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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Friday, November 15, 2002

Para-professionals face new tests to keep P-B-T jobs

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 15, 2002 -- About 45 para-professionals currently employed by the  Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will need to complete some college  requirements within the next 3½ years if they  want to hang on to their jobs, school board members were told during  Thursday's monthly meeting.

Board members approved a program that will help at least two employees in connection with the new requirements, which are part of a federal law that took effect earlier this year.

P-B-T ISD Personnel Director Gome Olibas told the board during their meeting in the district's Technology Center that the new law signed by President Bush makes these requirements a must for anyone working in district in the same category as P-B-T ISD.

The Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 (ESEA), also known as the "No Child Left Behind" Act, was signed by Bush on Jan. 8 of this year, and Olibas said, "Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will be affected by the ESEA being that we are a school-wide Title I District."

Under the new Act, any para-professional that assists in instruction (one-on-one tutoring, classroom management, computer lab assistance, library or media support) is affected. Para-professionals cannot be hired after Jan. 8, 2002, unless they have completed two years of college (48 college hours) or have obtained an associate's degree.

Para-professionals who were hired before Jan. 8, 2002, who assist in instruction will be required to have completed two years of college (48 college hours) or obtained an associate's degree within the next 3 ½ years, with a deadline for meeting the requirements set for Jan. 8, 2006:

Para-professionals must then pass a state-administered examination. Board members were told that the Texas' State Board of Educator Certification would probably administer this test, which will include assessments that demonstrate knowledge of assisting in the instruction of reading, writing and mathematics, although that is not mandated by the federal law. If a para-educator opts to take the test, they must have a high school diploma or GED.

Olibas told the group that Region 18 ESC has developed a program to begin in the 2003 spring semester that will help with training for para-professionals.

"Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD has been allotted two slots," said Olibas, adding that the fee per person is $1,200, which can be paid out of Title I funds.

Olibas said that there are currently 45 para-professionals who were hired before Jan. 8, 2002.

"They will need to complete one of the requirements by Jan. 8, 2006," he said.

"They can take that exam and if they pass they'll be certified, but right now we need to help them as much as we can."

"What everybody needs to understand is that this isn't Pecos-Barstow-Toyah, or the state doing this, this is the federal government that is requesting these requirements and this might affect up to five teachers as well," said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love.

"This is not coming from us, we need to provide all the training to pass this exit test and we'll know more about it in December and how it will affect our teachers," said Love.

"We have 45 good people on our staff that we need to help," said Olibas. "And it will be a pretty rigid exam."

"Title II TPR money is especially for this," said P-B-T financial director Cookie Canon.

"Is there any other grant money we can apply for, so that we can get these people certified?" asked board member David Flores.

"If there is money out there, we don't know about any," said Canon, who added that there is still a lot about the ESEA that they don't know.

"There isn't a grandfather clause," said board president Billie Sadler.

"No, there isn't, all the aides will have to take those tests," said Olibas. "They can take it many times, is what we've been told, but they have to pass it," he said.

"Everybody is still waiting to see what Region 18 is going to do," said Love, referring to other districts in the region.

Following the discussing, the board approved sending two para-professionals to the training.

"It will be done by seniority, which is the only fair way to go," said Olibas.

Complaint made to school board

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 15, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members recognized a  district championship team and heard a complaint connected to the  recently completed high school football season during Thursday's  monthly board meeting.

Matt Burkholder stood up during the section on public comments and spoke to the board about the future of the head football coach Fred Carter and athletic director Bubba Williams.

Board president Billie Sadler told Burkholder before he spoke that the board could only listen to his comments during this portion of the meeting, but could not comment or come to any decision.

"During this time, the board can only listen and we cannot comment or make any kind of a decision," said Sadler.

"I want to know what plans are there for the new coach?" said Burkholder. "There are a lot of people that are concerned about this issue and want to know some answers."

Burkholder said that plans were for other individuals to be on hand for the regular meeting, but were unable to attend.

"We want to know what is going on and do we have a choice in this matter," said Burkholder. "The people want to know if we're going to hire a new football coach and athletic director," he said.

Carter was hired as football coach in June of this year after the sudden resignation of three-year head coach Gary Grubbs. Pecos had made the Class 4A football playoffs the previous four seasons, but after moving into the more competitive District 4-3A this season, finished with a 2-8 record.

Burkholder said that the lack of enthusiasm in the football program and other sports, led the concerned individuals to question both Carter and Williams.

"The kids don't even want to play anymore and we think something should be done about this," Burkholder said. He added that some students were still giving it their all and that something should be done to boost their morale.

Also during the audience portion of the meeting, the board recognized the boys' District 4-3A cross-country champions, who advanced to regional competition. The Eagles' title came after Pecos had competed over the previous four seasons in the tougher District 2-4A and failed to reach regionals.

