Sunday, May 21, 2006


ECC delays canvassing
Sends $200,000 proposal to Landers Development
in lieu of impact fee for sewer service
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District board of directors opted to canvass the ballots another time.
A motion made by director Jim Boyles to table that item was approved at the top of the board’s regular meeting Wednesday.
Once members of the public understood the item had been deleted from the agenda, the room slowly emptied, and the meeting became routine.
A special meeting, just to canvass the ballots, will be called sometime before May 24, Boyle’s motion directed.
The unofficial election results showed the four seats up for re-election were won by challengers Michael Grant, with 172 votes; Karen Jentzen, 167; and developer Ken Landers, 178.
Of the four incumbents, only David Burch garnered enough votes (145) to retain his seat on the board.
Coming in fifth was board president Giles Farmer, with 88 votes, followed by vice president Billy Caffey with 72 votes and board secretary Wilson Sanders, with 59 votes.
“The board would like to confer with its attorney, Stark and Groom, in executive session prior to that meeting,” Farmer said.
Farmer and general manager Bill Goheen were to call the attorneys afterwards to coordinate scheduling of the executive and called session.
In last week’s special called meeting, the board approved sending a letter to Landers, threatening a “criminal complaint” against him should he violate the water code by exercising the office of director while being a “developer of property in the district.”
Landers attended the meeting along with his attorneys, but left shortly after the agenda was amended.
In related action, the board approved sending a letter to Landers Development, inviting it to “contribute toward the cost of expanding the wastewater treatment plant” to the tune of $200,000 in exchange for sewer service.
Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation president Dennis Wood strongly objected to the letter.
During the meeting, he pointed out that the move is nothing short of “double-billing,” as the cost of the wastewater treatment expansion is already being paid for by ratepayers through service charges.
Boyles quickly agreed.
“It does appear that way,” he said.
Boyles invited Wood, who is a certified public accountant, to meet with the finance committee and look at the numbers to gain the board’s perspective on the proposal.
Wood also put the board on notice the city plans to “take over” the district, beginning with its next meeting on Tuesday.
In other business, the directors:
• heard an update from Velvin & Weeks Consulting Engineers on the status of pending projects.
It approved certain task orders to further those projects.
Those include the renewal of a Texas Land Application Permit at the South Waste Water Treatment Plant, raw water pump station improvements at the Brookshire water treatment plant, as well as its clarifier and filter projects, the cleanup of Prairie Creek Cove, and the STEP grant for Cedar Branch Park and Southwood Shores.
• heard Goheen report completion of the oxidation ditch expansion is expected within the next 60 days.
• approved the purchase of equipment for two mowers and to employ temporary help through the summer to do the mowing for the district. “This will be a nice summer job for some of the youth in the area,” Goheen said.
• heard Goheen report the hiring of a new meter reader and some minor staff changes.

School lockdown explained
Monitor Staff Reports

KEMP–Kemp schools were locked down briefly right around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, when a report of armed men in the area was called into police.
The 30-minute lockdown held up a few buses from getting kids home, KISD Police Chief Bobby Patterson said.
As it turned out the fuss was over a young man, who lives nearby, walking between the school buildings carrying a pellet gun.
When police cars showed up, he ran to a friend’s house and dropped the gun under the porch, Kemp Police Chief Richard Arnold said.
“I don’t think he meant anything by it,” Arnold said.
However, the youth was taken to Greenville Juvenile Detention Center.

Standardized dress delayed a year
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Kemp Independent School District trustees want the dress code in the hands of students and parents by the end of school.
Trustees decided Tuesday to keep approximately the same dress code for the 2006-07 school year as is in force for the current year.
Parents should be able to purchase school clothing before the start of school without worrying about a possible change in the dress code, Interim Superintendent Larry Davis said.
Trustees approved the dress code with provisions that the campus principals have the final say as to whether clothing and shoes are appropriate, unsafe or disruptive.
After the official canvass of the ballots from the May 13 election, administrative assistant Kim Johnson swore in incumbent Keith Foisey and new board member Scott Clearman.
Board officers for the coming year were chosen.
Keith Foisey again was named president, Steve Greenhaw vice president and Don Jedlicka secretary.
In other business, trustees:
• approved the new position of assistant superintendent.
Incoming superintendent Dr. Peter Running said he believed the position would better serve the district than that of human resources director.
“I don’t perceive human resources to be an all-day type job,” he said, adding there were many additional duties an assistant superintendent could perform.
• approved funding and supervision of special education employees, making them responsible to the Lake Ray Hubbard Cooperative, of which the KISD is a member.
• heard the financial statement as presented by Davis.
• heard a report from Dr. Debra Airheart concerning preliminary TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test results.
See complete details in chart above.
She said the reading and English language scores had increased for five grade levels, and many students were in the “commended” category (above state named level of achievement), while math and science scores, especially in the upper grades, remained relatively low.
A major problem seemed to be a lack of books. Students are unable to get books for studying at home, some parents complained.
Even the math books the elementary school still has teaches to the former TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) test, Airheart said.
There are no plans to purchase new math books at the elementary level, she added.
“Books are a major problem for all schools (districts). There are not enough, and when a student needs a book, he must check it out,” Davis said.
In the upper grades, the new math curriculum will not be taught from books, but rather from pages distributed in class, which students must file in a notebook to build their math book as they go, principals told trustees.
Students will also have notes they must file along with the supplied pages.