LEWISVILLE, TX – Nearly two months ago, we reported that the City of Lewisville had struck a deal with Tampax for the title sponsorship of the city's new Lewisville Center for the Creative Arts. Tampax Center employees were shocked today to learn that the City Council had decided to pull the plug on the deal.
Director of Community Relations and Tourism, James Kunke explained that the working relationship with Tampax had soured over the short tenure of the agreement. "The scope of the agreement just kept expanding," explained Kunke. Fine details like signage and marketing collateral just kept having to be changed, and it became more than staff could handle on a daily basis. City Attorney Lizbeth Plaster was kept busy with constant demands to review contract changes. "It was constant insertions and removals of terms, sometimes multiple times in a day," said Plaster, who was working on a termination agreement.
Fort worth City Councilman Joel Burns gave a moving speech the other night regarding a recent spate of teen suicides and bullying of kids who are gay, or perceived to be gay.
You may want to grab a Kleenex before you watch this:
It is up to us as adults to put a stop to the bullying and hatefulness of children towards other children who might be gay. The way we act, and the words we use at home make a big difference. As a terminally straight man who happens to have a good number of gay and lesbian friends, I can tell you that I try hard to teach my kids tolerance. Even so, I still have to correct them when they use "gay" as a pejorative term. Apparently it is something these kids just throw around. Fortunately for my kids, I've never yet heard them say "fag" or "faggot". God help them if they do.
Earlier today, when I first started looking at the agenda for Monday night's LISD Board meeting, I came across this document with a $13.6 million reduction in Federal stimulus funding, and corresponding reductions in budgeted expenditures, $12 million of which was to come from classroom instruction.
It had previously been explained by LISD in response to a WhosPlayin open record request that these amounts are typically budgeted as state aid to the general fund (fund 199), then later moved to the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds account (fund 266). However, in that document, we would have expected to see the change listed as a reduction in fund 199, and an increase in fund 266.
We had heard some of the hubbub about the Doggett amendment which requires Texas to certify that it will spend federal educational dollars on education without reducing what it would otherwise spend, and immediately wondered if this money seemingly disappearing had anything to do with that.
This afternoon, LISD Executive Director of Budgeting, Theresa Maniscalco explained that the document I saw was only the changes to the budget that require Board approval - in this case fund 199 (General fund) and fund 240 (School Lunch program).
A second document, presented to the board as 2011 budget information items shows $13,371,849 of the money (see p. 8) going back into fund 266 (SFSF "stimulus"). This leaves a difference of $257,676. Maniscalco explained that districts are allowed to use a portion of the money to cover costs and expenditures in applying for the money. If I'm being totally honest, I didn't quite understand what she was saying there, and got the impression that there was more to come.
The budget for classroom instruction from the stimulus money prior to the move was $12,027,131, but after the move from fund 199 (general) to fund 266 (SFSF stimulus), that amount was reduced to $11,807,189, a reduction of $219,942 over the current budget.
Other uses of SFSF stimulus money are $1,463,040 for school administration, $66,010 for guidance and counseling, and $35,610 for curriculum and instructional staff development.
There are more funds from ARRA, which I'm studying now to try to understand.
Maniscalco stated that although she wasn't yet up to speed on the Doggett amendment and its implications, she believed that to be with regards to funding for the next biennium.
So, long story short, there is no reduction in stimulus money for this fiscal year, and no impact this year from the Doggett amendment, which we hope will get worked out sometime during the legislative session.
Wow, it's been a busy day. I've just now given up on trying to get through all of my unread email. It's time to sit down and share a few thoughts, but I'll be brief, because I'm tired.
Email Hell One of the drawbacks of being interested in a variety of causes is that each of them seems to think their cause is the only one anyone should care about. Because of this, they email you non-stop with requests to sign this petition, email this Member of Congress, or donate some money, or forward something to all of your friends.
I get a metric crapload of emails from Democratic candidates and elected officials from all across the country. My simple rule is that if I can't vote for them, I don't send them anything. I don't like it when outsiders buy our local elections, and I don't feel like I have a right to contribute to an election I can't vote in. And it pisses me off the way that some of these folks apparently beg, borrow, share, and steal the email lists. I've been trying to unsubscribe, but it's a losing battle.
INSIDE LISD Community Leadership Program Today was the kickoff of the program that Julie Foughty wrote about here. I'd say there were about 35 of us in the program, mostly parents in the district, and mostly people who have been active enough in their kids campuses to have the principals recommend them for the program. I figure I'm there because they know I'm going to watch them closely and raise hell from time to time, and they probably would like to have me at least get their perspective. I'm of course happy to do that.
It was interesting to just sort of sit back and listen when we broke out into focus groups to talk about some perceptions about the district. I know you're not gonna believe this, but I pretty much was low key and just let other people talk. What I found out was that the other members of my group didn't have as much concern over finances as I do.
It was also interesting to hear each of the approximately 234 superintendents, deputy superintendents, and assistant superintendents introduce themselves and explain their role in operating the district. At some point, I think it would be really interesting to interview each of them in depth. Of course, since I'm not a "credentialed member of print or television broadcast media", that may not be an option.
It was also good to listen to these other members say a few words about themselves and talk about how they are involved, and what their stake is with LISD. I'm inspired by the fact that our district has so many dedicated volunteers. There's not much more demanding than some of the PTA positions these folks do, and I'm grateful for their involvement. Very few institutions of our communities would function well at all without volunteers.
“I am disappointed that the Obama Administration has refused to offer Texans the needed disaster declaration and assistance. Tropical Storm Hermine caused eight deaths, widespread flooding leading to more than 100 high water rescues, over 100 residences were destroyed and thousands of citizens were without water and electricity. This storm left behind a disaster – there is no doubt, and it is the responsibility of the federal government to aid the state and counties in clean-up and repairing the damage the storm caused. The fact that the federal government sent $18 million in social security checks to dead people but refuses to help Texas with the damage caused by Tropical Storm Hermine is outrageous.”
Today in a statement released to the press, Burgess' opponent in the November election, Democrat Neil Durrance of Denton slammed Burgess for being one of only 37 Congressmen who voted against the very funding that FEMA uses to provide disaster relief, if the declaration had been made. The Homeland Security Funding Bill (H.R. 2892) passed with almost 92% support.
Durrance said Burgess’ stance is hypocritical because the incumbent Congressman voted against the very aid funding that would help North Texans.
Burgess voted against $2 billion in funding for FEMA disaster relief, $844 million to operate FEMA, $200 million for FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, and against $330 million in funding for Emergency Management Performance Grants for state and local government disaster mitigation and preparedness programs.