New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 21, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
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Serving New Braunfels and Comal since 1852.
Vol. 152, No. 292 12 pages, 2 sections
herald-zeitung.com I 8
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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2003
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Area volleyball teams are striving for more than than just state tournament berths. Pogo SA
ISDs ante up for teacher training trips
League’s study examines county growth boom
By Ron Maloney
The League ofWomenVot-ers-Comai Area will initiate a two-year study Thursday with a panel discussion titled “County in Crisis."
The meeting is open to the public.
Panelists include County Engineer Tom Horns eth, New Braunfels City Planner Frank Robbins, former New Braunfels Parks Director Iris Neffendorf and planner Donald Stence.
Comal, one of Texas’ fastest-growing counties, is heavily impacted by growth from nearby San Antonio and Austin, but county government has little authority to regulate it.
At each legislative session
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: GVTC Auditorium. 36101 FM 3169
for more than a decade, county commissioners have sought — but not received — additional land use authority.
Attendees Thursday will learn what regulatory authority counties have, how city and county officials plan for growth, hdw government balances public interest with property rights and what plans are being made for parks and recreation in New Braunfels and Comal County.
Suzan Pitman with the LWV said the study could result in proposed legislation in two years.
"We’re excited about this,” Pitman said. “There are a lot of frustrated people out there."
CISD parent meetings begin today
By Dylan Jimtnez
What local school districts spend on professional development
Local teachers get the lion’s share of professional development dollars, although two teachers recently were not hilly compensated for such trips.
TWo teachers, one from Comal Independent School District and another from New Braunfels ISD, recently received fellowships allowing them to travel this month to Japan to learn about culture.
CISD paid for a substitute during the three-week trip, but the teacher will have to use her vacation-leave days.
The NBISD teacher used a combi* nation of professional development days and cost-of-substitute days—in which a teacher is paid but has to pay for the substitute teacher.
District officials said they decide on a case-by-case basis whether to compensate teachers who solicit travel opportunities.
Both districts spend more professional development dollars on teacher training than for administrative employees, according to school district financial records.
“We want our people to stay current,” said Roselyn Bratcher, NBISD assistant superintendent for instructional services.
Professional development helps teachers stay up-to-date on the latest methods and helps focus teachers on planning instruction for state exams, she said.
“We really make a concerted effort to make sure everything people go to is in line with our goals," Bratcher said.
CISD board president Dora Gonzales said without professional development educators could become stagnant.
I $91,818 on professional development travel expenses
I $52,323 on teacher training and instruction
I $10,022 on general administration __
I $4,775 on trustees CISD I $147,672 on professional development travel expenses
I $80,534 on teacher training and instruction
I $5,906 on general administration ______
I $5,192 on trustees
See TEACHERS* Page 3A
Willie Fishbeck and Sandra Haag:
B In 2002. 4,611 bad check cases were referred to Dib Waldrip s hot check unit.
■ Of those. 509 resulted in theft by check prosecutions.
B Of the rest. $168,605 was collected in restitution. $44,595 in merchant's 'bad check' fees and $52,321 in fees for the district attorney s office.
■ In 2003 to date, there have been 3,366 cases resulting In 310 prosecutions
■ So far. Waldrip has collected $148,392 in restitution. $32,813 in merchant s fees and $40,082 in district attorney's fees.
accomplish goals throughout the school year, Principal Tamara Lind said. “As they move into junior high and high school, we want them to take that ownership, because the parents start to take less of a role."
The parental role becomes one of support at the middle school and high school level, as children are able to more independently participate in their education, Lind said.
Conferences are not mandatory at the secondary level. Educators target students having problems.
Teachers start with the first progress report, setting up conferences to help improve grades before report cards, said Carolyn Pittman, Smithson Valley Middle School principal.
“lf a student is failing, we need to get die home and the school working on the same weaknesses so we can get those kids to passing,” Pittman said.
Photos by REBECCA 8. ROGERS/Herald-Zeitung
(Above) Wilburn ‘Willie" Fishbeck stamps paperwork on hot check cases referred to the district attorney's office from merchants who can't collect the money they're owed. (Below) Sandra Haag counts money collected from bad checks.
Sometimes it just takes one phone call to collect
By Dylan Jimenez
By Ron Mdoncy
Maybe It was dose to the end of a bad week—or a bad month.
Maybe you didn’t balance your checkbook quite right.
Whatever the reason, a check bounced, and the merchant sent you a registered letter saying he expected payment and a $30 fee —that’s on top of the fee the bank might have charged.
Whatever the reason, you didn’t pay it, and the district attorney’s office sent you a letter giving you IO days to pay up — with even more fees.
If you get that letter or a call from Wilburn “Willie" Fischbeck or Sandra Haag of the district attorney's office “hot check unit,” it is time to pay up.
lf you don't, depending on the amount of your bad checks, you’ll go to court on “theft by check” charges, and you could pay fines or do time.
Fischbeck and Haag collect
thousands of dollars in bad checks and a like amount of fees each year. They file charges in the county's courts for misdemeanor or felony prosecution on nearly every one that goes unpaid.
Fischbeck is no stranger to law enforcement or public service. He was a city councilman for nine years and mayor pro tem for a couple years.
“I went to work for Sheriff Walter Fellers in 1953,” Fischbeck said. “They called them ‘special deputies’ at that time.”
A special deputy is what is called a “reserve deputy" today, someone interested enough in the community and law enforcement to work for free — which Fischbeck did for about 36 years.
After that, Fischbeck did a four-year tour as a deputy constable before moving to the district attorney’s office IO years ago.
About eight years ago, Haag joined him.
Beginning today, Comal Independent School District schools will be released early for the first of three days of parent-teacher conferences.
As students advance through the public school system, the role of parent-teacher conferences changes.
Conferences introduce parents of elementary students to public education and teacher communication. Older elementary students must be equipped to take a more active role in parent-teacher communication and in their own academic success as they prepare to enter middle school.
Adon Seay Intermediate School educators use “three-way conferences” with students, parents and teachers to introduce fifth- and sixth-graders to their roles in their education.
Students set goals and work with teachers to assess progress and
Merchants, businesspeople or private citizens who receive bad checks bring them to the DA’s office if they are unsuccessful in collecting through a registered demand letter.
See HOT CHECKS. Page 3A
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