New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 30, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 6A — 11 KRA! l>-ZHITUN(i — Sunday, July 30, 2000Opinions Forum Letters
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New Braunfels Zeitungwas founded 1852: New Bnuinteh Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 11>5S.
Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Michael Cary, News Editor www.herald-zeitung.com (830) 625-9144
Conserving water crucial
People living in the Central and South Texas region might not realize it. but they are living in what is technically identified as a semi-arid desert.
Semi-arid means we are prone to drought conditions periodically.
The drought of record dates back to the 1950s. That is the benchmark drought used by water management officials to determine how much water can be allotted to users in the area. It is a very complicated concept.
Currently, water conservation is left up to the various municipalities scattered throughout Central and South Texas. San Antonio has different stages of conserv ation, which surrounding communities mimic instead of devising their own plans.
New Braunfels has its own plan, as does Seguin, San Marcos,
Blanco. Johnson City, and etcetera. For instance. San Antonio has entered Stage II conservation measures, while Johnson City merely is urging its citizens to voluntarily conserve water.
Water conservation plans in Texas are about as standardized as computer systems have been during the last two decades.
Senate Bill I is a response to this semi-arid region's susceptibility to drought years and limited water supplies. (Some people believe the Edwards Aquifer has more water in it than the Pacific Ocean.)
Senate Bill I establishes 16 water planning regions statewide, which must develop a water plan that addresses all the water needs in the region through 2050. It also must address large and small local water needs.
As this regional planning is under way. we urge water authorities to develop a comprehensive water conservation plan that is applicable throughout the region — one that is perhaps more stringent than current water restrictions used by San Antonio or other communities.
The City of Garden Ridge offers tips on w ater conservation.
• Train your lawn to survive on one watering per week.
• Use a broom instead of a hose to clean up garden clippings.
• Xeriscape your landscape w ith desert-like plants.
• Consider using turf grasses such as Zoysia. Bermuda and buffalo grass instead of St. Augustine. They require less water and w ill not die during a moderate drought.
Remember, we live in a desert.
Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Sunday, July 30, the 212th day of 2000. There are 154 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On July 30. 1975, former
Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit — although he is presumed dead, his remains have never been found.
On this date:
In 1729, the city of Baltimore was founded.
in 1792, the French national
anthem “La Marseillaise," by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, was first sung in Paris.
In 1844, the New York Yacht Club was founded.
In 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces tried to take Petersburg, Va., by exploding a mine under C onfederate defense lines; the attack failed.
In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women's auxiliary agency in the Navy known as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, WAVES for short.
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School districts face obstacles in hiring, keeping good teachers
Across the nation many school districts are facing the dilemma of hiring top-notch teachers while facing a number of obstacles including a limited teaching pool, shrinking budgets, increasing student enrollment, and a record number of teachers retiring.
All of these obstacles are becoming hurdles for administrators in the New Braunfels Independent School District as they search for quality teachers while looking for ways to provide a competitive salary for new educators, as well as for our veterans.
We are very proud of the work and dedication exhibited by the more than 400 teachers the New' Braunfels ISD employs. That is why members of the school board work to retain our teachers and try to provide a competitive salary. This is getting harder to do and for the 2000-2001 school year all district employees w ill get only a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment, which does not meet the national average of about 3 percent.
While the Texas Legislature sets a minimum starting salary ($24,240 in 2000-2001) for teachers w ith a bachelor’s degree, individual districts can set starting salaries above the state base, depending on available revenue. Districts w itll large industrial/business tax bases can generate more tax revenue to offer competitive salaries. In NB1SD, the majority of our budget is borne
by the residential taxpayer because of our limited industrial tax base. The reason is that more than 80 percent of the taxable property in the district is comprised of single and multi-family dwellings.
Members of the New' Braunfels ISD Board of Trustees voted in June to raise the starting salary to $28,500. This salary still falls short of a salary of $35,000 offered to starting teachers at Randolph Independent School District, $33,000 offered at Northeast Independent School District, $31,000 given at Schertz-Cibolo ISD, or $29,000 offered in Seguin ISD.
Many new teachers and veteran teachers opt for positions in neighboring districts where salaries are higher and signing bonuses are becoming more available.
