Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
Friday, January 24, 2003
for Pecos Country of West Texas
P-B-T to hire third grade tutors for TAKS test
By ROSIE FLORES
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is taking steps to help district
students pass the new Texas Assessment of Knowledge Skills test, which
is replacing the TAAS exam.
Board members approved hiring part-time hourly employees from
a pool of retired or part-time teachers to help students in the lower
grade levels with their reading and to give them a better chance at passing
the new TAKS test, which is being designed to be tougher for
students to pass than the TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic
"We want to give the kids in the lower grade levels a chance
at passing this new test," said PBT-ISD Personnel Director Gome Olibas,
who presided over the special meeting the board held Thursday evening.
Olibas ran the meeting in place of P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don
Love, who is currently in the Reeves County Hospital undergoing tests.
"We want to give them a good chance to learn how to read
better and give them a better chance at passing the TAKS," said Olibas.
He added that the instructors would be hired with Tier III
funds. "We want to hire retired teachers and I've already made a call to
TRS (Teacher Retirement System)," said Olibas.
Olibas said that TRS had stated that the retired teachers could
work, but only for 18½ hours per week.
"We want to bring them into the classrooms to help the
regular teachers and still have the other students keep up with their
school work," said Olibas. This will be done during the school day, he added.
"We've did a mock TAKS and we know which students need
more attention," said Austin Elementary School Principal Cindy Duke.
Duke said that the other teacher would take the group out of
the classroom and help those that need it the most and let the teacher
continue with her regular studies.
"Won't the ones being pulled out fall behind?" asked board
member David Flores.
"No, because they will also receive the regular classroom
work and both teachers will work with them on that," said Duke.
"They're going to work it out so that nobody falls behind, but that they also
receive the extra help they need to pass the TAKS."
Olibas said that the money being used for this is free to the district
and will help reduce the classroom size load.
"Only certified professional staff will be hired to do this," said Olibas.
"These students are just being targeted to receive the extra help,
so that their needs will be met," said Duke.
"How many extra teachers are we looking at?" asked Flores.
"Right now we're looking at four and it can also be certified
teacher that isn't retired, but just taking some time off or is new to the district,"
"Do we have an hourly rate?" asked Flores.
"We go by their scale and their degree," said board president
"Some of these retired teachers have 28 years experience and
more," said Olibas.
Duke told the group that they were hoping to get as many teachers as
they could get to help the youngsters. "Or as many as we have the money
for," she said.
"These 18½ hours is just for the retired personnel. The other
certified teachers, if they apply for the positions, can work more hours,"
Right now the group is just targeting Austin Elementary
School, where the test will be administered to all third grade students.
The TAKS totally changed the format and expectations, according
to Duke. "They have to score a 55 percent, and we did okay, but if
it were to be a 70 percent, we wouldn't be doing so well," said Duke.
In other action, board members approved the request by
Reeves County Sheriff's Department Christmas for Kids Program to
use the Pecos High School new gym for volleyball tournament fundraisers
on Feb. 8 and March 15 and waive fees.
"Do they know for sure that there won't be any games on those
days," said Flores.
"Yes, Mr. Rodriguez checked the dates and the gym is available
on those days," said Olibas.
Board members also approved the 2001-2002 audit report presented
by Bob Card of Card and Company.
"We found the books and records to be in excellent condition,"
Council wants tighter rules on con ed program
By JON FULBRIGHT
Town of Pecos City Council members asked city attorney
Scott Johnson to prepare a more precise version of the city's policy on
funding employees' continuing education programs, following a discussion
at Thursday's council meeting at City Hall.
The continuing education policy was one of the topics covered by
the council in their hour-long meeting on Thursday. It was drawn up by
Johnson and Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena following the
council's approval in November of a new contract for Yerena, which
included partial funding of college courses that would allow Yerena to seek a
Masters Bachelor of Arts degree.
However, after reviewing the policy, council members
Frank Sanchez and Angelica Valenzuela had questions about how the
selection process would be handled under the plan, and what city employees
would be eligible for continuing education funding.
Yerena said the plan would allow for funding if approved by the
worker's supervisor. "If it's related to the
job and benefits the city, it would be worthwhile to the city," Yerena
said. He added that he would have final approval of any funds, but added,
"My approval is going to go on the recommendation of their supervisor."
However, Sanchez asked about how this would affect guards at
the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, who were seeking $1,300 to attend
the Odessa College Police Academy in order to get their law
"If it relates to their guard duty, then the city benefits," Yerena said.
But Johnson added, "I don't see it directly improving their jobs."
A few minutes later, Valenzuela asked, "If they want to go back
and get their police academy training, would that not benefit the city?"
"What guarantee do you have they're going to stay," asked Johnson.
"What guarantee do we have Carlos is going to stay,"
"He has a three-year contract," Johnson said.
"That's not going to be guaranteed," Valenzuela said.
