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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Friday, August 9, 2002

School board OKs budget, plans to maintain tax rate

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, August 9, 2002 -- The new budget and proposed tax rate for the new school year was approved during the regular meeting of the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting.

The group met at 6 p.m., Thursday evening to discuss several items, including the budget and proposed tax rate, which the board voted to tentatively maintain at its current level.

P-B-T ISD Finance Director Cookie Canon presented the budget to the board, which had already been discussed during workshop held in recent weeks.

"This won't be exact, but it will be pretty close," said Canon, who had worked out a 2002-2003 tentative budget with Superintendent Don Love that showed a $7,000 surplus.

"So we are still $7,000 in the black?," asked board member Paul Deishler.

"We're actually $17,000 in the black," said Canon.

During a special meeting held on July 18, Love told board members that that the elimination of two assistant principals would put the District $7,306 in the black when total revenues and expenditures were taken into account.

Personnel Director Gome Olibas had talked to Victor Tarin, new principal for Crockett Middle School, who assured him that he could handle seventh and eighth graders without an assistant. The other assistant principal position that was eliminated was at Austin Elementary School first through third grades.

Love told the board that the main responsibilities of an assistant principal is discipline and textbooks. If it is later found that the position is needed to be re-established, they could be put in just prior to mid-term.

Board members also approved a date for a public meeting to discuss and hear public comment on 2002-2003 budget and proposed tax rate. The date has been set for Aug. 29 and the public notice is published in today's Pecos Enterprise.

"To bring in same amount of money per child it would take a tax rate of $2.11," said Love. "The tax rate is currently $1.50."

The difference is due to the loss of students in the district and the loss of state aid due to increased mineral valuations for P-B-T ISD a year ago. The changes cost the district over $2.5 million in state funding, but the loss of money already had been taken into account by school officials when drawing up the new budget.

The extra money received last year mostly went into paying for repairs for the district's seven campuses.

Along with the budget, board members approved the 2002 Certified Appraisal Roll during last evening's meeting and with the anticipated collection rate.

The Appraisal Roll comes from the Reeves County Tax Appraisal District and showed a gross of $248 million in real estate; and $345 million in mineral, with net taxable on real estate set at $114 and on mineral at $345 million. Combined total gross was set at $593 million and net taxable at $460 million.

"This shows an overall decrease of $48 million from last year," said P-B-T ISD Tax Assessor Collector Lydia Prieto.

"The estimated collection rate for the current year is 95 percent," said Prieto. "I anticipate at 98-100 percent collection rate of tax revenue needed for this new school year," she said.

This includes current taxes, delinquent taxes, penalty and interest, according to Prieto.

"Lydia does a great job for this district and we're very happy with the work she does," said Love.

P-B-T campus repair projects nearly finished

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, August 9, 2002 -- School campuses will have a new look by the time Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD students start the new school year in 10 days, according to a project report on the renovations being done at the various sites.

"We're winding down a long summer," said architect Monte Hunter, with Hunter Corral Associates. "They're in good shape, we've started doing walk-throughs and punch lists."

P-B-T ISD campuses have undergone a number of renovations since late last year, using extra funds the district received in 2001 due to a sharp rise in mineral valuations compaired with 2000's valuation numbers. The money was a one-time windfall, and was offset this year by a cut in state funding.

At Austin Elementary School, electrical outlet/data raceway installed and completing wiring. Most of fire alarm system installed but still need to hook up and install main control panel. Roofing replacement substantially complete and it appears the project will be substantially completed on time, according to Hunter.

Bessie Haynes Elementary, the abatement contractor needs to re-install speakers and lights, and repair finish at tops of classrooms wall. "Ninety percent of electrical raceways and fire alarm has been installed," said Hunter. "Air conditioning units are installed and in process of connecting roof top air condition units," he said.

The roof repair at that school has been completed and the project is substantially completed.

The fire alarm system at Crockett Middle School is 90 percent complete. Gym air conditioning units and ducts are installed. About 95 percent of electrical raceway and fire alarms have been installed. "They still need to install window in-fills around new ductwork," said Hunter.

At Pecos High School, the replacement ceiling and air conditioning units have been installed and the A/C units are being connected. Electrical raceways, lighting and windows are almost completely installed, painting is in progress, lockers are installed and carpet has been installed in most areas of the 52-year-old school.

"We began punching rooms on Aug. 6," said Hunter.

About 95 percent of the work is complete at the Pecos Kindergarten. "Everything is coming together great and I think it will be completed by the time the kids come in," said Hunter. "They're doing a real good job," he said.

In other action Thursday, the board reviewed the 2002 District Accountability Data Tables, based on the recent reports by the Texas Education Agency.

Pecos High School was named a Recognized campus; Crockett Middle School, Acceptable; Zavala Middle School, Recognized; Austin Elementary School, Recognized and Bessie Haynes Elementary School was named an Exemplary Campus. The ratings were based on TAAS results and other factors, such as dropout rates, during the 2001-2002 school year.

"The district was named as acceptable, we need 80 percent or more at all campuses to be recognized," said Love. "I think they did an outstanding job and we're very proud."

