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Thursday, November 21, 1996

Facts are released on Ward hospital's money questions

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By Steve Patterson of the News
A meeting between the Ward County Commissioners Court, the Ward Memorial
Hospital Board and the hospital's administration was held Friday to
discuss the commissioners' concern with the finances of the institution.

In a fast-paced two hour meeting, Administrator Bill O'Brien and Chief
Financial Officer Jesse Saucedo were at times grilled, complimented and
cajoled by both the county officials and the public in the
standing-room-only crowd. Several members of the medical staff were also
in attendance.

Although the meeting covered a wide variety of topics, the main issue
which seemed to surface repeatedly was the difference the accounting
methods used by the county and those used by Saucedo's office.

Several people apparently were confused by the fact that the hospital -
as of last week - was $300,000 behind on its bills, yet reported having
$2.7 million out in accounts receivable.

One particularly aggressive voice at the meeting, soon-to-be-out
district Attorney John Stickles, tried unsuccessfully to suppress a
guffaw when Administration O'Brien tried to explain that the hospital
was experiencing a cash flow problem.

Stickles was outspoken in pointing out that while the hospital may be
reporting it has $2.7 million in accounts receivable, that Saucedo was
using accrual basis accounting as opposed to cash basis. Accrual basis
is a method of accounting in which expenses that recognizes income when
earned and expenses when incurred, regardless of when cash is received
or disbursed.

Hospital Board Chairman Rocky Reeves, himself a CPA, told Stickles that
the accrual basis is a commonly accepted accounting practice, especially
in the hospital industry.

"But it's not money in the bank," Stickles insisted.


In response to a question, CFO Saucedo said that the hospital currently
has a 67 percent collection rate and that he was confident that the
institution would be able to continue - operate at that rate. He said
the hospital industry standards for collections ranged from 40 to 70

O'Brien and Saucedo also tried to explain how hospital collections and
why it takes so long to process bills. several people at the meeting
commented that they had never been hilled for hospital services or had
not received a bill for 120 days.

The turn-around time for bills submitted to insurers can take from 30 to
60 days, Saucedo said. Then if the insurer - for whatever reason -
decides not to cover the entire cost, the hospital must notify the
patient of the charge. Thus, the long time lag between hospital visits
and bills.


Judge Sam Massey, who was driving force in calling for the meeting,
called for a timetable from the administration in bringing its billing
system up to snuff.

O'Brien said he thought the system could be improved by March,
especially with the introduction of a few computer system. Judge Massey
was successful in extracting several commitments from the hospital, such
as assurances he administration would:

Find ways to streamline the payments and collections systems. Several
suppliers have cut the hospital staff and many bills are 90 days
overdue. By Tuesday evening, however, O'Brien said that collections
received by the hospital would allow it to pay many of its outstanding

Install a purchase order system for its employees. Such a system will
allow the hospital and the county better oversight of the hospital

Strive for better communications between Saucedo's office, the hospital
board and county officials, including the treasurer and auditor.

In return, the county commissioners said they would take the necessary
action to approve the funds necessary to allow the hospital to get a
grip on its finances.

Just how much the county will have to pony-up was still not determined
by press time Wednesday. Administrator O'Brien estimated Tuesday evening
that the hospital needs to be in the neighborhood of 150,000, a figure
far less than the almost $500,000 estimated by County Auditor Barbara
Walsh at Friday's meeting, but a good deal more than Saucedo's estimate
of $30,000.

Both Judge Massey and Administrator O'Brien expressed their satisfaction
with outcome of Friday's meeting. Both said they felt as though doors of
communication had been opened and that hospital will be a better
institution because of the

Charles Walker, Monahans Director of Economic Development announced
Wednesday evening that he received a call from the Texas Public
Utilities Commission about preliminary results of the recent balloting
here for Expanded Local Calling.

Apparently Monahans phone customers only wanted access to Odessa, which
received a 78 percent margin.

"Basically, what this means," said, Walker, "is that everyone will be
paying that extra $3.50 per month, but they will only gain Odessa."

Under the proposal, Monahans phone customers were given the option of
gaining local calling access to Ft. Stockton, Kermit, Grandfalls, Pecos
and Terminal.

"Why on earth people only voted for Odessa and not the others, I have no
idea," said an exasperated Walker, adding, "It would have cost consumers
no more to vote for all five."

There had been opposition voiced within Monahans from sectors which felt
ELC would take business out of town.

The Monahans News will print the entire election results as they become

Ward County Pecan Perfection

on Monday and Tuesday

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Ward County's annual festival and celebration of all things pecan is
Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 at First State Bank in Monahans,
according to information from the festival's sponsors and Andy Stewart,
the Ward County Agent.

The Pecan competitions include the Pecan itself, a craft division
focused on the lordly pecan and the food division (pecan cakes, cookies,
pies, candies, breads and miscellaneous, a section limited only by the
creativity of the pecan chef.

Craft and food entries must be brought to First State Bank no later than
9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Entries in the pecan division must be at the bank no later than noon on
Monday, Nov. For:

Donors include:

Ace Hardware/Asbury Refrigeration, Brantley Trucking Inc., Derrick Real
Estate, First National Bank, First State Bank, Franklin Life Insurance,
Farmers Insurance Group, County Precinct 3 Commissioner and Mrs. Larry
Hunt, K-Bob's Steak House, Kirkland Nursery, KLBO Radio, The Monahans
News, NAPA Auto Parts, The Prescription Shop, State Farm Insurance,
Stoltz and Co., TU Electric, Ward County Teachers Credit Union.

Kay Rankin is the Pecan Show Chairman.

Co-sponsors are the Agricultural Committee of the Monahans Chamber of
Commerce and the Ward County Extension Service Horticulture Committee of
the Ward County Extension Program Council.

Monahans scholars eclipse

TASS test averages in state

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Scholars in the Monahans School District eclipsed state averages in
cumulative scores on the Texas Education Agency's TASS tests for the
second straight year, according to an analysis of reports from the stale

Over all, the school district's students in 1996 scored an 80.1 percent
passing rate compared with a 71.1 percent pass rate for Educational
Region 18 and 73.5 percent for all Texas students who took the test this

In 1995, Monahans students had an over all test pass rate of 80 percent
compared with the regional average of 66.7 percent and 66.8 percent for
the state.

The 1996 data shows that 94.9 percent of the Monahans female students
taking the tests passed compared with 81.8 percent of the male students.
But in 1995 testing, the gender gap in academics at Monahans showed that
the males had a higher pass rate - 91.5 percent to 90.5.

Under the standards used by the Texas Education Agency, a complex
formula which factors ethnicity and so-called economically disadvantaged
as well as the test scores, the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote Independent
School District has an accountability rating of: "Academically

The test results are the most recent available and were made available
this week to The Monahans News.

Grade by grade in the school district, the test scores indicate a
continuing dedication by the school district's administrators and
instructors to academic excellence.

The Academic Excellence Indicator System is produced by the Division of
Performance Reporting, Office of Policy Planning and Research, Texas
Education Agency.

Monahans TASS scores in grades five, six, seven, eight and ninth -
notably grade six- pushed the school district's scholars to their second
consecutive year of eclipsing state pass averages on the tests.

Monahans sixth graders, the state reports, had pass rates of 90.7
percent in reading, 94.5 in math with an overall pass rate of 88.3. This
compares with a reading pass rate of 77.2 percent in the region; 78.4
percent in all of Texas. Regional math pass rates were 78.9 percent in
the region; 77.8 in the state. Overall the regional pass rate was 70.5
percent; the state 70.1 percent.

Compared with sixth grade test scores at Monahans in 1995, the 1996
sixth graders showed an improvement of more than 12 percentage points in
the overall passing statistic.

That figure for all tests showed that Monahans sixth graders in 1995 had
a pass rate of 76.9 percent easily beating the 1995 regional avenge of
63.6 percent and the state pass average of 61.3. But the 1996 sixth
graders at Monahans had a pass rate of 88.3 percent.

The data was on testing in the Monahans school district for grades
three, four, five, six, seven, eight and ten.

