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Friday, November 19, 1999

Board OKs consolidation of junior highs

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 19, 1999 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members approved the hiring of architect Monte Hunter for the consolidation of the district's seventh and eighth grade classes at Crockett Middle School, during a special meeting Thursday night.

Superintendent Don Love recommended hiring Hunter for the project and told the board that he felt that since they had worked well with Hunter before he would be the best candidate.

"I think he's very qualified, probably the most qualified, for the school project," said Love.

Hunter has worked with the district for the past 10 years and was involved with solving the asbestos problem the school had a few years ago.

The procurement of construction contracts/services that provides the best value for the district was discussed at length.

Hunter told the group that there were several options for the construction contacts/services.

Hunter briefly went over the different ways to procure the construction contracts/services. "In the construction procurement act you would have to take the lowest bid and you didn't have any real control over the project," he said.

However, due to recent changes approved by the Texas Legislature, school districts now have different options in obtaining these services.

"This allows for more ways of procuring the contracts and having more control over the entire project," he said.

Hunter recommended the form of procurement of services be made through competitive sealed proposals. "It's something new that can be done, and was just approved during the last legislature," he said.

"He also gave us drawings of two different options on the design," said Love, who recommended option B for the consolidation plan, which would put both seventh and eighth grade classes at Crockett Middle School. Currently, only eighth graders attend Crockett, while seventh graders go to Zavala Middle School.

The current set-up has been in place since 1987. Before that both schools had seventh and eighth grade junior high students.

Option B would include a computer lab and a bigger science room that would accommodate two science classes. In addition to the two Options for the classroom additions, Hunter provided a drawing of the Physical Education addition, which would expand the school's current gym facility.

Total estimated cost for the classrooms in Option B would be set at $762.750, with the Physical Education addition estimated at $810,000. Total estimated cost for both projects has been set at $1.5 million.

"Do you want to tell us why you recommended Option B?"asked board member Louis Matta.

"I liked Option B, because we needed a little bigger science room," said Love. "We also needed a bigger computer lab."

"There will be some classes where there will be 30 students in the classroom and the science lab can accommodate two science classes," he said. "The bigger classrooms will be used when the classes have 30 students."

"Will the old addition be connected?" asked board member Steve Armstrong.

"Yes, it will have an enclosed addition attached," said Hunter.

The Physical Education addition will fit two regulation junior high basketball/volleyball courts sideways, with pull out bleachers. "With the pull-out bleachers the courts can be used by the high school and will be high school regulation," said Hunter.

He told the group that there are also a lot of ways to lay out the science classrooms. "I can do it 10 different ways, but we would like to receive input from the staff, before we start," said Hunter.

About 120 more lockers will also be added. "That's why we made the corridors wider," he said.

Hunter said his recommendation would be to tie down the scope and cost and meet with the staff to receive their input. "We can then come back to the board with our recommendations," he said.

Hunter said there are a lot of things that need to be looked at. "When we come back next month, we can answer more of your questions," he said. Among those items will be the equipment, kind of science lab and overall layout.

"We'll be sure to include everyone," he said.

"If we just did the classrooms, what are we talking about in terms of savings," asked Love.

Hunter stated that the savings probably wouldn't be that much, maybe five percent.

Love stated that the school auditors would be here Dec. 10 and will have his audit. "He'll tell us, you can do this, but maybe not the whole thing, or you could this other," said Love.

"We can work that out also, like get a combined bid, or maybe get a bid on just the classroms and a separate for the Physical Education addition," said Hunter.

Hunter told the group that he could speak to two or three contractors and get more information from them.

"There are different scenarios that we can look at," he said.

The board approved Option B and the Physical Education addition as presented with the requirement that all middle school staff be involved in the project.

Board members also approved authorizing the superintendent to act on behalf of the district to work with the architect on design development of documents and present to the board at a later date.

"Again, nothing will be done under the table, we'll come to you and get your approval," said Love.

"Can we get this done before Aug. 1?" asked Love.

"The classrooms are not a problem," said Hunter, who added that his firm has worked on other projects that have taken bids in January and February and had not problems getting it done before the start of school.

"We've always been able to get it done with no problems," he said.

Hunter recommended getting bids in January and that will give them six months to finish the classroom addition.

Proposed staff cuts questioned by teachers

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 19, 1999 - Consolidation is definitely something for the future for two middle schools in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, but some of the teachers who will be involved had questions about the plan Thursday night, during the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board's special meeting.

