14-A THE GALVESTON DAILY NEWS WEDNESDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 13,1993 Galveston County Clear Creek considers plan to reduce district dropout rate By ROBERT HOUGH Th a Daily Nawa LEAGUE CITY — Clear Creek school trustees and administrators discussed an aggressive plan Tuesday to reduce the dropout rate in district schools. At a public hearing to review the Academic Excellence Indicator System report, Superintendent Ronald McLeod said the dropout rate, particularly among Hispanic students, is too high. That rate among Hispanics was 7.9 per- cent in 1989-90, 7.1 percent in 1990-91 and 7.9 percent in 1991-92. "Itfs an unacceptable rate," McLeod said. The overall rate has dropped from 4.5 percent to 3.3 percent during the same time period. The standard developed by the Texas Education Agency calls for a 1 percent dropout rate. The dropout reduction plan calls for changes in staff attitudes and approaches to teaching. N.K Ohlendorf, deputy superintendent for instruction, said the primary reason for students leaving school is their perception that nobody cares about them. While acknowledging there are great numbers of teachers and administrators who do care, Ohlendorf said efforts must be made to change the perception. The plan, developed by a committee including teachers, the director of the at- risk program and parents of students who left school, calls for increased efforts to adapt teaching styles to students' learning styles. Also included is a plan to develop with local community colleges a tech-prep plan to give student hands-on job training skills. Ohlendorf also called for changes in district middle schools, with the development of teaming. That concept calls for a group of teachers in basic subject areas to work with a group of about 100 students and coordinate teaching efforts. Trustee Walt Huff expressed concern that the changes could harm what he said is a largely successful district. "When we start tweaking a system to address a small percentage, I've got some concern that it could affect the overall population," he said after Ohlendorf s presentation. About 300 students drop out of the district annually, said Elaine Stoermer, director of public information. McLeod said the district will serve about 24,600 students this year. Ohlendorf said further meetings of the committee that generated the plan will address various concerns and refine the concepts. Dickinson to amend garbage proposal By PATJACKSON Tha Daily N0ws DICKINSON — The City Council held off on the first reading of an ordinance privatizing garbage pickup Tuesday night, opting to first amend the proposed ordinance. Councilman Wayne Faircloth noted, "Some things in here are not reasonable for small business." Faircloth showed particular concern for the provision requiring garbage contractors to carry workers compensation insurance. "We the people pay the bill," he said. "If you fold in the cost of workers comp, the people will pay the cost." The council agreed to delete that provision and another one that called for garbage franchisees to keep a log of customer complaints. Councilman Ed Moroney protested the log, saying the complaints would disappear and the customer base would erode away and go to someone else. Faircloth also stressed that "if •.we make it prohibitive for small -.business, well do what the gov- • eminent is trying to do — put peo- •ple out of business. ;.' "We don't want to act foolishly, •-but let us let free enterprise flourish," he said. : : The council was still consider• ing provisions of the ordinance at • press time. •. In earlier action, Mayor Veta riWinick presented Lessie Bay, a iboard member of Dickinson Beau- Ltiful, with a certificate recognizing •iher efforts in a recent weekend -•cleanup. I; Also attending were a dozen oth- •;ers volunteers who worked at the ;Moores Addition cleanup. City :;trucks helped and five dumpsters -were filled with 97 tires and other •trash. - The council also recognized ;Robert Edward Dues, 10, for his •quick action in calling 911 and saving his brother, who had been trapped in a cave-in Sept. 24. ; Four of the boys who helped dig -the youth out also were recognized -from the audience. - Also Tuesday, County Judge Ray -Holbrook and Commissioner "-Wayne Johnson showed charts and 'maps about the Nov. 2 county bond ^election. Several proposed road projects will affect Dickinson and the .'north county area. : Holbrook asked for city endorse- iment, but Winick explained that :the item was not on the agenda. It '.will be considered at a future meeting, she said. HISD maintains property tax rate HITCHCOCK — School trustees Tuesday unanimously approved keeping the property tax rate at $1,71 per $100 of valuation. In other action, the Hitchcock Independent School District board of trustees unanimously nominated board President Josie Orr to the Galveston Central Appraisal District's board of directors and "designated Hitchcock schools as drug-free zones. After a 45-mfnute executive session, trustees accepted the resignation of high school math teacher Kendall Smith, Finally, the board revised district policies in a number of areas, including Increasing parental responsibility