Board members approved bus routes for the new school year and tabled a request to name the new Technology Center after a recently retired P-B-T school employee.

The Pecos Downtown Lions Club had made the request to name the new center after Larry Sloan, who most recently held the position of Technology Director for the district.

Board president Billie Sadler requested permission to speak on the item and told board members that she felt that this would set a precedent, and others would want to name other buildings after individuals that they knew.

"This is just my opinion, but I think a committee should be formed to look into this," said Sadler. "They could establish some form on naming buildings after people, instead of bringing it to us."

Love said that he agreed with Sadler. "I think she has a point," he said. "Larry did a super job for the district while he was here, we worked side by side for four years and he is a very dedicated, intelligent individual who gives his all.

"He lived for Career and Technology and did an outstanding job for the community and the district," said Love. "I just don't think this is a Lion's Club or Rotary Club decision to make."

Love said he had visited with TASB about the issue and had three sample policies for naming buildings, that the district could follow.

"We have a committee that will be meeting soon and they could be asked to look into this," said Love. "There's no policy out there right now."

"When we do local policies, we do what's best for the district, if it's a state policy, then it's the law," said Love. "I think our people can come up with some sort of policy."

Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez said that forming a committee and letting them decide and then bring it to the board was a good idea. "I've had a few individuals come up to me and request that we name the new gym after someone," said Rodriguez.

Elementary and middle school handbooks were approved during the regular meeting. The books will be handed out to all the students on the first day of school.

KPEJ says work underway to restore station's signal

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, August 9, 2002 -- Dallas Cowboy fans in Pecos may have to wait until almost game time to find out if they will be able to watch tonight's preseason opener versus the Oakland Raiders.

The game, which is scheduled be broadcast on KPEJ (Cable Ch. 8) at 8 p.m. tonight, may have local fans a little bit upset due to the poor reception the station has been providing in the Pecos area recently.

KPEJ's signal has not been coming in very clear for the past week. Viewers can only get a white snowy image and a buzzing noise on the audio, making it impossible to view any show, much less a football game.

According to the receptionist for KPEJ in Odessa, Sandra Cabarobio, the station has been working on repairing the problem.

"The chief engineer has been working on the problem for the past two days," she said.

According to Cabarobio they do not have many problems out in this area. She just said that sometimes things just break.

"Things just break down," Cabarobio said. "It's just like a computer."

Pecos residents might disagree with Cabarobio's statement, since signal problems have been a common complaint since the station went on the air in the area seven years ago.

KPEJ broadcasts in the Midland-Odessa area on Ch. 24, but the signal it beams from an antenna north of Midland International Airport cannot reach the area because the city is at a lower elevation. As a result it transmits a signal for Pecos further west, to an antenna on 6,500-foot Gomez Peak, which then broadcasts that signal over UHF Ch. 20 to the Pecos, Balmorhea and Van Horn areas.

Bad weather caused the signal to fail often over between 1995 and 2001, when the UHF translator station was on UHF Ch. 18. It was taken off last June when Univision began broadcasting in Midland-Odessa over Ch. 18 (seen in Pecos on Cable Ch. 38). Pecos cable customers then received Fox via a satellite link for the next five months, but that station failed to carry most of last fall's Cowboy games.

In November, KPEJ began sending their signal to Pecos via a microwave relay, the same method ABC affiliate KMID uses to get its signal into Pecos. However, the microwave relay option is far more expensive, and only served Classic Cable customers in Pecos.

When KPEJ received permission earlier this year to resume broadcasting from Gomez Peak on Ch. 20, the microwave signal was terminated.

Though they have been getting complaints since Monday, Cabarobio is hopeful that they will have made the necessary repairs by game time tonight.

"Hopefully it will be repaired before the game tonight," Cabarobio said.

KPEJ was not the only station that has had problems out in this area providing a clear image during the past week. KMID has also been having problem with their microwave signal, which is relayed to Pecos from a transmission tower near Notrees.

White screen images have been causing KMID's signal to fade out in recent days, due to problems with the microwave signal which began after severe thunderstorms passed through the Notrees area last week.

The station, which hosts Monday Night Football, has been fixed and is ready for its second Monday Night Football game against San Francisco and Denver scheduled for August 19.

However, Cowboy fans won't have to worry about KMID's signal this year. Dallas is not scheduled to play on Monday Night Football in 2002, with all 16 of their regular season games either on KPEJ, KOSA (Ch. 7) or on ESPN's Sunday night cable telecast.

Registration Monday for 6th grade students

PECOS, Friday, August 9, 2002 -- Parents whose child will be attending the 6th grade this year can register them on Monday in the Zavala Elementary cafeteria from 6 p.m. till 8 p.m.

 Fall athletics scheduled Tuesday for Crockett girls

PECOS, Friday, August 9, 2002 -- All seventh and eighth grade girls planning to participate in fall athletics need to bring their physical forms, pick up work out clothes and fill out athletic paperwork from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday at the Crockett Middle School gym.

A short parent/athlete meeting will be held at this time.

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