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Posts published in “Day: July 24, 2003”

Barrett Homecoming mounts a great show

By BOBBY HORN JR.

BARRETT STATION— Organizers of this year’s Barrett Station homecoming celebration say that this is one of the biggest and most well-attended events they have had in years.

The celebration is designed to bring together friends, family and alumni from Charles Drew High School and Drew Intermediate School.

While the homecoming reunion was on July 19, events actually started a week earlier with a kickoff celebration at the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Willie Goodlow, president of the Barrett Station Civic League, said that since church plays such an important role in the Barrett community it was only natural that they should be included in a homecoming celebration. She praised the efforts of the Barrett Ministerial Alliance in helping with the effort and bringing parishioners of different denominations together to celebrate in unity.

On July 15, the Fifth Annual Queen and the First Annual King contest was held at the Riley Chambers Community Center.

This year’s senior queen is Evelyn Jacob’s while Jquayla Paul was named the teen queen. Isaac Outlay was named the first ever king. In addition to this contest, several other groups held pageants as well, naming their own sweethearts.

D.B. Jazzy Mike provided live entertainment the evening of July 18, as the community came together at Barrett Primary School for the Charles R. Drew Reunion Mix and Mingle.

Activities continued the following morning with a parade down Crosby-Lynchburg Road. This year’s parade featured over 50 units including floats, pageant winners, Constable Ken Jones, a pair of motorcycle clubs, and an equestrian club.

After the parade, the Fifth Annual Health Advisors Community Health Fair was held at the Chambers Center. This health fair featured a selection of health screenings from local doctors, the Brentwood Mobile Unit, and immunizations provided by the Baytown Health Center.

The celebration came to a close Saturday night with a reunion at Barrett Primary. The keynote speaker for the night was Leon C. Anderson of Austin. Anderson, a poet and writer, told about his experiences growing up in Barrett Station and how he applied those lessons learned to his life outside of Harris County.

Budget tight at Crosby ISD

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – The Texas legislature won’t be leveling any new taxes to handle the shortfall of state funding for schools, instead, that burden is being shifted to property poor districts like our own.

The Board of Education of Crosby ISD met Monday, July 21 and decided on a balanced budget for this next school year.

The Board cut about $2.3 million dollars out of the operations budget and discarded12 positions. In spite of the funding shortfall, the board decided to make up about $500 per employee in insurance benefits. That is being given as an employee raise, seen as important to lower salaried personnel.

According to Superintendent Don Hendrix, usually Crosby ISD hires about 34 new teachers a year, this year there will be only about 10 new teachers. Also, there are not a lot of teachers moving around to new locations, all school districts throughout Texas are reflecting a statewide recession. At teacher’s fair, where teachers meet with potential employers to seek job opportunities there are usually about 300 to 350 teachers seeking relocation, this year the numbers exceeded 1200.

The Board decided rather than layoff personnel, positions will be shifted, reassigned to new jobs. Teachers that quit and went to new jobs will makeup the number of lost positions at Crosby ISD.

Barbara Barrett, formerly Principal of Drew Intermediate School has been reassigned. According to Hendrix, she is being replaced by Mary Jenkins. Hendrix expressed his full confidence in Ms. Jenkins. The Crosby ISD Board checked with the attorney for Texas School Boards before making the move.

When questioned as to why the Board had made the move, Hendrix stated, “There were legal problems.”

Along with budget shortfalls, changes in personnel can add unexpected problems. Most of Crosby ISD’s employees have their pay direct deposited into their bank accounts. That transfer of funds usually occurs close to the middle of the month. But instead of deposits being made on July 14, they weren’t made until July 17. The reason given is that an incorrect Federal income tax code had been entered for employees and the check deposits had to be stopped and a correction made. The usual personnel handling payables had become ill.

According to Hendrix, in solving the problem, banking entities such as Compass Bank and Crosby State Bank cooperated with Crosby ISD in making the adjustment. A letter was sent to employees explaining the error related to the new tax table.

Crosby ISD will have to absorb the expenses of overdraft if asked for reimbursement with proof of overdraft. This is the second time in 17 years that a similar incident has happened.

Hendrix estimates the cost of the error will be “Very little.” but other sources estimated that the error could potentially cost nearly as much as a year’s salary for a new teacher.

While it may seem unlikely that the cost of the error would run that high, one would have to question if the reassignment of personnel could increase the likelihood of errors for the schools. An employee with complete capability in one job might be less competent in another even similar job. It seems the school district is scrambling to stretch the school dollar just like all the other school districts in Texas.

County Attorney prevails in “Whistleblower” lawsuit

Harris County Attorney Mike Stafford stated that on July 15, 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, sitting in New Orleans, affirmed judgment in Harris County’s favor in Marilyn Murr Doyle v. Harris County.

Dr. Doyle, a former Assistant Medical Examiner at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, sued Harris County alleging that she was wrongfully discharged from employment in violation of the Texas Whistleblower Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

At the conclusion of a fourteen-day july trial, the jury returned a $250,002 verdict against Harris County. Thereafter, Dr. Doyle’s attorneys sought recovery of more than $500,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

Upon review, United States District Judge Melinda Harmon overturned the jury verdict and granted judgment as a matter of law in Harris County’ s favor, finding that “a reasonable trier of fact could not have found as the jury did in this case.”

On Dr. Doyle’s appeal, the Fifth Circuit affirmed judgment in Harris County’s favor, finding that Dr. Doyle’ s theory of recovery was “pure speculation.”

Stafford said that he was pleased with the judgment because he “never believed the taxpayers of Harris County should pay even one penny on this claim.”