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Posts published in “Day: May 26, 2011

CNN spotlights successful Lee College programs

BAYTOWN – As an increasing number of recent college graduates struggle to find jobs, national media outlets are asking the question: What role does education play in our economic recovery?
On Tuesday, May 17 Lee College representatives were given the opportunity to answer that question when CNN correspondent Melissa Morgenweck visited the Baytown campus.
The visit marked the culmination of CNN’s week-long series spotlighting education and employment in America, and was prompted by reports of the Lee College’s successful industry partnerships as well as post-graduation employment rates among the college’s Process Technology students.
Established in part through donations and grants, the ExxonMobil Process Technology Program at Lee College seeks to prepare students for careers as process technicians, operators, research technicians and laboratory technicians in petrochemical facilities.
The Baytown-Houston area is home to 600 large chemical complexes, many of which will face severe shortages in skilled technicians once the ‘baby boomer’ generation begins to retire.
Process Technology instructor Gail Disspayne, and Lee College President Michael Murphy spoke to Morgenweck about the ways in which the Process Technology Program is trying to meet this demand, as well as the importance of technical education programs.
“We will struggle as an economy if we don’t find a way to fill these positions,” Dr. Murphy said.
When asked about their experiences in the Process Technology Program, students Tyler Slovacek, Nathan George, and Laura McCafferty said they felt fortunate.
“My brother graduated a year ago as a computer engineer with a four-year degree, and I graduated last year with a two-year degree and I’m going to make the same amount of money he makes this year,” said McCafferty.
To view CNN’s broadcast, visit:
Lee College in Baytown, Texas, serves a geographic area of more than 280,000 residents that includes the Goose Creek, Anahuac, Barbers Hill, East Chambers, Hardin, Huffman, Hull-Daisetta, and Liberty Independent School Districts. To learn more about Lee College, visit

Federal Funds going to local schools as shortfall looms

AUSTIN – On May 9, the Texas Education Agency announced the allotment of the $830,820,460 in Federal Education Jobs Funds that the State received from the federal government after Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s barring amendment was stripped from the budget last month.
Crosby ISD has spend many hours trimming their budget by not spending on buses, new technology, cutting drastically back on cell phones, doing away with the tax office, terminating all not highly qualified educators, and ending the local Alternative Placement Education. Some 8 total educators will not be back next year at Crosby ISD and even more staff. After Crosby ISD did this adroit job of trimming the fat then we learn that some extra money for keeping teachers could be on the way if appllied for in the right manner.
The school districts wholly or partially located in House District 127 (Rep. Dan Huberty’s District) are receiving a total of $21,175,038 of the funds.
The money was distributed to local districts from highest to lowest as follows:

Humble ISD – $5,521,694
Galena Park ISD – $3,706,275
Goose C. C. ISD – $3,520,507
Deer Park ISD – $2,039,276
New Caney ISD – $1,663,590
Channelview ISD – $1,483,001
Sheldon ISD – $1,122,021
Crosby ISD – $814,504
Dayton ISD – $791,228
Huffman ISD – $512,942
Local Education Agencies (LEA’s) were offered an opportunity to apply for the funds based on weighted average daily attendance (WADA) through TEA. According to the Texas Education Agency, the Ed Jobs Fund grant money runs from August 2010 to September 2012, and can only be used, “for compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing school-level employees, to recall or rehire former school-level employees, and to hire new school-level employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services.”
Upon hearing of the release of funds, Huberty said, “I am very pleased to see these federal dollars finally make it into the hands of the districts who will be the best stewards of this money. We as legislators made sure the funds were distributed in an equitable manner and given to help our districts when they need it most. While we still have a lot of work to do, I know that our Superintendents will use this money to preserve the jobs of our teachers, making sure our children continue to receive a quality education.”
Crosby ISD Superintendent Keith Moore said, “We are very greatful for Mr. Huberty’s efforts and we certainly do need the funding. Right now we have begun to cut back about $3.1 Million, we hope the amount of shortfall will be closer to the Senate’s bill of about $4.2 Billion than the House’s but no one can say for sure.”
“It appears that the education jobs money will flow to the districts but that is not 100% certain. There is still lots of negotiating going on as far as school finance. They are getting close it appears but no one is certain which direction it will go. We just don’t know what is going to happen with the budget but we are greatful for Mr. Huberty’s efforts.”
Freshman State Representative Dan Huberty, R., District 127, has been appointed to the Education Committee and the State Affairs Committee in Austin.

Judge addresses County’s waste

CROSBY– Harris County Judge Ed Emmett addressed the Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce on county problems and projections. It was not the usual talking points with the same old promises as made for the last 20 years. This time someone with an understanding of how the logistics of the county actually get dysfunctional made a suggestion on how the county can save money.
“Here locally the county has problems that are going to start eating our lunch. The criminal justice system, right now the jails are overcrowded, we are sending prisoners to Louisiana and other counties. We have to get some of those people out of our jails. The first people we need to get out of our jails have mental health issues. They are our frequent flyers, we see them over and over.

When I became County Judge I thought I was going to be a transportation guy, now I am much more of a mental health guy. We have got to address the mental health of our county. The largest mental health facility in the State of Texas is the Harris County Jail. On any given night, there are more people there receiving psychotropic medications than any other facility in Texas. That is fundamentally wrong, I don’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat it is wrong. Yes, they have committed crimes but we take them in for the term of their sentence and set them loose and say ‘Have a nice life.’ What we want to do is take them at the appropriated number of hours before they are released and take them to a reintegration center and introduce them to good flight M.H.M.R.A. or Systems of Hope or anybody else who can provide services. M.H.M.R.A. can provide mental health services for about $30 a day in the jail we spend about $300 to $500 a day. When I hear someone say, ‘We don’t have the money build a new reintegration center,’ I say we don’t have the money not to build one. We can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing.” said Emmett.
On indigent health care the county is obligated by federal mandate to keep treating those that show up at emergency rooms and beyond that treatment must prevent a pandemic from breaking out in this County. “We need to start spending our money on preventive care not on emergency room care. What is happening so many do nothing and end up in emergency rooms. There is nothing more expensive and emergency repair a fraction of that amount of money in preventive care and we have better outcomes.”
Emmett took on the issues of statewide financing and school education next.
Emmett had been in the Texas House 1979 until 87. He chairman on the Energy Committee and Transportation Committee. In 1989 President George H. W. Bush nominated him to the Interstate Commerce Commission, he was confirmed and served for three years.