March 7th~Year 7, No. 8

Nazareth Historical Markers Dedication

Nazareth Markers

Part of Holy Family’s Cemetery history includes German markers. The top photo showcases one of those markers. The bottom is the Home Mercantile in Nazareth. Image credits: Darryl Birkenfeld and Christena Stephans

Nazareth will be dedicating two historical markers on March 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm.  The first marker will be dedicated at the Holy Family Cemetery, followed by the second marker at the Home Mercantile.

In 2013, the Holy Family Cemetery and Home Mercantile applied for historical markers to preserve their individual histories.  The Texas Historical Commission approved both marker applications in early 2014.  Each of these places has significant histories dating back to 1905 for the Home Mercantile and 1906 for the Holy Family Cemetery.

After the marker dedications, the public is invited to the Home Mercantile at 4 pm for a St. Patrick’s Celebration.  This event will feature the Texas Tech University Irish Set Dancers performing solo and group social dances set to Irish and Celtic music.  Their dances will also include polkas and slide from Cork and Kerry, waulking (women’s work), as well as laments from Scottish Hebrides and Irish-language.

At 5 pm a meal of beef and lamb stew, cornbread, and general refreshments will be served.  The Irish Dancers will conclude the evening with another set of dances ending at 6 pm.  There is no admission charge for this entire event, however donations will be appreciated to help cover the travel costs for the dancers.

 

Good Luck Swifts and Swiftettesstatebound

 

Beating Follet 55-43 at Regional Finals Saturday, the Swiftettes will again compete for the state title. The girls will compete in the State semi-finals against D’Hanis at 10:00 am Thursday in San Antonio. Tickets may be purchased at 1:00 in Mona Brockman’s office. Cost is $12 per ticket for anyone over 2 years of age. The Swifts will play against Valley for the Boys Regional Quarterfinal. The game will be at 6:00 at the WTAMU Event Center. We will be the visiting side.

                  Students Present Art Skills at VASE

                  Three high school art students from Nazareth ISD will travel to Tascosa High March 7 to compete in VASE (Visual Arts Scholastic Event). The students create any art piece of their choice. The students have worked on these art pieces on their own free time. On March 7, they will present it to a judge and give a personal interview. In the interview, the participants answer the judges questions such as, ‘Why did you choose to create this piece?’ or ‘What elements did you use to create it?’. Not only do these students improve their art skills through VASE, but they also get experience in prepping for an interview. The judges consist of art professors or local artists in the art community. The art participants are rated 1-4 with 4 being the best score, and they are judged based on the number of years that they have had high school art. This year will be the third year in a row for Nazareth students to compete in the annual contest. The Nazareth Participants are: junior Carly Wilhelm and freshmen Alli Carson and Madi Carson. The participants had the choice of creating either one or two art pieces. Carly Wilhelm’s first piece is a sculpture titled “Diamond In The Rough,” and her second piece is a 2D art piece of mixed media titled “America’s America.” Alli Carson created two pieces as well: two paintings. One is titled “Twilight Winter” and the other is titled “African Savannah.” Madi Carson created one painting titled “Girl’s Best Friend.”

 

 

It’s time To Contact Our Representatives in Austin

30+ Years of Punitive Small Schools Formula Needs to Be Eliminated

More than 460 small districts have fallen victim to an arbitrary component of our school finance system—a component which serves no other purpose than to penalize schools with less than 300 square miles and deprive their children of the resources and programs they need.

In December, Superintendent Glen Waldo participated in a special school finance working group hosted by the Equity Center in Austin, Texas. Key participants were invited to discuss the effects the punitive small school formula has on their districts, and to work with partners to craft a legislative solution.

Two bills have been filed in the current Legislative Session to remove or repeal this funding penalty for all schools—SB 324 by Senator Nichols and HB 645 by Representative Ashby.

By simply replacing the punitive formula (.00025) with the one the State already uses with districts 300 or more square miles (.0004), Nazareth ISD could receive an additional $326,753 in state funding each year.

I’m asking you to call, write, or email Senator Seliger and Representative King and tell them:

“I support making the multiplier .0004 for all small schools in Texas regardless of square miles.” 

“I support SB 324 (Nichols) & HB 645 (Ashby) that would remove or repeal this financial penalty.”

District 88-Representative Ken King  

PO Box 2910                               

EXT E2.416                                                            

Austin, TX 78768                                                  

(512) 463-0736

Ken.King@house.state.tx.us 

District 31–Senator Kel Seliger    

PO Box 12068

State Capitol, Room GE.4                                                                         

Austin, TX  78711                                                                                 

(512) 463-0131                   

District31.Seliger@senate.state.tx.us

   

                                                      

              

                      

 

Equity Center Information Related to This Topic

*Funding loss estimates provided by the Equity Center

Nazareth ISD – Annual loss in state funding* – $326,753.00                                                            

Bovina ISD – Annual loss in state funding* – $523,822.00

Farwell ISD – Annual loss in state funding* – $563,894.00

Hart ISD – Annual loss in state funding* – $382,544.00

Kress ISD – Annual loss in state funding* – $329,511.00

“Why would the state purposely create a special formula just to penalize a group of districts?” This question originated some 31 years ago and has continued with significant impact on our school in Nazareth, in addition to another 463 districts statewide.

The purpose of the small schools formula is to offset the diseconomy of scale costs associated with small schools size. Based on a modeling process that attempted to quantify how much more the cost per student increases as size decreases, the State created a small schools formula with a multiplier of .0004. This has not changed since the early 1980s.

However, legislative leadership at that time wanted small communities to consolidate their schools and decided any district with less than 300 square miles (an arbitrarily-chosen number) should be funded 37.5% below the state-recognized cost. To emphasize the illegitimacy of the formula, at least a third of the reduction was in retaliation for one state representative reneging on a promise to vote for a tax increase at the time!

While the openly stated intent was to “encourage” these districts to consolidate, very few have chosen to do so because the school is often the center of the community and an essential part of maintaining the vitality of rural Texas.

This punitive formula has meant children in these arbitrarily-chosen rural districts have gone for more than 30 years with fewer resources to offer quality science or career programs. It means local taxpayers have had to pay significantly higher property tax rates to prevent the loss of key teachers to better funded districts.

No one can fairly argue there was ever a legitimate reason to refuse funding at the cost the State recognized as appropriate for geographically-larger small districts. After all, communities do not choose to be small. They do, however, choose to have a local school!

 

 

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