for student attendance andincreasuig fines for a parent's failure to comply with the state's, compulsory attendance law/ Captain's courageous U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Paul Prokop, seated, gets a scalp shave from Petty Officer Daniel Hinojosa Tuesday at the Coast Guard's Group Galveston Base. Prokop, commander at the base, agreed to have his head shaved as a reward to Staff photo by Jim Stolts the Coast Guardsmen for reaching the 100 percent participation mark in their Galveston United Way campaign. ChieS Warrant Officer Bob Berger, pictured in the background, also had his head shaved. Captain of tanker to testify today at explosion hearing By MAGGIE SIEGER The Daily News GALVESTON — The captain of the ill-fated OMI Charger will be the first to testify today before a panel investigating the cause of an explosion that killed three crewmen Saturday. Representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board will question Capt. Wayne Nason beginning at 8:30 a.m. today at the Moody Gardens Conference Center. The hearing is open to the public. Testimony from Chief Mate Robert Wren will follow Nason's. The hearing is expected to last several days. Both the Coast Guard and safety board will issue reports detailing their findings following the investigation. Officials had no estimate Tuesday when the reports would be issued. The six members of the panel, three from each organization, toured the partially sunken ship Sunday and Monday. Two explosions Saturday night rocked the Charger, a 660-foot tanker. A fire raged for five and a half hours following the first explosion, which occurred between rear cargo and ballast tanks. Tv/o crewmen welding in the area of the first explosion were killed instantly. A third crewman, reportedly standing on the deck above the others, died on the way to the hospital. Attorneys for OMI Corp. turned over a gas testing device to the panel Tuesday. Officials have speculated that the two welders ignited gas vapors and caused the initial explosion. Coast Guard Capt. Thomas Daley of Cleveland, Ohio, refused Tuesday to discuss the cause of the explosion or whether a gas test was done before the welders attempted to light their torch. "We hope to determine that during this hearing," Daley said. The first lawsuit resulting from the explosion and fire was filed Tuesday in federal district court in Galveston on behalf of Andrew Lopez, a crewman injured aboard the Charger, said Larry Tylka, attorney with Schechter & Associates in Galveston. The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, names OMI Corp. of New York and Rio Grande Transport Co., owners of the vessel. Tylka said he planned to obtain copies of the hearing testimony. round school a success in Friendswood By DAVE YEWMAN The Daily News FRIENDSWOOD — The school district's pilot year-round education program has been extremely successful, according to a report presented at Tuesday's board meeting. The program attained basically the same educational results as regular school and cost about $51,000 to implement, said Superintendent Gary Clay. In sum, initial feedback has been very positive," Clay said. More feedback would be sought from parents and students, and a report about the next phase of the program submitted to the board in January, he said. Also Tuesday, the Friendswood school board voted unanimously to apply for a waiver from the Texas Education Agency that would exempt Friendswood Junior High School from a state rule that requires low-skill readers to be put in remedial reading classes. The TEA requires students who score below 40 percent on a standardized reading test to be put in a reading improvement class. The rule affects about 100 seventh- and eighth-grade students at the junior high school. The waiver will allow the students to be in regular classes. "The last thing an 11-year-old needs is the stigma of being in a 'dummy' class," said junior high Principal Kelly Trlica. These kids need the motivation of being with other students. Teaching 15 or 20 low skill kids all in a room together is, in all honesty, very difficult. None of them can read well. They have no role models." The waiver fits into a restructuring program at the junior high school that has proved effective in the first weeks of school, Clay said. The restructuring includes 90 minute classes and the academic teaming of five teachers with 150 students — something that has significantly reduced discipline problems, Trlica said. In other business, the board heard resident Cassandra Herman appeal for the establishment of a girl's soccer team at the high school. "There's a lot of talent in Friendswood," Herman said. She added that schools in Alvin, Pearland and Texas City field girls soccer teams. Trustee Bill Todd asked the administration for a report at the next board meeting detailing why the school doesn't have a girl's soccer team. Also, board president Kent Ballard presented the Making a Difference Award to junior high history teacher Sharon Barfield. COUNTY BRIEFS Hitchcock rate hikes draw fire By NEIL ORMAN Th a Daily Nevta HITCHCOCK—Many residents were outraged Monday night when the City Commission voted to raise