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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 29, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas FRIDAY, JULY 29,2005 SPORTS ONE MORE The New Braunfels Junior Little League team advances to the state championship game. Page 5A FORUM COLUMN Columnist Ann Coulter says Republicans can't trust Supreme Court nominees. Page 4A ll...11,1, 111 Ii 11111 mill 1111 m 780 wa®y™ EL PASO TX 79903 rursiu Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 216 14 pages, 2 sections 500 www: I 56825 00001' Partly Cloudy High Low 94 73 Details 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 5B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3B RPITrustees applaud superintendent choice By Melissa Johnson Staff Writer Marc Walker is in line to become superintendent of Comal ISO in a matter of weeks, a decision leaders of Pflugerville ISO say is very wise. Pflugerville ISO Board President Kenneth Thompson gave Walker a glowing review and said he was contemplating asking die district to match whatever GISI) offered to keep Walker with PISD. “I am glad for him and sorry for us," Thompson said. “Y’all have gotten a dynamic person to lead the school district.” Thompson, who has worked with Walker for the past five years, describes him as an adaptable administrator who is good at multitasking. “He’s a situational leader," Thompson said. “If he has a project that he knows has to be done, he gets in (he driver’s seat and drives the bus. But I’ve also watched him develop other peo ple and give them opportunity to make decisions. His greatest attribute is that he tries in every capacity to make sure that every student has an opportunity to See CHOICE, Page 2A WAS IT LEGAL? ■ Did trustees violate state law when they chose a finalist? Find out on page 2A OVERFLOWING WITH DUCKS Hundreds go quacky to support senior center By Melissa Johnson Staff Writer While flocks of ducks are a common sight at banda Park, the sunglass-wearing yellow Ribber birds seen Thursday night were a rare occurrence. A few hundred spectators turned out to watch as 10,000 rubber ducks make their summer migration during the annual Comal County Senior Citizen’s Center Lucky Duck Derby. The ducks were launched up river near the train station and slowly made their way under the footbridge to a bright orange net at tire end of the course as the crowd followed close behind. Things got exciting near the finish line as many ducks passed under the trap and continued down river. Volunteer “rescuers" were on hand in kayaks and canoes to save the day, scooping up the ducks that escaped. The first three ducks to make it through a three-foot clear plastic shoot were scooped up by the boaters, thrown to shore and named the official winners. Jeanne Skelton’s lucky duck finished first, earning Skelton $5,(XKJ. brnest Pavlock’s quacker came in second for a prize of $750, and Jon Timmerman’s bird came in third place for a $250 finish. Timmerman, who was informed of his winnings by phone following the race, said the win was entirely unexpected. “I was actually confused when they called," Timmerman said. “I Senate decides to start over on school finance By Jim Vertuno Associated Press Writer MORE MONEY ■ State Rep. Carter Casteel asks the House to provide money for teacher pay raises, see page 3A. AUSTIN —Trying to salvage a crumbling special session on school finance, the Senate opted Thursday night to scrap previous efforts and start over. With a new $2.8 billion spending hill to be filed Friday and hearings next week, the Senate hopes to break the impasse on school finance that has thwarted several regular and special legislative sessions the last two years. “We will begin a new process," said Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, chair of the Senate bducation Committee. “I hope this will satisfy everybody’s desires and needs." The annot incemenf of a new effort came after senators met behind closed doors for more than three hours. And while the Senate’s latest move keeps the session lurching along, it may not push the Legislature far enough into finally passing a bill. The session was on the brink of collapse Tuesday after the House rejected its school spending plan and a critical companion tax bill. Shapiro and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said that even if the Senate passes a new education plan passes, it won t take effect without the companion tax hill that lowers property taxes. The state constitution requires that tax bills originate in the I louse. “You can’t delink them.” Shapiro said. “Property tax reduction is what this whole bill is based on.” See SENATE. Page 3A Taxes rise While tax levels have remained nearly the same, property tax hills have gone up Participants in the annual Lucky Duck Derby follow the horde of ducks as they make their way down the Comal River in Landa Park Thursday evening. Below, Kacy Leavers, 22-months-old, sits with LaDale Brimmage at the Duck Derby. HELP OUT ■The CCSCC needs its ducks back! lf you or a friend took a duck home as a souvenir, please return it to the CCSCC at 655 Landa Street. made a donation at the car wash and pretty much forgot about it until I ended up winning something.” New Braunfels resident Barbara Jack watched her two entries from the comfort of a folding chair on the river bank. Though her ducks didn't bring home any prizes, Jack said she was glad to he able to support the cause. “I know it s a good money-making project for the center and it gets a lot of people out to the park,” Jack said. "I think ail of the kids enjoy watching the ducks go by.” Proceeds from tile $5 per duck sponsorship fee benefit the CCSCC’s Meals on Wheels pro-gram, which provides 3.2(H) meals a month for home-bound seniors. CCSCC Administrative Assistant Gladys Sanchez said she was pleased with the diversity of Thursday night’s turnout. "We got a great response from itll ages,” Sanchez said. “This was an opportunity to reach out to the entire community and let them know what we do.”Comal ISD excels, but New Braunfels ISD struggles in exit-level TAKS test By Melissa Johnson Staff Writer There was a surprising gap between students at Comal ISD and NBISD when exit level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores were released recently. While Comal Independent School District performed above state averages in all four exit level testing areas, New Braunfels ISD fell below state standards in ail subjects. The all-important tests determine whether students successfully complete their high school education. Though both districts allow seniors to participate in graduation ceremonies without passing TAKS, students can not receive their diplomas until they pass every subject area. “T heres a real motivation for them to come back and keep taking TAKS," CISD Director of Communications Kari I iutchison said. Students have five chances to pass the test before graduation and an indefinite number of tries after May of their senior year. During the regular 2004-05 school year testing, 87 percent of CISD juniors passed exit-level science, 90 percent passed math, 93 percent passed English language arts and 96 percent passed social studies. The district consistently outperformed peers at the state level, with statewide passing figures averaging 80 percent for science and math, 88 percent for ELA and 94 percent for social studies. CISD Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction Vickie Pursch attributed the district’s success to the commitment of students, parents, teachers and administrators. “I think we’ve got a lot of great support from the top all the way down,” Pursch said. District wide mock testing of students in ninth through lith grade might have also contributed to ClSD’s high scores. l\irsch said previously released LAKS tests were giv en to students, graded by trained teachers and administrators See TAKS, Page 3A2005 TAKS TEST SCORES I 3rd Grade READING MATH rngppetv" ~uiujuuujumuuThe Uptown Piano Bar is the place for Birthday Parties and Anniversaries Downstairs in the Prince Solms Inn 295 E. San Antonio'' 830 6207600 MUMA#! ;