Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, December 18, 2000
PHS teachers say schedule should stay
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, December 18, 2000 - The future of block scheduling at Pecos High
School is still in the hand of the district's administrators, the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
school board said Thursday. But both they and the administrators got an
earful from teachers opposed to returning to a more traditional schedule,
during the board's regular monthly meeting.
A full house attended the meeting to hear three Pecos High School teachers
list the reasons for objecting to a proposed return to the more traditional
seven-period schedule the high school eliminated in 1994.
Reading from a prepared statement, PHS teacher Jamie Crisp outlined
the types of schedules the district has used for the past 45 years, and
the disputes between P-B-T administration and the teachers over schedules
during the past few years.
Crisp complained that Superintendent Don Love "had not met with the
high school faculty or parents and students to discuss scheduling as of
the Dec. 4 CIC (Campus Improvement Committee) meeting, yet he told community
members that there was going to be a change. Mr. (assistant superintendent
Gome) Olibas has told faculty members from other campuses that a change
to a traditional schedule is a certainty for next year."
Crisp said a return to the old schedule would affect a number of courses
and activities at PHS, including advance placement classes, honors classes,
concurrent classes through Odessa College, and the PEP parenting program,
tech-prep classes and extracurricular activities. PHS teacher Jeanine Ivy
the read off the results of a survey, which showed 44 of 47 teachers, 546
of 565 students and 361 of 371 parents responding to the survey were in
favor of maintaining the current modified block scheduling.
Board member David Flores had questions about the way the survey was
handled. "How can we sent parents a survey on why we should keep the schedule
against others when you sent them nothing to compare it with?" he asked.
"We thought since most of you went (to school) under a traditional schedule
you would understand," said PHS teacher Joan Capshaw.
The block schedule combines extended 90-minute classes, which meet only
certain days of the week with shorter 45-minute periods, which meet daily
in the first and final periods. There are a total of eight periods per
day, compared with six in the traditional schedule the district is looking
at returning to next year.
Love and other school administrators have said a return to the traditional
schedule was needed at the high school to help improve test scores, with
English II and geometry singled out as problem areas later in the meeting.
The teachers said overall there was no problem with scores under the
current block scheduling plan. PHS teacher Barbara Scown passed out a list
of TAAS test results for the district from earlier this year, and said,
"In most all areas the 2000 scores were higher than the 1999 test scores.
Even though in some areas this is a small increment, it still shows improvement.
"This increment may change from as little as .08 percent in students
passing all areas to as much as 24.2 percent in Hispanic students passing
Algebra I end of course. In fact, our math scores are one of the highest
in the region," she said, adding that the district's most serious test
score drops were connected with past changes in schedules.
PHS principal Danny Rodriguez said he talked with the CIC on Dec. 4
and discussed their complaints, and told the board they had looked at the
possibility of splitting Second Period into two 45-minute sections, in
order to allow more daily class time for the subjects that were considered
problem areas for PHS students.
"I don't think I've had maybe a night's sleep," Rodriguez said. "I hope
this schedule brings us to work on the TAAS scores. We have an excellent
faculty and I believe they can do the job."
Board member Brent Shaw said he had looked at studies posted on the
Texas Education Association's website on the effects of block scheduling
on high school students.
"The summary of the report is how effectively students and teachers
engage in the learning process is more important than class time," Shaw
said. "For some subjects, it would be nice to have kids in class everyday.
"If we can have two classes a day meet every day it may be possible
to have the best of both worlds," he said.
"The chair feels that the consensus of the board is this is an administration
matter," said board president Louis Matta. "We've resisted politicizing
this," he said, explaining why the board had directed the matter back to
Love and Rodriguez.
"We want it worked out so as many people win as possible," Matta added.
Both he and teachers had complaints relating to the dispute over the
block schedules. Matta said rumors that the modified schedule would result
in classes with 50 students apiece were wrong, while teachers complained
that a document circulated by Olibas on the use of conference period time
by PHS faculty was defamatory.
"The Pecos High School faculty strongly objects to the compilation of
distribution of this chart," teacher Priss McNutt said.
Crisp said Love had complained two years ago to the CIC that high school
teachers were not teaching as much as elementary school teachers, which
was not fair. McNutt said Olibas' chart on teacher class time failed to
take into account the other non-class time activities related to school
events that the high school teachers took part in.
"We do not take lightly the defamation of our professional reputations,"
"I don't think his intent was malicious. He wasn't intending to deceive
anyone," Matta said about Olibas later in the meeting.
Olibas was out of town for most of Thursday, after his daughter's car
hit a deer near Andrews. He returned for the final few minutes of the school
board meeting, about 90 minutes after the discussion over block scheduling
ended and the majority of the audience departed.
Friday gasoline tank rupture forces Balmorhea evacuation
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, December 18, 2000 - Employees and customers at Juan Carrasco's
Mercantile in Balmorhea, along with residents in nearby homes, were evacuated
Friday afternoon due to a gasoline spill from an above ground tank.
Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Gonzalez said the spill occurred
at about 2:47 p.m., on Friday outside the store, about a half mile east
of Balmorhea on Highway 17.
Gonzalez said one of the tanks ruptured spilling about 2,500 gallons
of gasoline onto the ground.
"We're not sure what happened," he said. "We don't know if it was poor
maintenance on the tanks or just old tanks."
Gonzalez said Reeves County Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil
was also called to the scene and vehicles were ordered not to operate in
the area to avoid any sparks that could ignite the pool of gasoline.
All traffic going in and out of Balmorhea was detoured off of Highway
17 on the east side of town. Through traffic was routed along FM 2903 in
Balmorhea to Interstate 10 while evacuation of the immediate surrounding
The Texas Department of Transportation was also called in to lay sand
on the spilled gas.
"We had it under control within a couple of hours," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said he is continuing an investigation on the spill.
One injured in accident on Saturday
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, December 18, 2000 - The Pecos Police Department along with Pecos
Emergency Medical Service and Volunteer Fire Department personnel were
called to the scene of a two-vehicle accident at Pecan and A streets Saturday
The accident occurred at 10:52 p.m., on Saturday when a 1979 Pontiac
Bonniville driven by Raymond Rayos, 52 hit a 1999 Ford 2-door driven by
Police Investigator Kelly Davis said Rayos was traveling west on A Street
alongside the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, while Carrasco was traveling
south on Pecan and when the crash occurred.
He said Rayos hit Carrasco on the left side of her vehicle as the Ford
entered the intersection. The car was spun around and came to rest facing
northeast on the northeast corner of the intersection.
Fire personnel and the Jaws of Life were called to the scene to help
free the driver's side door on the car to remove Carrasco from the vehicle.
Ambulance personnel then transported her to Reeves County Hospital with
minor injuries while Rayos was uninjured.
TxDOT moves Odessa Region licensing office
PECOS, December 18, 2000 - The Texas Department of Transportation's regional
licensing office in Odessa has moved to a new location, at 3901 E. Highway
80, from its former site at Central Drive off Eighth Street.
The office will be open daily beginning today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The new phone number is 915-498-4674 and the new fax number is 915-498-4673.
The move does not affect vehicle registering and titling in the 15-county
Odessa area, which will still be handled by each county's tax assessor-collector's
office. It does affect persons seeking certified copies of original titles,
appointed registration for motor carriers, permits and assigned numbers.
The office also issues exempt license plated to counties, school districts
and state offices.
PECOS, December 18, 2000 - High Sunday 73. Low this morning 43. Cloudy.
Forecast for tonight: Clear. Low around 20. West wind 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday:
Sunny. High near 55. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Partly
cloudy. Low around 20. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High near 65.
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