Sanchez was the only council member to vote against Yerena's
new contract. Valenzuela was absent for the November meeting, but
in December, when the council reviewed the contract for her, Yerena said
it would take two to 2½ years to earn his Masters, depending on his
Aside from questions about who qualifies, Valenzuela said she
was worried that supervisors could play favorites with employees in
granting them permission to receive continuing education funds.
"I would suggest a committee to appeal any decision," said
Sanchez, while Valenzuela asked for more specifics in the policy.
"I agree with Angelica," said Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford,
and Johnson said in order to do so; he would need some more guidance
from council members.
"We've got to define `good employees.' What one
employee defines as a good employee another may not. We're just opening
ourselves up for a lawsuit," Valenzuela said.
City Finance Director George Berjarano added that a
provision should also be put in the policy
stating that the funding would be in the form of reimbursement
following completion of the course, in order to avoid having workers get
continuing education funds and then drop out of their classes.
Johnson said he would give council members copies of the
current proposal. "Look at it, think about it
and then call with suggestions," he said.
In other action Thursday, the council approved offers for
several property purchases. They accepted a bid of $2,000 for property at 602
S. Palm St., by Sergio Rodriguez; a bid of $600 by Jaime Salgado for
a property at 2212 S. Alamo St., along with bids of $2,500 and $1,000
by Salgado on two adjacent properties in the 2000 block of
Balmorhea Highway; a $500 bid by Agapito Rodriguez on a property at 122
N. Alamo St.; a $400 bid for property at 411 Sunset St., by Nolberto
Salinas; and a $250 bid by Orlando A. Gutierrez on property at 320 S. Walnut St.
The council also agreed to transfer property in the shopping center in
the 1800 block of South Eddy Street to Reeves County. The property
in question is a former health spa located towards the rear of the building
that Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez is seeking to use as a facility
for department employees.
"The sheriff talked to me about acquiring the old spa building. He
has funds to bring it up to date, and he's agreed to make it available to
(city) law enforcement officers," Yerena said.
"The state has given me $38,000 to get things like treadmills
and weights," Gomez said. "The reason why I chose this building is
because it's got showers and has got a sauna. It just needs to be brought up to date."
Johnson said $38,000 in back taxes is owed on the building, of which
the city's share is $8,000. Although Johnson said the action would take
the spa off the tax rolls, Yerena said, "Usually the offers that come in
(for the spa) are a lot less than that."
The council also approved a resolution on the Texas
Community Development Program grants that would Yerena, Stafford and
Bejarano the signatories on any grant request, while approving the accounts
payable, tax reports, juvenile and municipal court reports.
During those discussions, the council was told acquisition of
new police cars for the city was awaiting submission of a funding package to
the Houston Council of Governments.
"We could use them right now, no question," said Police Chief
Clay McKinney. Because of problems with some of the current units, he said
the department has been borrowing vehicles for use until the new
Municipal Court Judge Amanario Ramon also answered
council questions about possible community service work for teens found guilty
of violations. He said that while he could make parents attend school for
three days with their teens if they are repeat violators, he couldn't make them
pay fines for their children's violations.
Council member Michael Benavides said there were
several areas of the city that needed cleaning up. "There are lots the city owns
that the kids can work on," he said.
`Surprise treat' found inside dog food bag after drug raid
By ROSIE FLORES
There was more than dog food in a dog food bag at the home of a
Pecos man, local law enforcement officers discovered after they executed
a narcotics search warrant on Thursday.
Officers from the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County
Sheriff's Department and the 143rd
District Attorney's Office executed a narcotics search warrant at the
home of Gerardo Mendoza and family, at 812 E. Fifth St.
"Once the SWAT team had secured all the occupants inside the
resident, officers proceeded to search the premises," said Pecos
Police Investigator Paul Deishler.
He said that during the search of the southwest room of the
residence, a substance believed to be cocaine was found hidden inside the dog food.
Officers continued their search, but no other contraband was located
on the premises, according to Deishler.
Gerardo Mendoza was placed under arrest for the offense
of Possession of a Controlled Substance, (cocaine), four grams or more, but
less than 200 grams. The charge is a second degree felony Deishler said.
Mendoza is currently in the Pecos Criminal Justice Center
High Thursday 43. Low this morning 23. Forecast for
tonight: Decreasing cloudiness. Lows in the upper 20s. East winds 5 to 15
mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy and warmer. Highs in the mid 60s. Light
and variable winds shifting to the southeast 5 to 10 mph by afternoon.
Saturday night: Cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Sunday: Mostly sunny. Highs in
the upper 50s. Monday: Clear. Lows near 30. Highs in the mid 60s.
Head Start students to see MLK presentation
A special program on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is scheduled
for Monday at 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., at the Pecos Elementary School
Library, where the Pecos Head Start Program is currently located.
Everyone is invited to attend the presentation on the slain civil
rights leader, whose birthday anniversary was marked this past Monday.
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
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise