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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 30, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas 4A g HerakJ-Zettung g Thufeday, October 30,1997 L*» Opinion ■ To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 220. QUOTABLE “Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free.” Theodore Roosevelt 26th U.S. President EDITORIAL Kudos Last spring, a local business committed an act of generosity, for which it did not receive adequate thanks. Roadrunner Travel and owners Sue and Ken Karger donated a $500 travel certificate to the 1997 American Cancer Society Starlight Gala. The certificate was sold in the silent auction on the night of the gala. The generosity of people such as Ken and Sue Karger helped to make the 1997 Starlight Gala the most financially successful ever. A gift of $500 is a significant gift and I want to thank the Kargers and Roadrunner Travel on behalf of the 1997 Gala and especially on behalf of all the folks here in New Braunfels, who will reach out this year and find support from the Comal County chapter of the American Cancer Society. Kathy McLeod Chairman, 1997 American Cancer Society' Starlight Gala The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung wishes to extend kudos to the following: ... Eden Home staff and residents for making use of plants, pets and children to improve their physical and mental health. This therapeutic approach brings deeper meaning into lives of some elderly persons who might have felt they had no meaning in their lives. ...Randy Haugh of Haugh Construction and Development Company in New Braunfels for being elected to the board of directors of the Texas Association of Builders. ... Comal County and George A. Beere for working out a lease agreement for Specht s C rossing in western Comal County on Old Spring Branch Road west of U S. 281. The county will use the crossing for launching and recovering personal watercraft ... All of the organizers and volunteers who are offering safe, fun activities for local youngsters this Halloween. Illest* alternatives to tnck-or-treating door-to-door will help children stay out of mischief and out of harm s way.Write us I Tic New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right lo correct spelling, style, punctuation and known tactual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words. We publish only onginal mail addressed to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung beanng the writer's signature. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included. Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned. Preference is given to writers who have IKM been [xiblished in the previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor c/o the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung PO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 625-1224 New BraunfelsHerald -Zeitung Editor and Publisher, Ext 301 Managing Editor, Ext 220................... Director of Marketing, Ext 208 ................ Classified Advertising Manager, Ext 214 Business Manager, Ext 202..................... Circulation Director , Ext 228 ................................ Carol    Ann    Avery Pressroom Foreman, Ext 205............................................................. Doug Toney Margaret Edmonson Jason Borchardt Karen Remmger Mary Lee Hall Published un Sunday morning* and weekday mornings Tuesday through Friday by the New Bnnmfels Heroic /sin** (I SPS 377-88U) 707 Unda St. or P O. Drawer 311328. New Braunfels, Comal County .Tv 78131-1328. PenodKal postage paid by the Mew Braunfels Herald /etrung in New Braunfels, Texas. Lamer delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties three months, $20 50; tux months, $37; one year, $66 Senior Citizen Discounts by earner delivery only six months, $33; one year, $62 Mail delivery outside Comal County in I exas three months, $3030; lax months, $55, one year, $103 50 Mail outside Texas: sa months, $78, one year, $118.25. Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by 5:30 p m Tuesday through Friday or by 7:30 im on Sunday may call (830) 625-9144 or by 7 p m weekdays or by 11 un. on Sunday PuKTMASittt. Send address changes to the Mew Braunfels Heruld-Zeuunx, P.O. Drawer 311 328, New Braunfels, Tx 78131 -1328. viS $ ** Hora Zeitung OnNm contact ■To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the Herald-Zeitung’s address is [email protected] Voters to decide future of water supplies Texans soon will have a chance to vote on our state’s future. Two amendments on die Nov. 4 ballot will change the state’s constitution and play a critical role in making sure Texas has enough water for the next century. One amendment will allow property tax relief chi land using water conservation measures. The other will give the Texas Water Development Board greater flexibility in financing a wide variety of critically-needed water projects without increasing the state’s bond debt limit. The two votes cap a 49-year span of false starts in developing a long-range, comprehensive state water plan. Lawmakers last spring approved a master plan to conserve, develop and manage the state’s valuable water resources. Now it’s up to Texas voters. Failure to get behind the effort could produce disastrous results in the future. Texas grew from 11.2 million people in 1970 to more than 19 million in 1997. And the state’s population is expected to reach more than 33.8 million in 2030 - and 99 percent increase since 1990. Although the numbers underscore the challenges facing the state, they don’t reflect the water shortages Texans have lived with on a regular basis. The state has suffered through five major droughts since the 1930’s, including a catastrophic seven-year drought in the 1950’s. Bob Bullock The most’recent drought in 1995-1996 cost Texas farmers, ranchers and businesses an estimated $5 billion in damages. Federal disaster relief blamed on water shortages went to 242 of the state’s 254 counties. But historically, widespread concern about water supplies has washed away when the first drenching rains fill our lakes, rivers and streams. Texans soon forget die water restrictions that scorched their lawns, and the billions of dollars of crops and parched cattle devastated under the glare of the summer sun. But the threat never goes away. Despite rapid urbanization, farms and ranches remain a vital and important part of the Texas economy. Other businesses and industries need adequate water too, and Texas needs them to keep die state’s economy in high gear. The Legislature gave top priority to a water bill this year. The law mixes a variety of strategies to meet future demands. It deals with drought management response, water management, marketing and transfers, surface and groundwater supplies, financial assistance to local governments and small communities and data col lection. The law tackles just about every single facet of water resource policy and management with one exception - public apathy. Like most Americans, Texans take a lot for granted They expect to have water when they turn on the facA to wash their hands, scrub their dishes or brush their teeth. Unfortunately, taking it for granted that the amendments to die state’s water plan will pass is gambling with Texas’s future. A better bet would be to vote yes for the water proposals in November. (Bob Bullock is lieutenant governor of Texas.) Molly Ivins Cal Thomas wwocanai    TOOflPno to 5310? Letter to the EditorCISG bond aularian' analysis appoais flawed Dear Editor We would like to take this opportunity to reply to Dr Randall P Westmont editorial on the need for a new high school in Comal 1SD. My wife, Linda Bertelsen, was the sub-committee chairperson on the Long Range Planning Committee's study on school size The first issue that should be addressed is the size of the Long Range Committee. C1SD continues to tell the public that there were over IOO members of our community that served on the Long Range Planning Committee. In fact, after the fust two meetings the numbers dwindled to approximately 35. Of those members, approximately 20 were school district personnel As for the ERIC search that Dr. Randall P. Weidman commissioned, there is a major flaw in his analysis My wife and I did the same ERIC search early on rn our studies of school size. Unfortunately, Dr Randall P. West man was not involved with the Long Range Planning Committee, where he would have been able to participate rn the discussion on this matter The fact is that “small schools” refers to schools of 400 students or less. We were able to find two documents referring to “small schools” as those with 1,000 students or less. Due to the fact that both of our high schools have over 1,000 students, we concluded that all 250 or so documents were of no use in our analysis of “small" versus “large ” We then looked to the Texas Education Agency for other comparisons. What we found disputes information that is being widely publicized by Comal 1SD. Based on the TEA’s latest information on high schools in the Austin and San Antonio region, we found the following to be true Hitfi schools with enrollment sizes of2,500-2,999 out performed those of 1,000-1,500. College entrance test scores were higher rn schools with 2,500-2,999 students. Dropout rates were lower in schools of 2,500-2,999. Operating costs per student in a school with 2,500-2^999 students were over 16 percent lower than those of schools with 1,000-1,500 students. These are facts. Comal lSD’s response to this was that you cannot use TEA figures for comparisons, lf you cannot use TEA’s figures, whose figures can you use? The conclusion we came lo is the same as die study conducted by the University of Washington on the Leon County schools in Florida. This conclusion was that “school enrollment size has minimal impact on either academic performance or psychosocial development.” Dr. Randall P. W estman also referred to the scientific survey that Comal ISD commissioned in 1996. It is true that 70 percent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they favored smaller schools The fact is that 70 percent of those 403 people surveyed represents 282 people. We have over 33,000 registered voters in Comal ISD. This means that we are using less than one percent of the registered voters rn Comal ISD to form our opinions. Interesting to note, is that in the same scientific survey, over 57 percent of those surveyed wanted lo see year round school implemented. Are we valuing their opinion on this topic? Also of concern is Dr. Randall P. Westman’s views on the need for a new high school. In a letter that he submitted on Sept. 19, 1997, to the Comal ISD Board of T rustees and the Ad Hoc Committee, he stated that he was a ticket taker at the football games of Smithson Valley’s Middle School and conducted his own personal survey as to high school expansion over a new high school. He also surveyed residents rn the western half of the district by placing nightly phone calls. The results of his personal survey were “...almost unanimously, everyone I spoke to favored expansion over a new high school.” He also makes this statement, “Regrettably, it is now my recommendation, that to enter into a bond election with die greatest chance of success, we must put forth expansion of Smithson Valley High School. ...’’ Why was this information deleted from his editorial about school size? As members of the Long Range Planning Committee we have projected the committee’s enrollment figures to the year 2007-2008. if we build a new high school and two new elementary schools now, we will still need five new elementary schools and two new high schools to provide classroom space for our children in the next five year plan. This will cost $85 million. Should we vote on school size now or wait five more years? Another issue is how much does it cost? According to Dr. Randall P. Westman, it will only cost 70 cents per month. Comal ISD is presently $55 million in debt. This costs us 29.5 cents on the tax rate. How does $92 million additional debt only cost 7.9 cents on the tax rate? The fact is that Comal ISD plans to restructure its debt that is almost paid off and take another 20 years to pay it off Kind of like pay mg four year payments on your five year car not and then refinancing it for another five years. What does that cost you in interest'? What will we restructure five years from now when we need another $85 million for five new elementary and two new high schools? We are not “anti-tax,” “anti-public schools” or “anti-children.” The fact is that we are FOR responsible spending on the education of our children. We are “anti-excessive spending on facilities for our children.” Please consider this when you vote to put your children in debt. v    John    and    Linda    Bene    ben Spring BranchToday in HistoryBy Tho Associated Proas Today is Thursday, Oct. 30, the 303rd day of 1997. There are 62 days left in the year. Today'! Highlight la History: Ob Ort. 30,193*, the radio play th* panicked the nation, ’’The War of the Worlds,” starring Orson Welles, aired on CBS. On this date: la 1735, the second president of the United Stares, John Adams, was bom in Braintree, Mass la 1944, the Martha Graham ballet ‘‘Appalachian Spring,’ with music by Aaron Copland, premiered at the Library of Congress, with Graham in a leading role. la 1945, the U.S. government announced the end of shoe rationing. la 1953, Gen. George C. Marshall was awarded Ore Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Albert Schweitzer received the Peace Prize for 1952. la 1961, the Soviet Union rested a hydrogen bomb with a force estimated at 58 megatons. la 1961, the Soviet Party Congress unanimously approved a resolution ordering the removal of Josef Stalin’s body from Lenin’s tomb. In 1972,45 people were lolled when an Illinois Central Gulf commuter train collided with another train in Chicago’s South Side. la 1974, Muhammad AU knocked out George Foreman in the eighth round of a 15-round bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, to regain his world heavyweight title. la 1979, President Carter announced his choice of federal appeals judge Shirley Hufstedler to head the newly created Department of Education. f i ;