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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 11, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4 — Herald-Zeitung — Wednesday, May 11, 2011 FORUM Other Opinion This editorial was originally published in the May 7 Tort Worth Star-Tekgram. Texas needs new, fair finance bill The endgame has begun for this session of the Texas Legislature. .Some major bills have made their way through the process and have gone to the governor's office, along with stacks of minor hills. But even though there are only three weeks to go, don’t start thinking the biennial lawfest is about over. Reaching agreement on how to finance public schools could still become the session’s Achilles’ heel. The House and Senate have passed separate versions of the next two-year state budget, and the measures have been sent to a conference committee. But a separate hill will be required to determine how the money allotted to schools will be distributed among them. With an overall revenue shortfall estimated at $27 billion when the session began, school districts have taken a big hit in the draft budgets. Administrators across the state have begun planning and implementing cutbacks, including layoffs. It’s not smart for them to wait for the Legislature to give them final numbers on just how bad the budget cuts will he. I here are sharp differences between the school finance bills that await floor action in the House and Senate. With adjournment set for May 30 and end-of-session deadlines beginning to kick in, this is when things get really interesting. I he I louse bill, HR 2485 by Rep. Scott 1 lochberg, D-1 iouston, would trim $7.8 billion from school spending. In the Senate, SB 22 by Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, would cut $4 billion. There’s more to it than the numbers. Hochberg’s bill eliminates funding for programs and the special treatment some districts have received. He has compared the bill, which he admits he doesn’t like, to the sinking Titanic, saying “no matter whether a district has been in first class or steerage, they all end up in the same life boats.” Remember that description. It's important. Shapiro took a different tack. She sorted through various parts of the .state’s Byzantine school finance formula and changed parts here and there. Some analysts have criticized the result as favoring districts at the top of current per*student funding levels and taking too much from those at the bottom. The school finance plan adopted by die Legislature in 2006 aimed to reduce funding disparities, but it ended up freezing others in place and delivering much higher per-student funding to some schools. That’s part of the current political divide over new finance plans. Some districts fare better under Hochberg’s plan and others under Shapiro’s. For example, most large Tarrant County districts — Arlington, Birdville, Fort Worth, Hurst-Hiiless-Bed-ford and Keller — would be better off under the Hochberg plan. But Carroll, Grapevine-Colleyville and Northwest (along with Dallas and Houston) do better with Shapiro's. I his is the Legislatures Tea Party session, the one that was supposed to follow the sharply conservative twist of die November elections. Ihe House, overwhelmingly Republican, has planted itself deep in the cut-big-government philosophy. Still, legislators tend to go with what’s best for their home school districts. That will be the test for this Legislature during the next three weeks. Despite the advances in putting together a budget, as Shapiro has told the Senate Finance Committee, without a school finance bill “none of this works.” And remember Hochberg’s comment about all dis-tricts being in the same life boat? It’s important because if they are not, if the new school finance bill again leaves some districts well off and others comparatively poor, history has shown the whole mess will end up in a long and expensive lawsuit. Administrators and supporters of some districts are already contemplating that step. Herald-Zeitung Serving New BraunfHt anil < umitl Grunty finer IBS! New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852, New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged tn 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958 Editor and Publisher Managing Editor Circulation Director Business Manager Doug Toney Autumn Phillips Jeff Fowler Rosie Willingham Tye Preston Library volunteer finds benefits to sharing time with others By Linda C. Jacobson Special to the Herald-Zeitung In the short time Denise Taylor has been volunteering at Tye Preston Memorial Library, there’s one thing she has learned: Sometimes you get more than you give. Denise and her husband moved to Canyon Lake in the fall of2009 from Liberty, where they lived for 25 years and raised their children. Last year, she began volunteering at TPML. “I like the interaction with the library patrons,” she said when asked what she liked best about being a volunteer. "Sometimes, instead of me helping them, they are helping me — with book and movie suggestions and great local information.” Of course, if you ask the library staff about Denise, they are quick to point out she is ready and willing to take on any task. Which is why she is being honored as TPML Volunteer of the Month for May. Like many of the volunteers, Denise has a love of reading. She also brings 19 years of teaching experience to the job. “I have taught elementary, junior high and the last nine were at Liberty High School, where I taught biology and family consumer sciences,” Denise said. She also was the dance and drill team director. "Oh, yes, and now, I am one of those teachers currently looking for a teaching assignment,” she added. When she’s not spending time at the library, the active grandmother of two said she works in the garden, but is finding it challenging since moving to Canyon Lake. I like to garden but I am having to learn how to garden all over again due to the deer and rocks,” she said. TYE PRESTON MEMORIAL Library Coming up LUNCH-N-LEARN: Savings Without Sacrifice, noon to 1 p.m. May 18. Matt Gonzales with PEC will show you how to keep your electric bill down this summer without giving up the comforts you’re used to. MASTER GARDENERS MONTHLY PROGRAM: 3 p.m. May 18. Rich Bradley will talk about raised bed gardening. COFFEE WITH THE AUTHOR: Robin Allen will talk about and sign copies of her just-published book, “IfYou Can’t Stand the Heat.” Starts at 6 p.m. May 24. • • • • • Tye Preston Memorial Library is at 16311 South Access Road, Canyon Lake, and is open 9 a.m. tô 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. All programs are free and open to the public. For information, call (830) 964-3744 or visit, where you can sign up for the TPML monthly newsletter and learn of the new and exciting programs, books and other resources and activities that are available. The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, May 11, the 131st day of 2011. There are 234 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On May 11, 1981, legendary reggae