Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, August 18, 2000
TEA recognizes three P-B-T campuses
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, August 18, 2000 - Three Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD campuses received
a "recognized" rating from the Texas Education Association's ratings for
the state's school districts, which were released on Thursday.
Crockett Middle School eighth grade, Lamar Middle School sixth grade
and Bessie Haynes Elementary School received a recognized rating while
all the other campuses received an acceptable rating.
P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love was busy this morning passing out
accountability ratings to all the schools and visiting with the principals
of the respective campuses.
"They did an outstanding job," said Love. "There are some areas that
we need to work on, but otherwise we're very pleased with how we did."
Love stated that the district had a principals meeting to work things
out and talk about the trouble areas.
"We do need some work done at third grade and the high school, but they're
doing real good," said Love. "They're already working on the problems and
doing a lot better."
Love stated that math scores were up, the reading scores a little bit
lower, but that the principals are already working on targeting the problem
areas. "We're really pleased with our employees, they're doing an excellent
job and it's tough, but we can improve ourselves," he said.
Balmorhea ISD and its only campus received acceptable ratings from the
TEA. Area school districts receiving overall recognized ratings were the
Alpine, Andrews, Buena Vista, Crane, Culberson County-Allamoore, Greenwood,
Iraan-Sheffield, Monahans-Wickett-Pyote, Valentine and Wink-Loving ISDs.
The only area school district to receive an exemplary rating was Terrell
County ISD (Sanderson).
No area school districts received a low performing rating. Area low-performing
schools were Odessa and Permian high schools in the Ector County ISD, Goliad
Elementary in the Big Spring ISD, Kermit Junior High School in the Kermit
ISD and De Zavala Elementary in the Midland ISD.
In other school business, Love stated that the resignation of school
board member Frank "Kokie" Apolinar, Jr. might be on the next school board
Apolinar turned in his resignation recently and his resignation will
be discussed and action taken during the next board meeting. "He did an
excellent job for us, we'll certainly miss him, but he did a great job
for us," said Love.
"I think he really cares for the kids and he certainly did his best
for them and the staff," he added.
Enrollment down for first week of year
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, August 18, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District
enrollment is down from the fourth day enrollments from last year.
Secretary to the Superintendent Jo Alligood said classes began earlier
than previous years and usually enrollment does not pick up until after
"We always have kids that hold out till Labor Day," Alligood said.
Although enrollment is down by 69 students from last year, the district
does expect to have enough students to receive its planned level of state
Superintendent Don Love stated the dropout rate is lower, but the amount
of students attending school is still lower than he anticipated. "I'd like
to see more kids in here," said Love.
After Labor Day late students tend to drift in, and Love stated that
he certainly hopes that is what will happen this year as well. "The number
goes up after Labor Day and that's what we're hoping will happen," he said.
Love said in a recent school board meeting that the district is planning
for state aid totaling $9.83 million for the upcoming year. The amount
of funding the district receives however is based on an estimated district
enrollment of 2,687.591 students.
Certain state funds also depend on the number of students in the special
education, career and technology and gifted and talented programs, Love
As of yesterday, enrollment in the district is 2,770 students, compared
with 2839 a year ago. When separated out by age, enrollment in not down
in all grade levels.
The pre-kindergarten classes have 14 more students than the same time
last year and the second grade classes are up by 30 students.
Sixth grade enrollment is up by four students while tenth grade enrollment
is up by three students.
The senior class at Pecos High School is up by 35 students as opposed
to last year's enrollment, while freshman enrollment is down by 31. Overall
high school enrollment is 823 students, which includes alternative education
students at Carver Center. That number is up three from last year.
Decreases are reported at Austin Elementary first grade, Pecos Elementary
third grade, Bessie Haynes Elementary fourth and fifth grades and Crockett
Middle School seventh and eighth grades.
Alligood said after today the schools would not be taking anymore enrollment
until the day after Labor Day.
District closer to computer network goals
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, August 18, 2000 - The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School
District has grown to meet the technological needs of the world.
The district's technology coordinator, Jodi Exum, said P-B-T has been
working on a long-range technical plan since the early 90s to build up
a technology system. Exum and her staff have been working to achieve the
goals since started her job six years ago.
