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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 20, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Thursday, January 20, 2011 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 5 the best dentistry in Life is Free! 0* i WORRY FREE... Dental plan available for those without insurance OUCH FREE... Gentle cleanings from our professional staff HASSLE FREE... Walk-ins always welcome We're a Preferred Provider for HMO's and PPO's. GRAND OPENING Celebration-Offer! $49 , Exam, Digital X-Rays i ; & Cleaning ; | Over $100 in savings, in absence of perio I disease, new patients only.    » Start your Journey to Health at the New Braunfels Family YMCA. With our ActivTrax program, a new computerized personal training and nutritional system, Commit to be Fit program and personal training, keeping your health and wellness goals will be easier than ever. JOIN IN THE MONTH OF JANUARY AND PAY NO JOINING FGEt Qffor valid until i/31/2011. Financial Assistance is available through our Open Doors Scholarship Program y*V A Miss»»*: 14 M .>ud*o CAHtf*«« prmCJfln H» ptY (k’.»    fMf    buiM    spu    i    {.    iMy    '•»r    .ill, of Greafer Sa« AwfonfoBECK CONTINUED FROM Page 1 292 texts during a five-hour period on Dec. 2. I he mother of one of Beck’s students at OakRun Middle School said the incident was distressing for the students. “It had a really huge impact on my child, because my child had a lot of trust in (Beck). “A lot of parents and kids were in disbelief, because he was so well-liked and so well-trusted. “I think the school district has done a good job as far as having notified the kids and the parents, and that made the process go as smooth as it could go... but the kids were hurt. It all boils down to a violation of their trust, in my opinion," she said. Beck has been employed with the district for three years, first at New Braunfels Middle School and then at OakRun, where he taught health and sponsored a peer mediation group. He also coached seventh grade football, eighth grade boys basketball and track and field at OakRun. He was placed on paid administrative leave by the NBISD on Dec. 3, pend ing the results of the district’s internal investigation. Beck has been charged with online solicitation of a minor under 14, a second degree felony that carries a sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine. He posted a $25,000 bond shortly after being hooked into Comal County Jail on Ian. 4. Beck’s alleged conduct broke rules outlined in NBISD’s Employee Code of Conduct, which prohibits employees from sending, displaying or downloading offensive messages or pictures. It also prohibits "soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student." The board member confirming Beck’s termination declined to comment on that issue and declined to say what the board might have discussed in coming to its decision. Other NBISD Board action: • Finalized the official approval for the sale of school building and refunding bonds sanctioned during the November bond election. A total of $40,975,000 in bonds was authorized for sale. • Set a May election for Board of Trustees for Districts 2 and 4. Karly voting with be held from May 2-11 at the Comal County Courthouse. The general election will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. • Evaluated New Braunfels Superintendent Randy Moczygemba and awarded him a one-year contact extension. Moczygemba’s new contract was extended through the 2013-14 school year, ending June 30, 2014. I he hoard extended Moczygemba’s contract but did not discuss adjusting his salary, which is currently $174,044 per year. • Voted to spend about $16,000 for a new pole vaulting pit for use at Unicom Stadium by high school and middle school, track and field athletes. • Approved $179,754 for the lease and installation of four portable buildings at the high school for the 2011-12 school year. The buildings will feature eight classrooms and accommodate 200 students. Included in the cost were miscellaneous infrastructure and plumbing equipment, including fees to install the additions. • Honored all-state academic athletes in high school football and volleyball. ables. That figure amounts to almost a third of discretionary state spending in the current budget. About a third of the revenue shortfall was caused by low-er-than-expected sales tax receipts during the recession. But most of it was created by the loss of one-time revenue used in the last budget to pay for recurring expenses. Along with some state savings, federal stimulus money was used to plug a hole that was created when the state overhauled the business tax structure and the school finance system in 2006. T he new tax structure did not generate enough money to offset decreases in school property tax rates. The plan would slash $772 :< million for Texas colleges and universities, including nearly $100 million for flagship schools Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin. The two-year colleges that would be closed are Bra-zosport College in Lake Jackson, Frank Phillips College in Borger, Odessa College and Ranger College. The state's contribution to the state employee retirement fund would be reduced from 6.95 percent to 6 percent, less than what is needed to maintain the fund, according the Legislative Budget Board. The base budget proposes a similar cut in contributions to the Teacher Retirement Fund. While almost every other state agency would see a reduction in employees, the average number of full-time employees in Perry's office over the next two fiscal years would go to 132 from an average of 120. The base budget does not use money from the state's Rainy Day Fund, expected to have a balance of $9.4 billion at the end of the next biennium.BUDGET CONTINUED FROM Page 1 Republican Rep. Jim Pitts, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, outlined the plan to lawmakers Wednesday and took some pointed questions. "There's nothing in this bill that's not painful," Pitts said in response to questions from a lawmaker upset about a community college targeted for closure. "I wish I had a crystal ball that said what's going to happen by May." In education alone, the proposed budget would cut money for arts education, prekindergarten programs^ teacher incentive pay andj dozens of other programs. Financial aid programs like T exas Grants would be closed to new students and funding to colleges and universities would be decreased significantly. The proposal would make public school finance reform legislation almost inevitable, because there's not enough money allotted for schools based on funding fonnulas in the law. And even though Republican leaders have vowed not to raise taxes, the budget proposes millions of dollars in new fees. For instance, state employees and retirees who smoke would pay a $30-a-month "tobacco user