Blanco County News
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Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 • Posted March 1, 2011

Dear Editor,

On February 14, the Blanco Independent School Board renewed and extended contracts with its administrative staff, while simultaneously looking for ways to offset a budget crunch facing the district. The Blanco ISD is asking teachers to retire early as a means to address this potential budget crunch.

The Texas Education Agency has rated Blanco Elementary School and Blanco High School as one level above Academically Unacceptable. This rating is three levels below that of the highest ranking of Exemplary. One might immediately question why administrators would be rewarded for rankings like those. This is even more alarming when the financial statements show that the Blanco ISD currently operates in excess of $500,000 from its reserve fund. This was a note of caution in the recent audit.

Even more alarming is the way scarce resources are allocated by the Blanco ISD. According to documents obtained through an official request, the Blanco ISD retained at least four law firms in 2010. Why would a school district of less than 1000 students need 2 law firms from Dallas, one from Houston and one from Austin to conduct its business? In addition, the Athletic Director/Football Coach had his contract renewed. His salary for teaching two Physical Education classes and “directing” athletics was in excess of $82,500 annually. Why would we ask teachers that are teaching a full load and contributing to our children’s education to retire when we are paying salaries in excess of $82, 500 to the high school Athletic Director? Among his duties, presumably are to “direct” the basketball program. The basketball coach currently makes in excess of $56,000 and coached his team to another losing season in district play. In addition, this coach, with outstanding talent over the past three seasons, has not made it to the playoffs in four seasons. His contract is up for renewal at the March meeting of the Blanco ISD.

A quick comparison of nearby Wimberley ISD provides the following: All Wimberley campuses are “Recognized” by the Texas Education Agency. Wimberley ISD has an enrollment of 2003 students, more than twice the amount of Blanco. Its Superintendent is paid $110,000. The Blanco ISD Superintendent is paid $110,250 per year for less than one half the students and significantly less results. The Wimberley Superintendent’s contract is available for review upon the district’s website.

Why should hard working taxpayers within the Blanco ISD pay higher taxes to reward the Blanco ISD Board and administrators? Why should taxpayers vote to approve a bond project when there appears to be little fiscal control currently in place as indicated by outrageous salaries to those mentioned herein? How can taxpayers trust the decisions made by the Blanco ISD Board and administrators? I urge taxpayers to remember these things when they go to the polls in May. Remember that your current Blanco ISD Board unanimously approved those contracts! Remember that the Blanco ISD is designed to serve the public, not the other way around!

Sincerely,

Mike Barnes

Blanco, TX

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