water and sewer rates at a special meeting. Though the base rates will stay the same, the rates for additional sewer and water service almost were doubled. Under the new plan, each additional 1,000 gallons of water was raised $2.10, from $1.90 to $4. The cost for each additional 1,000 gallons of sewer service was raised to $1.80, almost doubling the previous 96-cent rate. Tm furious," said Hitchcock resident Clara Turner, 65, whose husband attended the commission meeting and said he shares his wife's views. "If I had my way, I'd get rid of all of them, including the mayor." A number of people heckled commissioners when they voted 3-2 to approve both rate increases. Corn- It I had my way, I'd get rid of all of them, including the mayor." Clara Tumor, Hitchcock resident missioners Henry Coger and Leon Evans voted against both actions. "You can't even drink the water out here because it's full of lead, and they're raising the rates," Turner said. "My husband and I have bought bottled water for the past two years." Clara Mack, who attended the meeting, also was upset about the increases. "My daddy's getting a water bill now of over $40 a month," Mack said. "And he's only here a few days out of the month. This rate increase will only hurt people on fixed incomes." "If the commissioners were doing something to help the city, maybe I could feel OK about them increasing the utility rates. But they're sitting on their hineys, not doing anything." During the meeting, people yelled out that they should not have to pay more for "filthy water." Twice Mayor Harry Robinson had to ask the crowd to quiet down, A dismayed Robinson, who voted to approve the increases, told Coger and Evans that they knew such increases were part of the new city budget, because they had been mentioned specifically at budget workshops. But Evans and Coger said that simply was not true. "To my knowledge, we had never discussed the rate increases," Evans said. "And if that was part of the budget, why would we have had to vote on it last night." Robinson said Evans was the one who originally suggested the rate increases would be a better option than raising the tax rate, which was left at 60 cents in the recently approved budget. Hearing on TC tax rate tonight TEXAS CITY — The City Commission will conduct a public hearing today on a proposed property tax of 24.5 cents per $100 valuation. The hearing is set for 5 p.m. at City Hall, 1801 Ninth Ave. N. The proposed tax rate is 3 cents lower than the current rate. Board announces personnel moves GALVESTON — The Galveston County Beach Park Board recently announced several personnel changes. • Michelle Muniz has been transferred into a full-time secretarial position from the agency's permit section. She is providing support to Deputy Director Bob Duke and other staff members. Muniz has been with the Park Board since August of 1991. • Judith Tillmon replaced Muniz in the permit section. She formerly served the board as an accounting technician. Tillmon was hired by the Park Board in September of 1989. • Margaret Wells was hired to handle citizen needs for rentals of park grounds and buildings. Any citizen needing information on park facilities should call (409) 766-2411. Golden Harvest dinner tonight GALVESTON — The Galveston chapter of the Texas Chefs' Association will host the Galveston Community Golden Harvest Endowment Dinner tonight. The event will be from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Moody Gardens Convention Center. The five-course meal prepared by the 16 members of the association's Galveston chapter will benefit the advancement of the association's educational programs. Proceeds will be shared with Our Daily Bread, a community center for homeless people in Galveston, and the Ronald McDonald House, a facility serving as a home away from home for families of seriously ill children. Michael Edrington, assistant professor of culinary arts at Galveston College, will be master of ceremonies. The program includes dinner music and a late-evening viewing of the feature presentation at Moody Gardens' 3-D IMAX Theater. The dinner benefit is $75 per person, and dress is formal attire. Call Edrington at 763-6551, Ext. 304, to make reservations. Voters league meeting tonight GALVESTON—The League of Women Voters of the Galveston Area will hold a general meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Worthen Auditorium at Rosenberg Library. The "Know Your Town" program will study Galveston, La Marque and Texas City. The league is seeking members. Guests are invited. For more information, call Nina Williamson at 762-1629 or Lynn Thompson at 744-8412. Galveston Bay workshop slated Eddie Seidensticker, a soil conservation agent, will present a workshop on "Galveston Bay — Our Disappearing Shores" Saturday. Offered by the Galveston Bay Foundation, this workshop and boat tour will investigate the causes and effects of erosion, and offer new and innovative, low-cost, low-maintenance ideas for preserving shorelines. Space is limited. The cost is $35 for the daylong workshop- tour. Call the Galveston Bay Foundation at (713) 332-3381 to register.
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