Sunday, December 28, 2008




  Seven Points de-annexes Oak Landing
Council receives petition with majority of registered voters wanting out
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–Seven Points City Council members granted a petition to de-annex the Oak Landing Subdivision.
The petition was submitted to Mayor Gerald Taylor about a week ago.
A special council meeting was held at 8 a.m. Dec. 19 to decide the issue. About 20 people attended, most to testify against the action.
The law allows newly annexed subdivisions to petition for de-annexation after one year and less than three years from date of annexation.
The city annexed Oak Landing into the city more than a year ago, and one of its residents, Richard Smith, was narrowly voted onto the council in May.
“I checked the list of updated registered voters and there’s a majority there (on the petition to de-annex),” Taylor said. In all, there are 79 registered voters and 42 of them have signed the petition, he said.
Only 40 were needed for a majority.
Three council members agreed with Taylor’s findings and approved the de-annexation. Tommy Taylor abstained and Smith opposed Hank Laywell’s motion.
“Don’t you think there’s a conflict of interest for you?” City secretary Debbie Mosley asked Smith. “No. There’s no conflict,” he answered.
Jason Beechwood, Oak Landing POA president, tried to point out irregularities in the petition , starting with the fact no one has taken responsibility for submitting the petition to the city.
Larry Larson identified himself as being behind the petition. “We only took it around to those we knew would want out of the city,” he responded when some said they were not presented with a petition.
Others asked why so many wanted out of the city.
Resident Alvis Eilers responded with a touch of sarcasm, that perhaps it was they didn’t like the police cars cruising the neighborhood or didn’t like how code enforcement was being done.
Joe Halpain went on record to say he was happy being in the city.
“I think someone is worried about the possibility of being taxed,” he said.
Larson helped gather the signatures and submitted the petition to right a wrong he feels occurred when the POA took a vote of its members about annexation. At that time, a majority voted against it (annexation), he maintains.
“Fifty lot owners voted to go into the city, and 74 lot owners said no (to annexation),” he said. “This thing slipped through, due to a couple of individuals,” he said.
Repercussions from the de-annexation are sure to develop.
Now that Oak Landing has been de-annexed, can one of its residents continue as a council member?
At the very least, some of the conflicts among the residents of Oak Landing are sure to intensify.

Mabank school district moves ahead
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–There’s nothing like good news to lift the spirits of school administrators and trustees.
Mabank trustees and administrators got a bird’s eye view of the progress the Mabank Independent School District has made over the past several years.
Curriculum director Dena Mojica began the presentation at the Dec. 15 board meeting.
• The district has earned Recognized status for three consecutive years, she said.
• The special education student enrollment has dropped from 19 percent in 2003 to today’s 9.4 percent.
• The district had only one student enrolled in its career and technology program in 2003. Today, enrollment includes 213 students.
On the financial side, amounts awarded through grants is enough to increase facilities by 250,000 square feet.
Enrollment at the employee daycare has grown from 32 to 43 children in one year.
And finally, the district’s fund balance has continued to increase over the past five years, keeping up with growing expenses.
In other business, trustees:
• acknowledged Central Elementary students Derek Cathey, Ray Martin and Sara Taylor as leaders in the Pledge of Allegiance.
• approved the consent agenda, which included November disbursements, budget amendments and donations.
• amended the MISD local policy, DIA Employee welfare, Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation, second reading. FB Equal Educational Opportunity and FFH Student Welfare Freedom.
• adopted a new Mabank ISD Policy FFC.
• adopted an amendment to Local Policy FDA.
• adopted TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) local policy Update 84.
• heard all board members have completed or exceeded the continued education requirements.
• set a special board meeting for Jan. 8, and the upcoming board appreciation dinner.
• heard the monthly financial report as presented by assistant superintendent of business administration Scott Adams.
• authorized the superintendent to perform services for other educational entities.

Trustees OK wireless routers
$150,000 for notebook computers discussed, Cox says farewell
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–Eustace Independent School District trustees agreed to install wireless router hubs throughout the high school campus and said good-bye to a veteran member Dec. 18.
Trustee James Cox, who once served as the athletic booster club president, as well as on the school board, recently submitted his resignation, and was attending his final board meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe presented Cox with a plaque, thanking him for his years of service to the school district.
An accountant for Brinker International (which owns several restaurant chains, including Chili’s, Red Lobster and On the Border), Cox said he felt it was time to step down, now that his children had graduated.
“My wife and I are traveling more,” he added. “My focus and attention have changed as my life has changed.”
Trustees placed their focus on long-term additions to technology in the classroom, as they agreed to spend about $53,000 to install wireless router hubs throughout the high school campus.
“This is included in the Murchison Foundation grant (announced earlier),” Holcombe said. “This is the sort of bridge we need to bring in one-to-one sets of laptops in the classroom.”
One wireless hub was installed as a test at the start of the school year in August, “and we have had zero problems. Not a glitch, not a bleep,” Holcombe reported.
“If we’re wanting to bring more laptops into the classroom, this has to be the backbone of the system,” he added.
Trustee Gary Walsh said the trustees had been talking for some time about providing laptop computers for every high school student.
“You’re talking about $400 for about 400 students,” he said.
“We ought to authorize $150,000 and let him (Holcombe) finagle (on the purchase price),” Walsh said
He also noted the costs were coming down, but at some point, the district has to make a purchase, and Holcombe agreed.
While $400 will buy a lot more laptop now than it would when the trustees first looked at the book-sized computers several months ago, no matter what the district purchases, those computers likely will be obsolete (or at least outmoded) within a couple of years, Holcombe said.
Holcombe said he would get a list of available laptop models together for the trustees to review at their January meeting.
In other business, the trustees:
• recognized members of the boys and girls cross country teams, which advanced to regional competition, the volleyball team, which advanced to the regional quarterfinals, and the football team, which advanced to the bidistrict playoffs for the first time since 1997.
• heard Holcombe report that scoreboards have been ordered for the new competition gym, still under construction.
“We think you will be very pleased with how they are going to look,” he told the trustees.
• heard Holcombe report the district had received a $100,000 grant from the Ginger Murchison Foundation.
Most of the money will be going for new computerized displays, replacing the venerable blackboard in classrooms.
“We’ve put in an order for 72 boards,” he said. “The teachers cannot wait.”
• reviewed and adopted the Texas Association of School Boards Policy Update 84, following a second reading.
• accepted a $3,755 bid for a property in Enchanted Oaks. The property is appraised at $4,000, Holcombe said.
• heard the district’s enrollment was 1,482 students as of Dec. 15, or 12 fewer students than were enrolled at the Christmas break last year.
While the number of students is down, attendance has been excellent, 96.56 percent district-wide, Holcombe reported.
• delayed the board’s January meeting one week, to Tuesday, Jan. 27, because the annual audit report on the 2007-08 school year won’t be ready until then.

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