The biggest challenge our principals now' face is hiring educators who will fill our vacancies and teach and inspire a new generation of children.
Research does indicate there is a shortage
of qualified graduates from colleges and universities entering the teaching field. Many college students are not becoming teachers because they are being attracted to fields which offer more money. In Texas, research predicts that more than 80,000 teachers will be needed to fill positions statewide, yet the state ranks 38th in the nation in terms of teacher pay.
Our relationship with Southwest Texas State University has been crucial in that it continues to provide a flow of high-quality graduates for teaching positions in the NB1SD. This comes in return for our cooperation w ith their internship and student teaching programs.
We do not want to get into the situation where we are employing unlicensed, untrained, and unprepared teachers because qualified teachers are not available. This will have a direct impact on the kind of education we can provide for our children. We want to ensure that NBISD students are taught by teachers who hold the certificate for the class they are teaching.
Our principals are taking the responsibility of selecting new teachers very seriously, even during tough budget times. We want to attract the teachers who your children will remember as “the best.”
(Ron Reaves is superintendent of New Braunfels Independent School District.)
Got Something To Say?
The New Braunfels I lerald-Zeitung encourages letters on any public issue.
The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, sty le, punctuation and known factual errors.
Letters should be kept to 250 words.
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Mail letters to:
Letters to the Editor do the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 606-3413 e-mail: [email protected]
generation won’t appreciate unless we educate
Going to a movie is not a regular pastime of mine. I go once, maybe twice, a year. But upon returning from vacation recently, on a very hot Saturday, spending the afternoon eating popcorn in an air-conditioned theater sounded like a great way to end my two weeks off.
My choice was “The Patriot,” a movie starring Mel Gibson that portrays a man and his family’s horrifying yet inspiring involvement in our country's Revolutionary War.
Maybe I'm of the old school, but I prefer my movie heroes and heroines strong, principled and clothed. This movie met those criteria.
The movie has received mixed reviews Some have criticized the depiction of the British as too brutal and evil and that the movie had tex) much violence.
I irst, the British were not* saints Ibis
was a violent era and a horribly violent war as all are.
And as for the reasons to revolt, some were ideal, some were practical and some were for profit. Those issues were raised, sometimes subtly, and sometimes over-dramatically.
Yet the movie, if one allowed his or herself the opportunity, provided a reminder of how much we owe our ancestors tor their courage to wage war over principle I he loss of friends, family and property to secure liberty and self
government should place a responsibility on each of us to protect the rights for all Americans.
Yet early on in the movie, an overheard comment from a teen-ager gave me pause.
The high school-aged girl was heard asking, after watching scenes that included both British redcoats and the tattered-blue uniforms of the Continental Army, ‘‘Which side are we for?”
Throughout the rest of the movie, I wondered how many other people in the theater, especially the younger ones, lacked the historical knowledge to appreciate the causes behind the conflict.
If they did not understand the Revolutionary War, they surely did not understand the nature of the underlying tension between a French officer assigned to the C ontinental Army and
the Gibson character, Benjamin Martin, w ho had been a hero of the French and Indian War. Maybe to many in the theater, this was some made-up plot and this was just another shoot’em up carnage movie.
Without a historical perspective, this movie was nothing more than entertainment — another macho, violent thriller that had no moral meaning, no lesson to be learned for the uninformed.
Gibson’s character seemed to be loosely based on Francis Marion, the legendary Swamp Fox, whose hero status was enhanced and popularized by the Disney television folks back in the 1950s or 1960s.
Yet one cannot credit a television series with my generation’s education. For those that had televisions in the 1950s, you were considered fortunate if you got all three channels that were
available at the time. Now there is the History channel, public television and a myriad of other outlets for education, including the Internet. There are more ways than ever to educate, yet many of these youngsters seem to know less.
Recently, according to an acquaintance, Jay Leno asked a young person during his show who the leader of the United States was during World War II.
The young lady replied with a question, “Was it George Washington?”
Why? Is it the culture? The educational system? Parents? What is the cause of this failure to educate and appreciate?
If you have a child at home, ask them about the American Revolution. Find out for yourself. See if you think they know as much as you did at the same age.
I hope you are pleasantly surprised.
(Doug Toney is editor and publisher of the Herald-Zeitung.)