "No one is happy with any of these cuts." With Texas facing a $27 bil- lion shortfall over the next bien- nium, school disa-icts across the state are turning to increasingly desperate measures to balance their own budgets in light of an- ticipated funding cuts. By some estimates, up to lO0,O00 Texas school district employees could lose their jobs in the next two years. Initial proposals suggested that the rapidly-growing Hays district could lose as much as $24 million in state funding. The most recent budget floating around the Senate m_ggests that ~ys ~m expect a $9 million re- ction in 2011 and an $11 mil- lion cut in 2012. "This is th~ most reasonable and moderate of the state bud- get proposals that we have seen," Lyon said. "This latest budget proposal definitely negatively impacts our school district, but the wheels won't fall off." The current Hays CISD pro- posal would trim $7.7 million from the district's $120 million operating budget, largely by eliminating more than 100 jobs. The district hopes that most of those employees could be re- hired due to staff turnover and a rising student population. The district created a portal for teachers and commtmity members to submit their own ideas for cost savings, many of which were incorporated into a second round of proposed cuts. Lyon praised the community for providing a flood of input. "I think that the community is very supportive and recog- nizes the position that we're in and is contributing their good ideas," Lyon said. "The threat to the quality of public educa- tion in our community and in Texas is much more acutely recognized right now. We're all See BAYS CISD LAYOFFS, pg. 4A Activists questioning the county's debt load have advocated, among other things, stopping construction on a new government building market. Their proposal to stop road funding this year would cost the county millions in a defaulted contract with the state, officials say. in San Marcos PHOTO BY BRAD ROLUNS and putting the shell on the BY BRAD ROLLINS is so unbearable to average citizens, the In Hays County Commissioners Court way to what we told people could possi- group argues, that the county should halt on Tuesda~ officials seemed both irritat- blyhappen and yet we are within budget ali spending pmjects such as the planned edandarnusedatBrannon'sPowerPoint and on time," said Pet. 3 Commissioner widening of FM 1626 in the Buda area mishmash of fact and fiction. W'fll Conley, who noted that the county Hays County property taxes have in- and the FM 2001 realignment and ira- When voters approved $30 million must build the roads in its 2011 pass- creased a fraction of the rate approved provement work in Kyie. At a meetLng in in parks bonds in 2007 and up to $207 through package to receive as much as by voters in bond elections in 2007 and Buda on Monc~, activist Sam Brannon million in road bonds in 2008, they ac- $130 million reimbursement from the 2008, elected offidals said Tuesday at a suggested that officials might stop ongo- cepted a tax rate increase of six or seven Texas Department of Transportation. workshop called to air doomsday fore- ingconstmctionofanewcountygovem- centstopayforthecapitalimpmvement More than a dozen residents, includ- casts being shopped around the county, ment buildingin San M~ and sell the projects. So far, the county has imple- ing Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson and Buda A group calling itself the Hays county unfinished shell to the highest bidder, mented a l.42 cent rate increase to bring city and economic development officials, Citzens' Budget Project is ringing alarm "If we chose projects over people, it the total to the current rate of 46.92 cents urged commissioners to continue the bells over what it says is an tmsnstainable won't serve anyone in Hays County," per $100 in pmperty. amountofdebt.Theresul~-lgtaxburden Bmnnonsaid- "We are not even 12 percent of the See BUDGET WATCHDOGS, pg. 4A STAFFANDWIRE RB RrS "There are people that we've talked to who are The Hindu leader who disap- devoted followers of his and they will sacrifice peared on the eve of his sentencing tionshearingis thought for child toSeX be hiding abuse in convic- Mex- criminalcharges andprosecution to h@ hisflight. ico, offidals say. Prakashanand Saraswati, 82, did -U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez not show up to court qn March 7, three days after a Hays County jury serve his sen- ter Spiegel after Prakashanand was foundhim guiltyof20 charges of sex- tence, Gomez arrested in 2008. ual indecency with a child. Authori- told the States- The fate of a $10 million personal ties believe he crossed into Mexico man. recognizance bond, also secured by by Nuevo Laredo and is hiding in P r a k a - Spiegel in 2008, will ultimately be either Nuevo Laredo or Monterre~ s h a n a n d' s decided in the court system through U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez told the s u p p o r t e r s, litigation, Tibbe said. Forfeited bond AustinAmerican-Statesman. m e a n w h il e, money goes to the county's general "There are people that we've talk- say they are fund, she said. ed to who are devoted followers of unconvinced In the punishment hearing, Spie- his and they will sacrifice criminal that he fled at gel, who has amassed a fortune charges and prosecution to help his all, suggesting in part by selling ionic air purifi- flight. Another challenge for us is that he may S/gl~WATI ers, health supplements and other the financial support that his follow- have become products via television and telemar- ers are providing him," Gomez told the victim of vigilante justice, keting, testified that he didn't know the newspaper. "The fact that he has not been dis- that he'd be financially responsible After Prakashanand went miss- covered makes it ~.,eryworrisome for for the hefty bonds. ing, he was sentenced in absentia to me. My worst fear is that someone Spiegel, a devotee of Swamiji for 280 years in prison, 14 years for each took the law into their own hands, about 25 years, said that he was of the convictions. District Judge I,m just scared that somebody has rushed into signing the $.10 million Charles Ramsay has not decided kidnapped or injured him," Bashist bond in 2008, and was confused whether the sentences will run con- M. Sharma, his lead attomey, told about what the document con- currently or consecutively, the Hays Free Press. tained. Marshals want to nab Hays County District Attomey "I wasn't prepared," he testified. "I Prakashanand before he attempts to Sherri Tibbe, meanwhile, said her thou.ght I was testifying in my confi- return to his native country of India office has begun the process ofbond denceofSwamiji.Ireallydon'tknow where authorities might not grant forfeiture for the $1 million cash technically and legally of my situa- extradition to the United States to bond posted bywealthy devotee Pe- tion now." 4 BY SEAN KIMMONS A pregnant 18-year-old Kyte resident died fol- lowing a car wreck along Interstate 35 between New Braunfels and San Marcos on Friday eve- ning, authorities say. Inez I. Benavidez, a sophomore at Live Oak Academy, was pronounced dead early Monday morning at University Hospital in San Antonio. Another pregnant passenger, Apolonia Cruz, 20, of Kyie, was transported with serious in- juries to Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos. Her condition could not be confirmed on Tuesday. Benavidez and Cruz were riding in a 1998 Cadillac sedan headed northbound near Wat- son Lane in New Braunfels when the driver, Joe Salazar, 23, of Buda, pulled over to the in- side shoulder of the interstate with a flat tire. The Cadillac then attempted to merge back into traffic in an unsafe manner and was struck from behind by a 2011 Chevy Tahoe around 5:30 p.m., a Department of Public Safety official said. Salazar suffered no injuries in the crash. All passengers in the Cadillac were wearing seat- belts, the official said. The driver of the Tahoe, Melinda Heming, 28, of Belton, was in stable condition and transport- ed to University Hospital. IWo passengers in her vehide, David Jackson, 61, and Norma Jackson, 57, also from Belton, were taken to a New Braun- fels hospital in fair condition, the official said. As of Tuesday afternoon, funeral arrange- ments for Benavidez were pending at Harrell Funeral Home in Kyle. ~m 'Miss Firecracker The Lehman High School theater depart- ment will present a production about love and laughter and a rag-tag group of friends, beginning at 7 p.m. Spflng Bass Fishing Tourney Anglers try their luck in this annual benefit hosted by Kyle Parks and Rec beginning 6:30 a.m. at Lake Kyle. Lake Kyie Groundbreaking The groundbraaking for Kyle's new nature trails, wildlife and wildflower areas will kick off with a noon ceremony Green Living Showcase A showcase introducting green products and tips on green building, energy effiancy, water conservation, recycling, commuting solutions, altemative energy ideas and earth- friendly products will begin at 10 a.m. Suites in San Mamos. Wii Dance-Off and Dance Hosted by Project Graduation, with teams of 4 competing for prizea. Hays High School cefeteda. NEED FOR SPEED Racing's a family affair for some. - Page 1D Ig I Opinions ..................... 3A Sports ........................ I&2B Educ.~ion ................... 3&4B Community .................... 1&2C Obituaries .......................... 2C Calendar. .......................... 4C Service Directory ......... 2&3D Classifieds ..................... 2D Public Notices ............. 2&4D +