artist Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital at age 36. On this date: In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam to become governor of New Today in History Netherland. In 1811, conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker were bom in Siam (now Thailand), giving rise to the term “Siamese twins.” In 1858, Minnesota became the 32nd state of the Union. In 1911, actor-comedian Phil Silvers was born in New York City. In 1946, the first CARE packages arrived in Europe, at Le Havre, France. In 1950, President Harry S. Truman formally dedicated the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state. In 1960, Israeli agents captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1973, charges against Daniel EUsberg for his role in the “Pentagon Papers” case were dismissed by Judge William M. Byrne, who cited government misconduct. Free speech and free press in a future Palestinian U.N. state? As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presses for the IJ.N. Security Council to recognize, and therefore establish, a new Palestinian state in September, neither he — nor the growing number of U.N. members approving this addition — have said anything about the present state of freedom of speech and press under either the I’alestin-ian Authority (PA) or Hamas-led Gaza, l/ximing is a recent draft agreement between the PA and Hamas to form a transitional unity government (Washington Post, April 27). On the West Bank, in Ramallah, an organization very concerned with the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and press in, at last, an internationally authorized Palestinian state, is the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA). Among its goals: "Promotion (of) a culture of freedom of opinion ami expression, and working NATHiNTOFF .Nat Henlojfisa nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. to develop legislation for these rights” as well as “contributing to human rights defense and democracy to enhance in Palestinian society” (, April 25). On March 15, MADA reported that Gaza “internal security forces attacked a youth sit-in that was demanding an end to the then internal political divisions between Fatah and Hamas.” A Russian TV cameraman was also beaten on the scene. A Palestinian journalist tried to help him: “so they then began beating me with batons and sticks despite being fully aware that I am a journalist." Ah, but that's Gaza — a police state. What about the West Bank where the Palestinian Authority and its Fatah political party are the government? Will the U.N. voting on a Palestinian state be shown Human Rights Watch’s April 6 report: No News Is Good News: Abuses Against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces”? Not only Gaza’s. This report documents cases in which Abbas' Palestinian Authority security also “tortured, beat and arbitrarily detained journalists, confiscated their equipment.” This authoritarian contempt for free expression is getting worse and worse. Human Rights Watch cites the Palestinian journalism watchdog, MADA, as revealing that: “The number of physical attacks, arrests, detentions, arbitrary confiscations of equipment, and other violations of journalists’ rights by Palestinian security forces increased in both Gaza and the West Bank in 2010 by 45 percent over the previous year.” Human Rights Watch continues: “Like other Palestinian victims of abuse by the Palestinian Authority's security services, these journalists confront a virtual wall of impunity when they try to hold their abusers accountable, leaving the victims (journalists) feeling vulnerable to further harassment and abuse.” Once the Palestinian Authority and Gaza’s Hamas are indeed welded into one actual Palestinian state, this new U.N. member nation’s brutal enforcers of press loyalty will try to shroud them- selves with total immunity for what they do to Palestinian journalists. Human Rights Watch “advises the United States and Europe to make any future funding decisions contingent on the Palestinian Authority taking responsibility and correcting their actions” (, April 6). This U.S. funding to the PA for security and program assistance, along with $150 million in direct budgetary support, adds to the European Union’s contribution of $315 million for security assistance. Even without this funding, Arab states would take up the slack. But will the United Nations, welcoming this newborn Palestinian state into its ranks of sovereign nations, actually limit Palestinian sovereignty by mandating that it have, and protect, a free press and free speech? That would be astonishingly unprecedented! What is most likely to happen if the state of Palestine takes a seat in the United Nations is that its suppression of free press and speech will quickly help entitle it to a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, alongside such libertarian members of this shadowy authority as the People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia and soon Syria. United Stato» mmm Government PRESIDENT ■ Barack Obama 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE..... ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349 6753 B John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN B Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2409 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web addrees: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fex: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 615 E. Houston St. San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR HOW TO CONTACT Texas Government immillimi ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Doug Miller EXT E 1.216 P.O. Box 2910 AustinTX 78768-2910 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 463-5896 STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 925 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: 888-824-6984 E-mail address: jeff. wentworth NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL 424 S. Castell Ave. RO. Box 311747, New Braunfels, TX 78131-1747 (830) 221-4000 ■ Mayor Bruce Boyer [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4507 B Dist. 1 Councilor Richard Zapata rzapata @ Telephone: Extension 4501 ■ Dist. 2 Councilor Mark Goodner mgoodner @ Telephone: Extension 4502 B Dist. 3 Councilor Mike Ybarra [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4503 B Dist. 4 Councilor Sandy Nolte [email protected] Telephone: Extension 4504 ■ Dist. 6 Councilor Kathleen Krueger kkrueger @ Telephone: Extension 4505 B Dist. 6 Councilor Steven Diqges sdigges@ Telephone: Extension 4506 Comal County Commissioners' Court 199 Main Plaza New Braunfels,Tx 78130 (830) 221-1100 ■ COUNTY JUDGE SHERMAN KRAUSE [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1105 ■ PCT. 1 COMMISSIONER DONNA ECCLES0N [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1101 ■ PCT. 2 COMMISSIONER SCOTT HAAG [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1102 ■ PCT. 3 COMMISSIONER GREG PARKER [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1103 ■ PCT. 4 COMMISSIONER JAN KENNADY [email protected] Telephone: (830) 221-1104 ;