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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 28, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zettung — Wednesday, September 28, 2005 FORUM Our Opinion City budget answers many questions With additional police and fire- Ti he New Braunfels City Council approved a fighters, the city \    $26.8    million general budget address- I fund budget Tuesday that will es many of the I keep many of the campaign concerns resi- j promises Mayor Bruce Boyer dents have I and Councilwoman Kathleen voiced in recent ; Krueger. months.    While    campaigning,    Boyer : and Krueger said they repeatedly heard residents ask for more police, more firefighters and the library opened Sundays. The new budget provides all of that. Despite cutting the tax rate 2 cents, the budget includes money for six new police officers, six new firefighters and it will also keep the library open on Sundays. In addition, the budget will provide help in the parks department, public works and the courts. During a series of public hearings about the tax rate and budget, residents of New Braunfels were mostly absent. That is still troubling. I'hmughout the year, we regularly hear from people concerned about how much they are paying in taxes and upset at the way the city is spending money. People who reside within the city limits pay the highest property tax rate in Comal County. When adding the city’s tax rate to the levels taxed by the county and New Braunfels ISD, local residents face a heavy burden. While few showed up at the meeting regarding the tax rate and how the money will be spent, the city council appears to have paid attention. Not everyone will be happy, but Boyer and Krueger joined with the rest of the council to approve a budget that addresses many of the concerns residents have voiced in recent months. Its a good start for a council that has new leadership on the panel and at city hall. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, Sept. 28, the 271st day of 2005. There are 94 days left in the year. Today’s I lighlight in I listory: On Sept. 28, 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England to claim the English throne. On this date: In 1542, Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Caballo arrived at present-day San Diego. In 1781, American forces in the Revolutionary War, backed by a French fleet, began their siege of Yorktown Heights, Va. In 1787, Congress voted to send the just-completed Constitution of the United States to state legislatures for their approval. In 1850, flogging was abolished as a form of punishment in the U.S. Navy. In 1924, two U.S. Army planes landed in Seattle, having completed the first round-the-world flight in 175 days. In 1939, during World War II, Germany and the Soviet Union agreed on a plan to partition Poland. In 1974, first lady Betty Ford underwent a mastectomy at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland, following discovery of a cancerous lump in her breast. In 1989, deposed Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii at age 72. In 1991, jazz great Miles Davis died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 65. In 1994, more than 900 people died when an Estonian ferry capsized and sank in the Baltic sea. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels arui' ottuil Vaunty since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958 Editor and Publisher Doug Toney rn Circulation Director Jeff Fowler MOW TO CONTACT Advertising Director Melee Bell Business Manager Valerie Shields Mf United States News Editor David Rupkalvis JljMlflil Government GUEST COLUMN 65 percent classroom rule must include pay raise for teachers While Texas educators and legislators wait for the Texas Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the state’s public school finance system, an education task force is crafting a plan that would require independent school districts to direct 65 percent of their revenue to direct classroom instruction. During this year’s regular session of the 79th legislature, prominent San Antonio businessman Red McCombs called me in Austin and suggested that the legislature should require that 65 percent of all the funds that go to a school be spent directly on students in the classroom. As a result of that phone call and subsequent research by me, Sen. Frank Madia and I offered an amendment to the school reform bill that would require school districts to adopt the 65 percent rule, and the Texas Senate adopted our amendment unanimously. Although all school bills died, the idea of spending more money directly on students in the classroom did not. In August, Gov. Perry directed Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley to design and implement a new financial accountability system for Texas schools that would include the 65 percent requirement. A task force consisting of school superintendents began working with the Texas Education Agency earlier this month to devise an accountability system that would require school districts to report expenditures that are linked to core classroom academics. I believe we should not allocate without accountability. TEA’s current reporting system allows schools to list such items as band instruments, employment physicals for staff, drug testing and the purchase of vehicles for driver education as educational expenses. The 65 percent rule means that districts that have been spending money on such items will soon be JEFF WHITWORTH JeffWentworth is the state senator from District 25, which includes New Braunfels. required to spend it on items such as higher teacher salaries, textbooks, science lab equipment and classroom computers. I believe the amendment was a good one for both students and teachers, and I hope that the task force studying the 65 percent rule will adopt some of the amendment’s provisions. For example, the amendment would have allowed the 65 percent allocation to be reached incrementally, beginning at a minimum of 50 percent in 2006-07, and increasing at five percent per year over a period of four years from now to the desired 65 percent in school year 2009-10. The increase to 65 percent would result in an additional $1,296 billion for classroom instruction. I expect a chunk of the money will be used for computers, lab equipment and other classroom materials; however, state of the art computers, fine lab equipment and new textbooks are only a part of the learning equation. Well-paid teachers in every classroom should be factored into the equation. Any education reform bill must include a pay raise for Texas teachers that reflects their professionalism, dedication and years of service. The Texas Senate approved education bills during the regular and two special legislative sessions that included well-deserved pay increases for Texas’ teachers, ranging from $2,000 to $3,000. I voted for each of the bills; however, they either failed or were never voted on in the House of Representatives. PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 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 ■ 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 ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fox: (202) 225-8628 Web address: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (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: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2 HOW TO CONTACT Texas Government Fax: 277-6671 VERNOR ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 E-mail address: carter.casteel@ STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512) 463-0125 E-mail address: [email protected] peace to prevail, Palestinians must make concessions, too \ CALTHOMAS Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services International. He hosts “After Hours" on Fox News Channel Saturdays at ll p.m. EST. Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500, Chicago. 60611, or leave an e-mail at www.calthomas. com. It took just 12 days from completion of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza before rockets started raining down on the Western Negev area from the now-unoccupied territory. The attacks late Friday might have occurred sooner had the terrorists not been preoccupied with torching synagogues and destroying flower-growing operations in Gaza that could have been used to produce income for Palestinian residents. Sadly, their hatred of all things Jewish prompted them to , act against their self-interest. (Late Sunday night, following crushing retaliatory attacks by Israel and threats from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of an even more massive response, Hamas announced that it was halting all attacks from the Gaza Strip. For now, perhaps, but given its history, one can safely bet, not for good.) A Reuters story about the Israeli attacks on Saturday said, "The upsurge in violence was a blow to international hopes that the pullout could revive peacemaking.’’ Hie concept of international "hopes” is founded on the false premise that peace is dependent only on Israel’s behavior. Every time Israel otters concessions, withdrawals, confidence-building measures and other "good faith’’ gestures, the response is more terror, more death and no peace. Will there ever come a time when the United States and the international community concludes that forcing Israel into making unilateral concessions is not a prescription for peace, but a guarantee of more war? Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is facing a growing political challenge from former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, should have seen this coming because it has happened so many times before. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz promised a “crushing and unequivocal response’’ to the rocket attack. The I lamas terrorist group blamed Israel for an explosion at a Hamas rally Friday afternoon that killed 15 people, though the Palestinian Authority said it appeared to have been an accident caused by I lamas members carrying explosives in a crowded area. I lamas vowed to resist any raid in Caza and called for attacks on Israel. Continuing his denial of the obvious, the top U.N. envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, told the Security Council last Friday that the “road map" remains the only realistic method for achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Not exactly. The road map requires reciprocity. So far, Israel has been the only party doing the giving and the Palestinian-Hamas-Fatah side has been doing the taking and the killing. Why should they stop when violence is giving them what they want? Commenting on Israel's withdrawal, but ignoring the continuing terrorist threat, de Soto said, “Forces of moderation have prevailed over those of extremism." You could have fooled me! After de Soto spoke, the Security Council approved a statement again calling on both sides to adhere to the Road Map and saying the Gaza pullout must be only one step toward further Israeli withdrawal and efforts to achieve a viable Palestinian state. The "quartet” of the U.N., the United States, Russia and the European Union has succeeded only in pressuring Israel to give and give and give. Whatever pressure it has applied to the Palestinian-Hamas-Fatah side has produced no cessation of violence, no disarmament and, in fact, no concessions at all. The frustrating part is that no one pays attention to the pronouncements of the terrorists. Hamas announced it would flood Gaza with its soldiers once Israel withdrew. Islamo-fascist clerics call for the annihilation of Israel and tell jihadist it is their religious duty to kill Jews and Christians. Our “friends,” the Saudis and Egyptians allow this rhetoric to flow unimpeded from their mosques and in their government-run media. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration and its State Department sink deeper into denic and pretend the terrorists don’t mean what they say. The terrorists trumpet their plans and then carry them out. Aft* they have caused death and destruction, they promise to do it again. Objectives can’t be made clearer than that. Will a second coming of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister make a dif ference? Perhaps. He once told me he had learned a valuable lesson from his own concessions during the Clinton Administration. Netanyahu should tell Israelis and the world that if he again becomes prime minister he will not budge on more land concessions until the Palestinian-Hamas-Fatah side begin responding positively to all of Israel’s concessions. Having given so much and received nothing in return, it may now be too late to save Israel, but giving more without getting anything ensures Israel’s extinction sooner, rather than later. * ;