The board met to discuss several issues regarding the consolidation of Zavala Middle School and the Crockett Middle School. If consolidated all seventh and eighth graders would attend Crockett Middle School, which would be expanded to the extra junior high students.

Zavala would likely be kept open as a sixth grade school, with either Lamar Middle School or Pecos Elementary being closed down under the current consolidation proposal.

Board member Louis Matta, acting as chairperson for the evening, in the absence of board president Earl Bates, asked for comments from the audience.

Several junior high teachers were on hand for the special meeting.

Ronny Daniel a Zavala Middle School student told the board that his main concern was for the students

. "I disagree on the method of financing," said Daniel. "I'm all in favor of consolidation, but I don't approve of the financing part of it."

He told the board that it seemed that all the personnel cuts would take place at Zavala. "If we have more students in one class it would have an impact on the students," said Daniel.

A class with 30 people in it would affect the quality of education and a 25 percent reduction in staff would increase teacher's duties and the all the headaches a teacher faces.

"This is totally unrealistic as far as education," said Daniel. "And, the teacher will still be held accountable for TAAS scores and testing and things like that.

"I think we'll do 25 percent less of the work towards the student," he said. "I realize this is a money situation, but how far do we go."

Daniel questioned the fact that all the personnel cut would be at the seventh grade school.

Daniel said that if the students realized what that would mean for them, they would have attended the board meeting.

Pecos High School Teacher Barbara Scown stated that she understood that they had to do some cuts. "But look at the scheduling or electives," she said. "Let's keep a positive approach and get the job done."

Texas State Teacher's Association President for the district, Jamie Crisp, said she supported the comments Daniel had made and passed out a memo outlining the teacher's and personnel's concerns.

· If up to eight teaching positions are eliminated as has been proposed in consolidation, class sizes are going to be very large _ possibly 30 + students. When classes are that large, teacher-student interaction is minimal, and teachers spend too much time controlling the classroom and handling paperwork.

· Test scores have been rising in the district in recent years, and teachers are concerned that larger classes could cause reversal in this gain.

· The district budget has been balanced primarily by cutting the number of teaching positions. Now that the budget is balanced, why should we jeopardize student success by cutting the number of teachers even more?

· In today's society more students come from broken homes than ever before. In many cases students are a major positive role model and encourager for these students. If student-teacher ratios go up, teachers will have less time to give individual attention to students, and student performance could go down.

· Cafeteria workers are concerned about being reassigned to a different campus when they would prefer to stay where they are. Please remember that workers are most productive when they have a say in decision-making.

· When properly implemented site-based decision-making process can resolve most of these concerns to the benefit of all parties.

"Therefore, as president of TSTA local, I have been asked to strongly urge you to give close consideration to these factors when consolidating seventh and eighth grade campuses," Crisp said.

"A report stated recently that we are underutilizing our facilities, if we are wasting that much space, we need to direct the money that is for upkeep, towards the classroom and the students," said Matta.

The study showed money is going into the buildings, such as maintenance, utilities and such, according to Matta.

And in looking at a five-year term, enrollment figures show that they are on the decline, according to Matta.

"I don't want to cause anybody their job, but we may have to cut where it bleeds, because enrollment is on the decline," he said.

Matta stated that he can remember talking about consolidation, back in the 1980's when he had served on the board.

"I disagree with what you're saying, that this is just for seventh and eighth grades, there will be other campuses affected," said Matta.

Matta stated that he thinks there are ways to compromise, to do it differently.

Clubs briefed on benefits of Main Street program

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 19, 1999 - Members of the Pecos Rotary and Lions clubs held a joint meeting Thursday to hear ideas about improving the community through participation in a statewide program.

Genora Young, the director of tourism and also the Main Street program manager for Fort Stockton, spoke to the groups about that city's Main Street program and their efforts in economic development and tourism.

"What is going on in our region right now is very exciting," she said. "Fort Stockton is not a destination for most people. But in West Texas, geography is out friend. We're on a busy interstate on the way to Big Bend and Big Bend is a destination spot."

Young said that Fort Stockton's goal has been to offer enough attractions to hold a leisure traveler for a day or two.

"Over the last ten years we have been more and more successful," she said.

Young said that it was not until Fort Stockton got involved in the Main Street program in 1989 that the city began to make real progress in economic development and in attracting and holding tourists.