"For the last five years we've concentrated on networking the district,"
Exum said most of the district's schools are networked.
"We are about 95 percent finished with the networking," she said adding
that her staff would be adding the PHS New Gym and Field House to the network
Classrooms, libraries and offices all over the district are included
in the network with the Lamar Alternative Center office in the process
of completion into the network.
All campuses have Internet access and the computers with Internet access
also contain a content filter that allows the district to screen out inappropriate
"That has helped us keep things educational minded," Exum said.
Exum and her staff are also in the process of finishing a district web
page, where eventually teachers would post lesson plans and have e-mail
for parents to contact them with questions.
Exum said she is currently waiting to hear if the school district has
received a grant for $300,000 so she could order new computers to replace
older ones. The money would also go towards buying more printers as well
as other equipment.
"The grant money would go to mostly multimedia presentation equipment,"
In fact, all of the technology equipment purchased by the district has
been with various sources of funding. Exum said local and state money has
been used as well as numerous grants the district has applied for and more
recently federal government money.
P-B-T has purchased a lot of equipment by using these different sources
and Exum wants to assure the community that they are not just going out
and spending a lot of money.
"We're pulling our pennies," she said.
By doing so over the years, the district has purchased 1,600 computers,
650 printers, 21 servers and an interactive video conferencing system that
was free to the district through a grant.
Exum said by having so much equipment available to the students there
has been advancements in allowing more students use the equipment. Years
ago only a few select students where able to use the computers and software
but all that is changing.
"We gear toward equal access to the technology," Exum said.
Exum also said the district is very fortunate to have so much technology
within the district. She told of two men from New Jersey coming to Pecos
to work on the district computers saying they were amazed at the number
of computers in each school.
"They couldn't believe that we had so many computers," she said.
The men told her that up north most schools only had one computer lab.
PHS alone has at least one computer in most of the classrooms. Exum said
only 20 classrooms at PHS do not have a computer but hopes to bring that
number to 100 percent with computers by the end of this year.
Eventually, Exum hopes to have enough computers in the district to allow
for one computer for every three students and one computer for every member
of the professional staff.
Exum explains what each grade level is able to use the computer equipment
Pecos Kindergarten and Austin Elementary first grade will soon be able
to purchase new software called the Waterford Early Reading Program where
the student would be able to work on their reading skills. This program
would replace the program Writing to Read program the district has used
for the past 10 years, making it more effective for the students.
"It's especially effective for the bilingual and ESL (English as a second
language) students," Exum said.
Second through sixth grade students are able to go to the computer lab
every day for a computer assisted instruction class to work on different
areas of learning.
Every student in seventh grade spends one semester in a keyboarding
class where they learn how to type and use the computer as well as get
In eighth grade every student is enrolled in a computer application/career
connection class where they learn different software such as power point
presentations and how to navigate the Internet.
The high school offers many classes using computers ranging from keyboarding
to business computer information systems I and II and computer science
classes as well as business imaging management and multimedia. Core classes
such as English, math and science also use computer labs as part of the
curriculum. Agriculture and art classes also use computers.
Exum is also in charge of the Eagle TV (Cable Ch. 11) where announcements
and sports schedules are displayed for the public. She said she and her
staff are working on eventually displaying students' power point projects
as well as taped projects or events for families and friends to see.
Exum said the district was able to add all the technology equipment
through the long-range technological plan that a committee made up of members
from each campus works to update each year.
She believes that this plan has made all the changes possible.
"I think the key is planning and support from the administration," Exum
said. "The only way we've been able to do all this is we've had a very
supportive administration and board for the past six years."
Exum said "our door is always open" to visits from the public and if
anyone has any questions or school related information to be posted on
channel 11 call 447-7227.
Task Force aids in Amarillo drug bust
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, August 18, 2000 - The Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force took part in
a two-month investigation in which six individuals in the Texas Panhandle
were detained and several were booked into the Potter County Jail on drug
charges, following a two-month investigation that the Trans Pecos Drug
Task Force helped with.
The Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force, working with
the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, of Pecos, wrapped up the investigation,
which involved the delivery of nearly $60,000 in cocaine.
