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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

School board approves new budget, tax rate

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 27, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members approved a new budget for the 2003-04 school year, and a tax rate that remains the same as in recent years on Tuesday, during a special board meeting at the school's Technology Center.

Board members also approved bringing a program on the effects of drinking and driving to Pecos High School in October, and also voted to accept the terms of settlement to resolve a dispute between the district and Jimmy and Michelle Galindo, following an executive session, but did not release details on the terms of the settlement.

The board took no action on a resignation request by Pecos High School assistant principal John Fabela, after discussion during the closed portion of the meeting.

A public meeting was held to discuss the 2003-04 budget and proposed tax rate, which was set at $1.50, which in unchanged from recent years.

"This is to allow the public to say anything about the budget or ask questions," said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love.

The budget, which is projected at just under $15 million for the 2003-04 school year, was approved as presented, along with the proposed tax rate of $1.50. The new budget is down from the $15.7 million budget for the 2002-03 school year, while a designated fund balance for 2003-04 was also approved, in the amount of $3.2 million.

"This doesn't mean that this money will be used exactly for this or that it is already spent," said Love. "It means it's been designated for these particular purposes."

Money set aside for the Pecos High School Roofing was in the amount of $225,000; Bessie Haynes Roofing, $300,000; Kindergarten air conditioning, $336,000; Zavala Gym air conditioning, $100,000; four school buses, $260,000; four vans, $100,000; food service software/training, $55,000; time card technology, $93,000; textbook coding, $15,000 and TEA 02-03 TEA payback, $1.7 million.

"We have to go ahead and approve all this, and if we need to start replacing roofs, those funds will be available," said Love.

Love said that the school was in good financial shape and that they would still have a good year after paying this.

"Even after the renovations, the new air conditioners and softball field, we'll still be alright," he said. Work is currently underway on the new field, which is being built at a cost of $300,000.

"What's the enrollment count at this time?" said board member Paul Deishler.

"It's at 2,309," said Love.

Love said that the school district was short 11 kids of what they had planned for. "We set this budget on 2,320 and we need about 11 more kids," said Love. "We'll break even with 2,205, but need a little bit more," he said.

Love told the group that P-B-T ISD had received a "superior" rating financially.

"This is the highest rating a district can get," said Love. "Our financial manager is doing an excellent job, along with Lydia (tax assessor-collector), we have a great team."

"This is a very good budget and for this year, we'll be in excellent shape," said Love. "When the smoke clears, we'll be alright and we do good in the next year as well," he said.

The group met behind closed doors for a consultation with the board's attorney regarding Docket No. 330-SE-0603, Jimmy and Michelle Galindo vs. Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD. The Galindo's had filed for a due process hearing before the Texas Education Agency in connection with an incident involving their son at Austin Elementary last year.

In open session a motion was made to accept settlement of Docket No. 330-SE-0603 under the terms discussed in closed session. The district declined to release the terms of the settlement, and the Enterprise has filed a request for that information under the Texas Open Records Act.

The board also discussed the resignation of Pecos High School Assistant Principal John Fabela behind closed doors, but no action was taken. Fabela has served as PHS assistant principal for the past two years.

In other action, a program entitled, "Shattered Dreams" was approved for presentation at the high school on Friday, Oct. 17.

John Deering with Tobacco, Alcohol and Beverage Commission was on hand to talk to board members about the program, which was presented in Pecos about two years ago.

"This program addresses the problem of underage alcohol drinking," said Deering.

Since May of last year, there have been seven young people killed in Odessa, which were all alcohol-related incidents, according to Deering.

"We want to address the issue of underage drinking and show them the consequences of what it can do," said Deering.

Fire personnel will be on hand to help with the program, along with other law enforcement agencies and the local hospital.

"It will show alternatives and the dire consequences, drinking and driving can have," said Deering.

"One person will portray the Living Dead and the purpose of the program is to show at the end of the day the numbers to these kids," he said. "We want them to learn from this, so they won't make the wrong decision."

The cost is very minimal and is at no cost to the school, according to Deering.

The program is designated for driving-age kids and other programs will be presented during the year to elementary school children. "This program is for high school only, but we have other programs for the younger kids," he said.

Susie Saenz was instrumental in helping last year and said that it was an excellent program that had been well received.

"We had a lot of participation from the community," said Saenz. "The kids really liked it, they learned a lot and afterwards we had a retreat, which they really enjoyed," she said.

"Did you receive any feedback from the kids themselves?" said board member Steve Valenzuela.

"Yes, I did, I received very good feedback," said Saenz.

"We will also counselors on hand, for those students who have suffered through something like this," said Deering. "We have never had a problem, but we'll have trained personnel on hand to deal with the emotional side of it as well."

Council to discuss county's water payment delay

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 27, 2003 -- Town of Pecos City Council will discuss the delayed water bill payment by Reeves County, during their regular meeting on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The council will also hear two presentations; one on the Rodeo Hall of Fame proposed for the former Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot and the second one will be made by the Pecos Economic Development Corporation.

Reeves County Commissioners voted in Monday's Commissioners Court meeting to delay their payment of $422,320, which is designed to go towards construction of the city's new South Worsham water field.

According to the Water Distribution and Sewer Collection and Treatment Service Contract the county is scheduled to make the payment by or before August 30th.

The county is seeking to delay the payments due to cash flow problems connected to the construction of the Reeves County Detention Center III, and the failure of the county currently to find enough inmates to fill the facility's 960 beds.

Commissioners opted on Monday to spend available money on payments for current and past construction at the prison, while holding off payment to the city on its water bill. The county uses water from the city system at the 2,960-bed RCDC complex.

"I've been talking to the mayor (Dot Stafford) before this meeting and the payment to the city is actually not due until November," Galindo said during Monday's meeting. "That would allow us a little more time to make that payment."

Texas Tech University architectural students presented design proposals for the Rodeo Hall of Fame earlier this month. Plans for the Hall of Fame have been in the works for the past several years while waiting both funding and the deeding of control of the railroad depot to the city from its most recent owner, Union Pacific Railroad.

Other items on the agenda to be discussed will be the resolution for the closure of the alley between Fourth and Hackberry, the windows at the utility department, amending the budget for the landfill and the 2003 planning calendar.

The minutes from the regular council meeting of August 14, the accounts payable report, the municipal court report and the monthly tax collection report will all be presented to the council for approval.

Amendment vote ballot applications available

PECOS, Wed., Aug. 27, 2003 -- Applications for ballots by mail for the Constitutional Amendment Election are being accepted until Sept. 5.

Deadline to accept an application will be 5 p.m., Sept. 5.

To request an application, call Dianne O. Florez, Reeves County Clerk, at 445-5467.


PECOS, Wed., Aug. 27, 2003 -- High Tuesday 95. Low this morning 73. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of mainly evening thunderstorms. Lows near 70. Light and variable winds. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 90s. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 70s. Friday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 90s. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 70s. Highs in the lower 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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