"They are district champs as a team and have earned other spots as individuals," said coach Rudy Jurado.

P-B-T ISD Superintendent Don Love presented a plaque to coach Jurado on behalf of their outstanding achievements.

Love also presented plaques to the different campuses and letters and certificates from the Texas Education Agency for Recognized and Exemplary Campus ratings. Bessie Haynes Elementary, received the highest rating, Exemplary, while Austin Elementary School Pecos High School and Zavala Middle School all were recognized.

Gold performance acknowledgements went to Austin Elementary, Zavala Elementary and Crockett Middle School.

In other action, Monte Hunter with Corral Hunter Associates, told board members that they had received no proposals in their quest for proposals for baseball field grandstand awning.

"We're going to try to go straight to the bleacher supply companies," said Hunter. "There are two, Southern Bleachers and Sturdy Hills."

Hunter said that Southern Bleachers would have a proposal for the group next month. "We'll also solicit pre-engineered for awning," he said.

"Even if we get the proposal in December, we can still get it done by mid-February, at the beginning of the baseball season," said Hunter.

Hunter said that they would get the proposal before the next board meeting and have a legal ad placed in the paper.

"I think it's a doable deal, it'll be tight, but it can be done," he said.

Board members approved the use of the Pecos High School new gym and agreed to waive the fees for the Santa Rosa Church on Saturday.

Santa Rosa Church Father Ben Flores told the group that they had three different meeting places that were going to be utilized tomorrow, during a special conference being held in Pecos.

"We will converge at one place at 5:30 p.m., for the worship part of the program and need a bigger space," said Flores.

Board member Paul Deishler asked if maybe they would want to use the auditorium instead. However, Flores said, "We think the gym will serve our purposes."

Board members also approved 2002-2003 textbook committees and attendance committees; 2002-2003 budget amendments and the sale of foreclosed property.

Love showed the group assembled a presentation on the many renovations done at the different campuses.

"We spent $1.8 million at the Pecos High School, which include new front doors," said Love.

The $3.4 million project was funded in different methods with $2.2 from tax funds following last year's rollback tax election; $780,000 from grant money and $400,000 from Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD.

Love went through the new items at the different campuses, including new fire alarms at all the schools, removal of asbestos and new air conditioning units for some of the campuses.

"We're very proud of all this work and if you get chance take a tour," said Love.

The board approved the lease-purchase of new Xerox machines and the Campus Improvement Plans as presented.

State, feds help with rebuilding airport runways

Staff Writer

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 15, 2002 -- The Pecos Municipal Airport and the Texas Department  of Transportation together have begun reconstruction on the runways  and taxiways at the airport, with most of the project's funding  coming through a federal grant

According to Kenneth Ford, Superintendent with Jones Brothers Dirt and Paving Contractors, they are reconstructing the main taxiways, resurfacing other taxi ways and runways.

Pecos Municipal Airport operator Isabelle Blancher said that the project involves each of the runways.

"They are doing something on all the runways out there," Blancher said.

Ford and Blancher both said that the construction began in October and will continue through the end of February.

Other then reconstructing the runways and taxiways, a Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), lights on the taxiways signs, and a lighted wind sock would also be a added to the airport.

Blancher also said that the reconstruction project costs over $1.6 million but that the money was given to them through a Federal grant.

"The city matches 10 percent of the grant," Blancher said.

She added that it's been over a decade since any major work was done on facilities at the airport.

"It is way overdue," Blanchard said.

Rotary Club seeks help funding lights for tree

PECOS, Fri., Nov. 15, 2002 -- The Pecos Club Rotary members are asking for donations of $10 for a string of lights to be placed on the Community Christmas Tree in Maxey Park.

Donations and forms may be obtained through the following Rotary members, Jean Badders at Sunday House, 447-2215, Leo Hung at Professional Pharmacy, 447-2266, Bobby Clark at Security State Bank, 445-9000, Ken Winkles at Winkles Trucking, 447-2108, Jim Lofton at Pecos Nursing Home, 447-2183 and John Grant at West Texas National Bank, 445-9444.

The donations and forms are due back by Thursday, December 12, to the club members listed above. The name of each donor will appear on Classic Cable Ch. 6 and the Pecos Enterprise.


PECOS, Fri., Nov. 15, 2002 -- High Thursday 70. Low this morning 38. Forecast for tonight:   Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 30s with light north winds. Saturday:   Mostly sunny. Highs 60 to 65. Northwest winds 5 to 15  mph. Saturday night:  Clear. Lows in the lower 30s. Sunday:  Mostly  sunny and warmer. Highs near 70. Monday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 35.  Highs 65 to 70.


Enrique Leyva

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