"During that investigation, six individuals were detained and several
others were arrested," said task force commander Gary Richards. "The names
are not being released at this time, though."
The individuals that were arrested were charged with conspiracy to deliver
4.4 pounds of cocaine.
Other arrests are expected, according to Richards.
Other assisting departments in the arrest of the suspects were the Amarillo
Police Department Swat Team, Pampa Police Department, Borger Police Department,
Swisher County Sheriff's Office, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The individuals were taken into custody after they delivered 944.44
grams of cocaine to undercover officers, said Richards.
Street value of the drugs would be approximately $59,449.
Charges will be presented to the Potter County District Attorney's Office
in Amarillo later today.
State blocks power cut-off during summer heat
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, August 18, 2000 - Texas-New Mexico Power Company is working with
their customers during the summer months to continue to provide service
to customers who have problems keeping their electric bill payments up
Effective immediately and continuing through September, Texas' electric
utilities are prohibited from disconnecting service to residential customers
for non-payment if the customer has agreed to a deferred payment plan for
past due amounts.
The rule adopted by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) requires electric
utilities to contact delinquent customers and offer them deferred payment
"Basically, if it's a heat advisory day, which all of them seem to be
this summer, we try to work with our customers in paying their bills,"
said Valerie Smith, Director of Communications for TNMP in Fort Worth.
"We follow the rules set by the PUC, because we realize that the summers
can be hard on customers," said Smith.
Customers choosing not to enter into a deferred plan are subject to
disconnection. The rule does not apply to municipal utilities and electric
cooperatives, which are not subject to PUC regulation.
Residential disconnections are prohibited from now until Sept. 30. The
Commission adopted the rule to keep customers from facing health risks
by not cooling their homes because of high electricity costs.
"One thing about this PUC rule, is that we strongly encourage customers
to come in and make arrangements," said Smith.
During the heat wave in 1998, a lot of customers did not make any payment
arrangements until it was too late and they were still trying to pay off
huge bills during the Christmas holidays, according to Smith.
The persistent heat this summer threatens Texans' health and safety.
The Texas Department of Health reports that 53 people have died in the
state this year as of Aug. 8 from heat-related causes.
All plans must allow for past due amounts to be paid in equal installments
for up to six billing cycles at the customer's request. However, a 12-month
level payment plan to recover past and current amounts can be used if both
the utility and customer agree.
The emergency rule strengthens current law which prohibit an electric
utility from disconnecting service to any customer for at least two days
after the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for any county
in the utility's service area.
Many utilities already offer programs such as partial payment, time
extensions and balanced billing to avoid disconnection. In addition many
utilities provide programs to help low-income and elderly customers pay
their bills. Texas will receive $14.3 million in Low-Income Energy Assistance
Program (LIHEAP) federal emergency funds. The funds will be available through
community-based organizations and local provider networks.
"We're really very flexible and willing to work with our customers,"
said Smith. "We realize there's a heat wave and want to help and certainly
not hurt any of our customers."
Customers may call 1-877-399-8939 toll free for a referral to a local
Deadline today for youth grid registrations
PECOS, August 18, 2000 - Today is the final day to sign up players in Grades
3 through 6 for the Pecos Eagles' Pee Wee football league.
Parents can sign up their children at the old Pecos High School gym.
Registration fee is $20 per player. Teams will be divided into Grades 3-4
and Grades 5-6 and are scheduled to begin play on Saturday, Sept. 9. Teams
will be announced following the player draft, scheduled for tomorrow.
Also on Saturday, the Pecos Eagle Booster Club will be selling hamburgers
and sodas during the high school varsity and JV scrimmages against Carlsbad
as a fundraiser. Play will begin with Pecos and Carlsbad's varsity squads
at 10:30 a.m., and the scrimmages should last until about 2 p.m.
Services are incomplete for Charles Sullivan, 60, who died Thursday, Aug.
17, 2000, at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, August 18, 2000 - High Thursday 99. Low this morning 68. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 65-70. South wind 5-15 mph. Saturday: Partly
cloudy. High near 103. South wind 5-15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy.
Low 65-70. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Low 65-70. Highs in the upper 90s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise