Sunday, January 21, 2007

CORPUS CHRISTI - The community spoke up about what they want in the next Corpus Christi Independent School District Superintendent Thursday Night

Learning to Respect Public Opinion but will they really hear us?

The third search for a superintendent is just getting underway, the public had a chance to speak on the issue.

The overwhelming demand was local, local, local.

"We need somebody who can be the captain of the ship, somebody who can go out there and instill confidence in the district," one attendee, James Duerr, said.

But more than anything else, most of those who spoke this week encouraged the board to hire someone homegrown.

Corpus Christi Public Opinion is clearly making a statement. The message is saying, " hire local, hire one of us,

Why waste time and money for a third time?

The Fire & Police Department Chiefs are homegrown.

The CCISD Board methodology has failed or has it?

The Board possesses much more power without a permanent Superintendent in place and the interim Superintendent has no teeth. I understand "each campus is a kingdom unto it's own and the Principals are King". The Principals have too much power under an interim Superintendent. With the current interim Superintendent and the Relationship with the CCISD Board as a whole, the minutes reveal many things.

  1. The invocation is said by Scott Eliff at many of the CCISD board meetings.

  2. Mr Eliff has many titles and wears many hats as the board defines. Acting Superintendent, Interim Superintendent while in the minutes he is defined as the acting Superintendent (btw we also have an interim Chief Financial Officer Michael Briones). Mary Kelly was defined as the interim Superintendent. The Board "picks his brain" and has implemented several of his recommendations. Some of the ideas the Board has modified seemingly in a way to cut cost and look expensive but at the same time debilitating the program ie: Benchmark Testing.
  3. Eliff brings recommendations of curriculum and positive adaptation in the Education Evolution. Instead of making decisions to close and sell because of budget cuts; find innovative ways to replace and expand. There are people in our community who can write a check for WATT the Lege deleted. Eliff is doing this already with our human asset. Build new schools and court the construction sector or efficiently operate within our means? The Board prefers the former. Eliff takes what there is and makes it better and the board appreciates while at the same time would never want him in the position to run this district efficiently and expediently.

"We have this mindset that the best talent is from someplace else, and I don't think that's accurate," Jim Needham said.

For some the Grass is always greener somewhere else instead of right there under their nose. We need to realize the power of the board is the same power that enables one to self deal.

Duerr agreed that the community wants somebody local, and many pushed for interim superintendent Scott Elliff.

"I support him for the position of superintendent," Candelario Huerta said.

Dale Hope also spoke up for Elliff.

"I feel like he is the right candidate for the job," he said.

And trustees seemed to get the message.

"I think what we're hearing louder and louder is there's strong support for a local candidate" trustee, John Longoria, said.

But they also defended their decision to perform a full search, saying that they feel the importance of the position requires being as thorough as possible.

"We need to compare our local candidates to the best that we can," trustee Carol Scott said. "And I think that we're going to have local candidates that are going to be very, very competitive, but I think we have an opportunity and an obligation to look for the best."


Carol Scott who is self proclaimed PRO BUSINESS has no BUSINESS making decisions for our youth's education based on a Pro Business agenda. This is the wife of the Councilman Mark Scott, KALO, Corpus Christi Daily influence peddler. Carol Scott is there for Carol Scott and we didnt look for the best when we looked for her position. We didnt go do a Nation Wide Search for the CCISD Board why should we do otherwise in finding our next Superintendent?

Surely, after two unproductive national search and hire fiascos we can look inside?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

TAKS is a manipulative/cavalier test with no purpose for the questions! go back to the CAT! adriana ask CCISD Board @"Benchmark testing"& "where is$$$

Teachers left holding bag

January 7, 2007

pictureGoogle search the phrase "caught cheating on standardized tests" on the Internet. You'll find there are about 160,000 references.

Some are headlines. They are from across the country. Illinois. California. Deep in the heart of Texas. The text varies, but the gist of the story is the same - more and more students and teachers are caught cheating on standardized tests every year.

Others are academic studies. Reports. Arguments for and against the mandatory tests. The text may vary but the underlying truth remains the same - a great deal hinges on whether or not a student can pass it.

For the Texas child in the classroom chair, it's the difference between the fifth grade and the sixth. Graduation or redemption. Being labeled as an academic failure or success.

And if members of the Governor's Business Council, made up of representatives and business leaders from across Texas, have their way this legislative session, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills could be the difference between a teacher in the classroom or at the front of an unemployment line.

In a report released Wednesday, the council outlined several recommendations to the Legislature detailing ways to improve Texas schools.

It argues that students who are exposed to "effective" teachers as opposed to "average" teachers have a better chance at academic success. Like the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, which mandated all U.S. classrooms should have a highly qualified teacher in the classroom by 2006, it does not do enough to explain what exactly that is. Or who would or should regulate the standards by which teachers are measured.

It cites scary statistics about how black and Hispanic students in kindergarten through eighth grade lag years behind white students.

But it doesn't speak enough about all the other factors that can play a large part in how well a child learns - language barriers, learning disabilities, economics, lack of family support, lack of family education, lack of early childhood education. The list goes on.

The council's report does include some positives - it stresses the need for continued training and support for Texas teachers.

But the push is overshadowed by one sour crescendo: Educators would face yearly evaluations (most districts already conduct them) and reviews would be based in part on how well students do on the TAKS. If a teacher receives three low evaluations, they would be fired.

Fired. Based on one test.

You don't need Google to get the word out. With proposed policies like this, the message is loud and clear: Forget whether those students in the classroom have progressed over the academic year. Who cares if that teacher helped them get there? We don't care if they learned anything. We just want to know the final score.

It's no wonder so many feel the need to cheat. The system is trying to cheat them.

Contact Venessa Santos-Garza at 886-3752 or santosv@


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Generally, school district superintendents are selected by a school board of a local school district. They are typically given overall responsibility for

  • personnel selection

  • appointment

  • preparation of operating budgets

  • implementation of school policies and regulations.

  • The superintendent primarily supervises public schools in the district

  • evaluates performance of teachers

  • in some cases, recruits and dismisses school staff

  • acts as a check on the power of school principals.

  • The short-term nature of the commitment, as well as the opportunity to serve in more of a consulting capacity to a school system, made the offer appealing to the would-be retiree. “An interim superintendent can be more open and honest than someone hired into a more permanent role

  • to support the board and school administrators through the search for and transition to new leadership. "The search process can be very taxing for the board and the remaining members of the leadership team," she says. "It provokes a lot of soul-searching as people try to envision how their roles might change." Kehoe found this role as a sounding board for their concerns and aspirations one of the more rewarding dimensions of the job

  • "Retired" superintendents make good candidates for interim roles, says Roy Dexheimer ('69, Ed.D.), especially if there are systemic problems or important initiatives that need to be addressed while a search is under way. Because they are practiced professionals, they bring experience, confidence, and objectivity to the enterprise. And because their tenure is temporary by definition, they can set terms and take risks that a more permanent employee cannot.

  • By way of example, Dexheimer tells of a colleague who was being wooed by a notoriously difficult board. The candidate opted not to sign a contract. When the board members questioned this, he told them, "The first time you say no to one of my recommendations, I'm out of here." And they still hired him.

  • When Dexheimer was negotiating the terms of his current position as interim superintendent of the South Seneca schools, such strong-arm tactics weren't necessary. He did, however, make it clear that he wasn't interested in a caretaker role. "I told them that I intended to act like a superintendent, making decisions and advancing new initiatives." Dexheimer, who retired as head of the Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES in 1999, saw that the curricular challenges the school system faced couldn't wait. "The district wasn't getting good outcomes, so addressing that has been a major focus of my work here," he explains. The position also affords him ample opportunity to mentor the fledgling administrators working under him, all of whom are probationary "I find that very satisfying," he says.

  • Although six-month assignments are more typical, Eckhardt says his Pittsford stint may extend well into a second year because it involves a major facilities initiative now stalled in the budget approval process. Getting the budget referendum passed promises to be a significant challenge, one that most boards would rather not foist on a new superintendent. He sees his role as one of clearing the way for new leadership, "resolving existing problems, rather than leaving a major imprint." Once that's done, he'll be ready to shift back into his life as adjunct professor/educational consultant.

  • "I want to stay active," he explains, "but I'm not interested in putting in 75 hours a week forever." Kehoe and Dexheimer concur.

David Jennings has served as Minneapolis' interim superintendent since Carol Johnson left the position to head up the public school system in Memphis, Tenn. He had originally been the Minneapolis School Board's first choice to take up the position permanently, but withdrew his name in October after leaders from the city's African American community criticized his appointment. He is stepping down on June 30, and Thandiwe Peebles, the school board's unanimous choice to permanently fill the position, will take up the reins following contract negotiations. Interim Superintendent Jennings reflects on his time at the helm of Minneapolis Public Schools and its future challenges.

Noriega was the guest on KRIS 6 News at Noon Tuesday, and at that time he kind of laid out the role of the interim superintendent. He said the district is not necessarily looking for an interim to come in and make any significant changes, but simply to keep the district heading in the same direction until a permanent superintendent is appointed.

CORPUS CHRISTI - A former CCISD chief of staff is the district's new interim superintendent. Mary Kelley is returning to CCISD. She was the school district's chief of staff when she left in June of 2004 and for the time being she'll hold the top position. But that decision was not unanimous.

After an hour and ten minutes behind closed doors the board returned to make the selection. Trustee Harry Williams nominated Mary Kelley to be the interim superintendent. The vote was 4-2. Kelley had expressed interest in the job as early as December.

The board ultimately felt her 30 years of experience as a local teacher and administrator set her apart, along with the fact that she's been gone less than two years.

"In the end, the decision of the four people that voted for Mary Kelley came because of her familiarity with the district, and familiarity with the programs in place in the district," said board president Dr. Manuel Flores.

Luis Garza and Bill Clark voted against the selection and Vicki Rothschild left before the vote was even taken. The dissenting voters didn't return calls for comment, but we're told there were other candidates with more overall superintendent experience.

Dr. Flores said he's not bothered by the apparent division. He said, "Everybody has their favorites, and everybody has the people that they think can do the best job. I'm not afraid of 4-2 and 4-3 votes because that means that it was discussed thoroughly."

Kelley is expected to start as early as next Monday. Although a contract still has to be worked out, Kelley will likely be paid at a rate of about $130,000 a year. However, as an interim employee, she'll be paid on a weekly basis. The board hopes to name a permanent superintendent by June 1.

Online Reporter: Bart Bedsole

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bill Clark ~Public is pumped ~.."doing nothing is not an option",

ORPUS CHRISTI - CCISD is considering another bond election next May. The bond amount could range from 60 million to 120-million dollars, but the board hopes that a tax hike would not be needed. It was one of a number of issues that remain unresolved at this point.

It's complicated, but basically, state funding could be available to help pay off CCISD's debt from something like a bond election, but they have to apply for that funding by June 15. That means the bond election would have to be in May and there's concern whether CCISD has enough time to make a May election work.

"How are we going to deal with the accelerated growth on the south side? How are we going to deal with the expansions on the high schools that we have today?" said Larry Elizondo. "How are we going to deal with maintaining the facilities that we do have?"

The school board has struggled with all those issues for several years now. A bond in 2004 failed, but the extensive needs across the district remain and some are wondering if now is the time to try again.

"I mean that's the question. Can we do it?" Elizondo said.

"It can be done, but we need all of us to hold hands and move forward with it together," said CCISD superintendent Dr. Jesus Chavez. But not everyone is so optimistic. Board member Bill Clark doubts they have the public support needed.

"To go back for a bond issue just to pass a bond issue to do these things... I think is irresponsible on our part," said board member Bill Clark. Others said something has to be done to better the buildings.

"Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option, I don't believe," Elizondo said. The board didn't vote Monday night whether to have the bond or not. Trustees first want to see what a number of different bond packages would really look like on paper. They'll most likely decide whether to take one of those packages to the voters at their meeting in early December.

Online Reporter: Bart Bedsole

SUPERINTENDENT PROFILE JOB DESCRIPTION v. Interim Superintendent Job Description

Generally, school district superintendents are selected by a school board of a local school district. They are typically given overall responsibility for
  • personnel selection

  • appointment

  • preparation of operating budgets

  • implementation of school policies and regulations.

  • The superintendent primarily supervises public schools in the district

  • evaluates performance of teachers

  • in some cases, recruits and dismisses school staff

  • acts as a check on the power of school principals.

Ad Valorem

§ 313.101. DEFINITION.

Text of sections effective until December 31, 2007

In this subchapter, "qualifying time period" has the meaning
assigned by Section 313.021.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1505, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.


Text of section effective until December 31, 2007

(a) In addition to the limitation on the appraised value of
the person's qualified property under Subchapter B or C, a person is
entitled to a tax credit from the school district that approved the
limitation in an amount equal to the amount of ad valorem taxes paid
to that school district that were imposed on the portion of the
appraised value of the qualified property that exceeds the amount
of the limitation agreed to by the governing body of the school
district under Section 313.027(a)(2) in each year in the applicable
qualifying time period.
(b) If the person relocates the person's business outside
the school district, the person is not entitled to the credit in or
after the year in which the relocation occurs.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1505, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.

§ 313.103. APPLICATION.

Text of section effective until December 31, 2007

An application for a tax credit under this subchapter must be
made to the governing body of the school district to which the ad
valorem taxes were paid. The application must be:
(1) made on the form prescribed for that purpose by the
comptroller and verified by the applicant;
(2) accompanied by:
(A) a tax receipt from the collector of taxes for
the school district showing full payment of school district ad
valorem taxes on the qualified property for the applicable
qualifying time period; and
(B) any other document or information that the
comptroller or the governing body considers necessary for a
determination of the applicant's eligibility for the credit or the
amount of the credit; and
(3) filed before September 1 of the year immediately
following the applicable qualifying time period.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1505, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.


Text of section effective until December 31, 2007

Before the 90th day after the date the application for a tax
credit is filed, the governing body of the school district shall:
(1) determine the person's eligibility for a tax
credit under this subchapter; and
(2) if the person's application is approved, by order
or resolution direct the collector of taxes for the school
(A) in the second and subsequent six tax years
that begin after the date the application is approved, to credit
against the taxes imposed on the qualified property by the district
in that year an amount equal to one-seventh of the total amount of
tax credit to which the person is entitled under Section 313.102,
except that the amount of a credit granted in any of those tax years
may not exceed 50 percent of the total amount of ad valorem school
taxes imposed on the qualified property by the school district in
that tax year; and
(B) in the first tax year that begins on or after
the date the person's eligibility for the limitation under
Subchapter B or C expires, to credit against the taxes imposed on
the qualified property by the district an amount equal to the
portion of the total amount of tax credit to which the person is
entitled under Section 313.102 that was not credited against the
person's taxes under Paragraph (A) in a tax year covered by
Paragraph (A), except that the amount of a tax credit granted under
this paragraph in any tax year may not exceed the total amount of ad
valorem school taxes imposed on the qualified property by the
school district in that tax year.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1505, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.


Text of section effective until December 31, 2007

(a) If the comptroller and the governing body of a school
district determine that a person who received a tax credit under
this subchapter for any reason was not entitled to the credit
received or was entitled to a lesser amount of credit than the
amount of the credit received, an additional tax is imposed on the
qualified property equal to the full credit or the amount of the
credit to which the person was not entitled, as applicable, plus
interest at an annual rate of seven percent calculated from the date
the credit was issued.
(b) A tax lien attaches to the qualified property in favor
of the school district to secure payment by the person of the
additional tax and interest imposed by this section and any
penalties incurred. A person delinquent in the payment of an
additional tax under this section may not submit a subsequent
application or receive a tax credit under this subchapter in a
subsequent year.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1505, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.


§ 313.171. SAVING PROVISIONS. (a) A limitation on
appraised value approved under Subchapter B or C before the
expiration of that subchapter continues in effect according to that
subchapter as that subchapter existed immediately before its
expiration, and that law is continued in effect for purposes of the
limitation on appraised value.
(b) The expiration of Subchapter D does not affect a
property owner's entitlement to a tax credit granted under
Subchapter D if the property owner qualified for the tax credit
before the expiration of............

Monday, January 01, 2007

Why do we (CCISD) need a Consulting Firm?

CORPUS CHRISTI - The new year is starting, with the Corpus Christi School Board still looking for a permanent superintendent. Monday morning, members of two local civil rights organizations voiced their support for hiring someone local and avoiding the use of outside consultants. But school board members said it's not that simple.

"If we have good people out there, that understand the community that have been here and know what the community wants, then that's what we want," Bill Gorham of Lulac said.

Representatives of Lulac and the American GI Forum both said Scott Elliff, the acting superintendent, meets that criteria.

"It doesn't have to be black," Joe Ortiz of the American GI Forum said. "It doesn't have to be white; it doesn't have to be brown, but the best qualified from within."

Vice President Bill Clark of the CCISD School Board said he is not happy with the time the search has taken.

"Obviously I'm not real pleased at how it's gone because we've gotten derailed," he said.

Clark said he can't believe it's taken a year and two search firms, and yet the district is back where it started. They're now hoping a consultant will come through, a move Joe Ortiz doesn't want.

"I believe that by spending money on search firms and getting nowhere is just no good for Corpus Christi and the citizens of Corpus Christi - the taxpayers of Corpus Christi," Ortiz said.

But it's a step CCISD officials feel is the best way to handle the hiring in a fair and equal way and stay in line with state regulations.

"We can't exclude anybody that's qualified from applying for this job," Clark said, "so we can't just annoint somebody as our next superintendent. We have to go through a process."

This is a process the district would like to finish before summer.

"We want to have someone in place by the end of the school year," Clark said, "certainly before then, but by then for sure."

At the next school board meeting a week from Monday, members will outline the qualifications they want in a third-party consultant. They plan to spend about $10,000 and hope to have a consulting firm selected by February.

Comment on this story in the Discussion Forum.

Online Reporter: Erin McLemore