monthly premium surcharge" for their health insurance and the attorney general's office would charge an "annual child support service fee," a "monthly child support processing fee" and an "electronic filing of documents fee." The budget draft, which is expected to be filed as legislation in the House this week, would spend $73.2 billion in state money and $156.4 billion in all funds for the 2012-13 budget period. The proposal would further reduce reimbursement rates by 10 percent for physicians, hospitals and nursing homes that participate in Medicaid — a decrease that could eventually dry up participation in the health care program for poor and disabled Texans. In all, $2.3 billion would be cut from Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and other health and human services. The plan would eliminate 9,600 state jobs over the next two years, including more than 1,500 jobs in the prison system. The Department of Criminal Justice faces $459 million in cuts, including a 14 percent reduction in psychiatric and pharmacy care for inmates. Democrats immediately attacked the budget as inhumane. "We're already as a state 50th in per capita in spending," said Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio. "So you've got to ask yourself when you see a base budget like this, at what point is this budget akin to asking an anorexic person to lose more weight?" The draft is just die beginning of a long process, which probably won't be finalized until next summer when Gov. Rick Perry expects to sign the Texas budget for 2012-13. Perry has downplayed the state's budget woes, telling The AP recendy that the shortfall is "not the end of the world" and saying the cuts would not be "apocalyptic." Some analysts say the true shortfall could be closer to $27 billion when accounting for enrollment growth in public schools and on Medicaid rolls, cost increases and other vari-CHIEF CONTINUED FROM Page 1 At that time, female police chiefs were very scarce, she recalled. "It’s more common now than it was. It was unheard of 20 years ago,” she said. “Tliere still are some barriers, but for the most part people are looking at the person and not their gender." Now 61, O’Conner worked toward a master’s in social work at the University of Houston, where she received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and public administration, graduating from college at the same time her oldest child graduated from high school. “Don’t ever say you can't,” she said. “We sell ourselves short too many times, you know ... I think women face more challenges, but some of them are (self-inflicted) O’Conner understands some of those challenges. She was a single mother for 13 years. “I’d have to say the rewards far outweigh the challenges,’’ she said. “We grew up together in many ways.” Her five children, now grown, range from 33 to 42, successful in fields such as law enforcement, the military and education — and she enjoys her five grandchildren (and one on the way.) O’Conner and her husband of 18 years — a reserve officer for the (bmal County Sheriff’s Office — moved to Canyon Dike in 1998. "From the time I came to (lomal County, Sheriff I (older gave me many opportunities," she recalled. She served on the Narcotics Task Force, as a school resource officer, as a DARK officer, in the criminal investigation division as a detective, and as a patrol supervisor. “Sheriff Holder always encouraged me to get involved in the community. I can truly say he was a mentor,” she said. In the Garden Ridge PD, O’Conner came aboard as an investigative detective, before being promoted up the ranks. Her philsophy of management stems from years of experience in working with people, as well as with her own family. "You have to find the balance— fair but firm,” she said. “The humor becomes your defense mechanism in how you respond to things. I really believe being a police officer is a ministry of its own. “Being a police officer is about gaining compliance. That’s on the job, that’s in the community and that's with your personnel," she said. As chief of police in a city on the cusp of the San Antonio metroplex, and sandwiched between Bexar County and Austin, O'Conner and her department of 14 officers feel the effects of urban life and crime. “ The corridor between Austin and San Antonio is seeing a lot of big*city crime coming our way,” she said. "Law enforcement agencies work closely together,” she said, noting collaboration with Bexar county agencies on recovering property stolen from San Antonio and in monitoring crime trends. O’Conner applauds the Comal County Criminal District Attorneys office efforts to make no-refusal for suspected drunk drivers the policy year-round. “I’m thrilled that we re making that kind of progress in this city,” she said. The Garden Ridge Citizens On Patrol (COPs) help keep peace in the city, as does the Gonial (bounty (Crimes toppers, she said. O’Conner said her philosophy of police work could be summed up in two elements: Community policing and training. "I don’t believe you can ever go wrong by giving people training," she said. “And while a lot of people don’t see it, 1 see law enforcement as helping people ... I have a wonderful team of officers."COUNCIL CONTINUED FROM Page 1 analysis of the facility and we’re assisting with upgrading the security needs. We’re going to be sitting down with the council and reviewing that... looking at the whole thing,” he said. Jurors and other visitors to Comal County’s district courts step through similar detective gateways. In the wake of recent shootings, security measures are being examined — and beefed up—at school boards and city councils and state capitols around the country, from Gulf Shores, Ala. to Davenport, Iowa. Jared Loughner’s attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, a shooting that killed six others, is just the most recent example of the danger of political lime-light. On Dec. 14, Clay Duke fired shots at school board members in a Panama City, Fla. school board meeting before taking his own life. On Feb. 5,2008, a shooter at a Kirkwood, Mo. city council meeting critically injured the mayor and killed two police officers and three council members. In San Marcos, the city has taken steps to increase secu- rity at city council meetings, including posting police officers in the city meetings, said Melissa Millecam, the city’s public information officer. In the Comal County city of Garden Ridge, a 28-camera closed-circuit video monitoring system put in place by retired chief Victor Matta watches continually over city hall, the city chambers, the police department, the elementary school and the public works complex. T he system is constantly recording all the goings on — and automatically keeps digital recordings available for several weeks, said Police Chief Donna O’Conner. 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