Based on the test scores, an academic weakness was identified among the
tenth grade students at Monahans. They had an over all test pass rate of
55.6 percent, up markedly from tenth grade results in 1995, but still
below the regional pass rate of 59.8 percent for tenth graders and the
state tenth grade pass rate of 60.7 percent.

Tenth grade pass rates this year for reading were 80.1 percent; writing
84.8 percent; math, 53.1 percent' All of these numbers were below state
pass averages.

Phony currency warning in Monahans

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The Monahans Chamber of Commerce has issued a warning to merchants and
citizens to be on the lookout for two men who have passed phony $50
bills and $100 bills in Amarillo and Lubbock.

There is a possibility the pair could be headed toward Ward County,
according to the Chamber statement.

Both are described to be in their 20s, one having red hair and freckles
and the other having long, dark hair tied into-a ponytail.

The serial numbers on the $50 bills are BS8988262A, B64166713B or

The serial number appearing on the $100 bills is B71617303B.

Anyone having information about these subjects is urged to contact Sgt.
Greg Connerat (915)6574342, or Special Agent Steve Barker at Lubbock
Secret Service office at (806)472-7347.

School superintendent expected to quit today

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By Jerome P. Curry
of the News
Monahans School Superintendent Jack Clemmons is expected to be hired
tonight as the new school superintendent of the Victoria (Tex.)
Independent School District.

If confirmed as projected, Clemmons would begin work in Victoria as the
chief of that sprawling school district on New Year's Day.

Exactly what may happen to cover the projected interim in Monahans is in

Assistant Superintendents Mike Fletcher and Cliff Stephens are two
possible appointments to succeed Clemmons, at least in the short term.

Members of the Monahans School Board tabled a renewal of Clemmons'
contract a year ago because of a conflict involving the employment of a
new high school football coach. Clemmons hired current Lobo Head
football Coach and Athletic Director Windy Williams over a candidate
favored by at least one board member. Willliams' team was undefeated in
regular season play this year and already has won the bi-district.
Clemmon's contract in Monahans remains on the table.

The way in which his contract worked was a three year roll-over. Each
year, the school board in Monahans had the option to renew the Clemmons
contract for another three years. In effect, they did not pick up the
option last year and had followed suit this year. The reason for the
roll-over is to remove the school superintendent as much as possible
from the fluctuations of local politics. Standard school superintendent
contracts in the United States usually are for five years with an annual

Three members of the Victoria Board of Education were in Monahans on
Monday to discuss the position with Clemmons, who has led an effort by
his administrators and instructors in Monahans to increase scores on
state tests markedly from the test levels of previous years. In
athletics, the Loboes are scheduled to play in the area round of the
state 3A high school play-offs on Friday night in Lubbock.

Before those Victoria school trustees left Monahans on Monday, they and
Clemmons agreed that Clemmons and wife Candy, a Monahans kindergarten
teacher,-would be in Victoria at 7:30 p.m. tonight to meet with the full
seven-member Victoria School Board.

Barring an unforeseen development, Victoria's school trustees formally
will offer the superintendent's job to Clemmons. Clemmons formally will

The Monahans school superintendent said he could only say: "I have
talked with members of the Victoria Board of Education; the latest
conversation was on Monday. My wife and I will be at the Victoria board
of education meeting on Thursday (today)."

Beyond that. Clemmons said he could make no further comment because it
would be inappropriate.

Victoria Independent School District has 14,600 students who matriculate
on 22 campuses. There are two 5-A high schools and two alternative high
schools, which because of their nature are not rated.

Clemmons is scheduled to succeed Robert Brezina, who has been
superintendent of Victoria schools since 1989.

Brezina's last day on the job, the News was told, will be Nov. 29.

After Brezina's retirement, he has said he plans to begin education

At the same meeting tonight at which Clemmons will be offered Brezina's
position, the Victoria school board will appoint an interim
superintendent until Clemmons' arrival on Jan.1. There are three vice
superintendents in Victoria - Jan Jacobs, curriculum; Brian Miller,
business; and Victor Rendon, administration.
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Copyright 1996 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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