The Main Street program is a state program focused on reviving downtown areas. It is financed both with grants and local tax money.

Young said that the Main Street program with its impetus on economic development eventually evolves into development of tourism as well.

"Economic development and tourism go hand-in-hand in West Texas," she said. "They will build on each other and you really can't afford to neglect either one."

Young said that there was a growing trend in the region to work together to attract tourists to the region and not just a specific town or area.

"Individually we can't offer enough to bring tourists to Fort Stockton or Pecos or Alpine, but working together, we can offer a traveler plenty of attractions to fill several weeks," she said.

She said that the city had experienced good success in offering motor coach tour companies a one-day excursion in Fort Stockton as part of the overall tour that usually featured Big Bend.

"What I would like to see is a regional promotion of Beg Bend/West Texas. We need to do this as a region and I think that it is beginning to happen," she said.

"When it does, we will all benefit."

Housing seminar attracts 90 residents

PECOS, Nov. 19, 1999 - More than 90 people showed up for a seminar addressing housing options for low-income families Thursday night at the Reeves County Civic Center. The Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Pecos City sponsored the seminar.

A Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) representative spoke about the HOME program that offers loans and grants to low-income people, said Jesse Stephens, a director with the Chamber of Commerce who helped organize the meeting.

"Pecos City is now trying to obtain a grant for $240,000 to apply to Pecos housing needs," Stephens said.

The TDHCA representative also explained the Housing Trust Fund that offers loans and grants administered through local governments, housing authorities and not-for-profit organizations. Also on the agenda was the Community Block Grant program for cities and counties to develop sanitary sewer systems, clean drinking water, housing and other needs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture representative explained how to qualify for, and whom to contact, concerning the department's single family housing, home improvement grants, direct loans and guaranteed loan programs, Stephens said.

Stephens also reported that HUD discussed the 203(K) program that offers help in buying, renovating, and even adding on to a home.

This program is not a grant program, Stephens said. Instead, the government simply helps people obtain a loan for the project from financial institutions.

"This was a great start," Chamber president Linda Gholson said. "We have a lot of work to do, but we had a great turnout tonight and learned a lot from the different programs."

RCDC review on county agenda

PECOS, Nov. 19, 1999 - Management of America performance review of the Reeves County Detention Center's operation will be the topic of discussion at Monday morning's regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., on the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse. The public is welcome to attend.

Commissioners will discuss the community sports and recreation program agreement amendment #1; award bid on 12-99 asphalt, emulsions, discarded foods, surface aggregates, motor oil, fuel, law enforcement liability insurance, and public officials liability.

The court will discuss and approve bond and oath for Patricia Tarin, Connie Lozano and Yvonne Abila. Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, JDC, recreation department, road and bridge department, sheriff's office and the tax office) also are on the agenda.

Hernandez wins in Power Points

PECOS, Nov. 19, 1999 - Frankie Hernandez, 1200 Kerr St., was this week's winner in the Pecos Enterprise Power Points contest. Hernandez scored 98 out of 136 possible points to win tickets to an Odessa Jackalopes hockey game.

Statewide, the $1,000 winner for Week 10 of the contest was Trent Flemming of Longview, who won a tiebreaker on the Dallas-Green Bay football game after totaling 117 points.

Power Points entry forms appear Mondays in the Enterprise and are available through local sponsors.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers drawn: 5-8-9-14-23. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $39,745. Winning ticket(s) sold in: San Antonio, The Woodlands. Matching four of five: 314. Prize: $519.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-4-0 (six, four, zero)


James Rex Leigh

James Rex Leigh, 74, of Pecos, died Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1999, at his residence.

Graveside services will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 20, at Chaparral Village Memorial Park with Matt Williamson officiating.

He was born June 15, 1925, in Ranger, was a U.S. Navy Veteran of World War II, had lived in Pecos since 1959 and was a retired seismograph worker.

He was preceded in death by one son, Robert "Bobby" Dewayne Leigh.

Survivors include his wife, Eva Leigh of Pecos; one son, Ronald Leigh of Toyah; three daughters, Terresa Clary of Chireno, Jeannie Teichman of Cushing and Vera William of Kermit; 12 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Nov. 19, 1999 - High Thursday 86. Low this morning 50. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Low in the mid 30s. East to southeast wind 5-10 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny. High around 80. South wind 10-20 mph. Saturday night: Mostly clear. Low around 40. Sunday: Mostly sunny. High in the mid 70s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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