Just vote no
Editor: This letter is to urge the citizens of Rockwall to vote no — vote against the school bond election Feb 4.
Why do I say vote no? Because I feel the existing school board and superintendent are just plain out of touch with the desires of Rockwall taxpayers. I feel the existing school board is a master of non-transparency. And it is time to get their attention.
The audit by Carol Keeton Strayhorn in 2003 revealed that a purchase of $1.4 million of computer equipment was listed under date processing and the district was slapped on the hand for 32 other buying discrepancies that went against state regulation and accounting rules.
How many people who voted in the last school bond election knew that only half a high school would be built? (Rockwall-Heath High School has no auditorium.) How many knew our tax dollars were going to pay for the parking lot of the United Methodist church? It is my understanding that our superintendent’s secretary is a member at that church. I will never go to a football game or to the United Methodist church, yet my tax dollars were used to pave their parking lot.
Why are we still buying property when other districts require developers to donate school sites in the middle of the developments? And that land, which is bought for the future, is costing us maintenance dollars, which could be used to subsidized teachers and classroom needs.
Why do we not have full-day kindergarten at all campuses? Mark Elam’s salary is enough to pay 2.5 kindergarten teachers (we have two high school football coaches who can assume his job) and our PR person has two assistants. Eliminate all said positions, and we could afford five kindergarten teachers.
The YMCA currently has plans to build a new facility in Heath. We do not need to fund a natatorium when a complete pool will be built by private industry and useable just the same as the current Y. Why pay for technology with 30-year bonds that will be obsolete in five years?
It is time to say no to the Taj Mahals and the monuments they are building to themselves while SAT scores continue to severely lag behind Plano. Our girls’ scores are a full 90 to100 points behind (derived from the 2004 AEIS reports). Sports continue to get the lion’s share of tax dollars, department heads of core subjects get $2,500 stipends while coaches in sports other than football earn as much as $6,500 stipends, and trainers can earn $8,750.
And I plead with you, go to Plano’s Web site at www.pisd.edu if you want to see a district that is serious about communicating with their parents.
Say no to No. 1 — the Taj Mahal / real estate bond
Say no to No. 2 — the Mark Elam Midland Odessa Bond
Say no to No. 3 — the natatorium; let the Y build it.
RISD needs a natatorium
Editor: The Rockwall High School swim team competed in the District 12-5A meet over the weekend.
The girl’s team won the meet and the boys finished second to Tyler Lee. The community of Rockwall should be proud of these athletes and the many hours of practice, discipline and dedication that it took to achieve this.
The meet was held at the Rockwall YMCA pool. Teams from District 115A participated in the meet as well. There were 120 athletes competing and at one point over 400 people on the pool deck. Anyone who believes Rockwall does not need a natatorium should have attended this meet. Since it was raining, the doors and top had to remain closed. This made it hot and uncomfortable for all. Think of spending seven hours in greenhouse. There are many leaks in the roof covering the Y pool, so the timing system had to be covered to protect it, as did the awards.
All 120 athletes came to the meet prepared and were expected by their coaches and themselves to do their best. As a community, we owe it to them to give them our best.
Please support the building of a natatorium in Rockwall by voting yes on all three bond issues on the fourth. Thank you.
Many of the swimming Jackets qualified for the Region 3-5A meet in 2 weeks at LOOS Natatorium in Addison. Stop by the Y at 6:30 a.m. and wish them luck!
Correcting some misinformation
Editor: Over the past several weeks, I have been part of a volunteer group that has been going around our community and presenting the facts that each voter would need to make their decision about the 2006 Rockwall school bond proposals.
I have been told and have heard several people making statements about the bond proposals that are using information that is not totally accurate. A little bit of misinformation can go a long way to convince people to vote uninformed and end up defeating a bond proposal for the wrong reasons.
Our schools have learned from other school districts over the state that to build a building by lower standards results in a higher maintenance, repair and replacement cost in the long run. A building built to a higher standard will normally recoup that cost over the life of the bond several times by the reduced need of extra maintenance and upkeep.
In the past, our schools had been able to use similar buildings in our district to cut additional design cost. The next group of elementary and middle schools will not have that luxury. The future plans of our buildings will have to accommodate new standards that will be necessary due to things beyond our control, such as full day kindergarten.
All the bonds approved are not sold for same duration. Money needed for technology and busses would be on a shorter term than money needed to building the schools.
Wilkerson-Sanders Stadium will be renovated so that the seating and safety standards implemented can be used by both Rockwall High School and Rockwall-Heath High School, but also for the future High School No. 3. There has been speculation by some people that the stadium that was built at Rockwall-Heath High School was the only varsity stadium that they would have access to and that possibility has never been discussed at any presentation either for the 2001 bond or with this bond.
The needs for the natatorium were brought to the voters after many hours and months of discussion with our district staff and many parents and other individuals involved with the swimming community in our area. Proposal 3 was determined to be the most logical starting pointing to get this program started.
Everyone involved understood that this project would be built in phases and that the needed items would be built first. By building this facility on an existing site, dressing facilities would be available to the participants without compromising safety or health issues. Covered access to the existing dressing areas would mean that no one would be getting out of the pool and running outside to get to available dressing areas. Seating would come in the future as additional money was available that could be from another party other than the school district.
Our proposed tax implications could result in an annual tax increase of less than $51 on the average home in Rockwall schools that are not already frozen by an over-65 exemption. The facts are that when the 2001 bond Proposal was passed, the taxpayers were told that the proposed tax increase would be $.4543 per $100 assessed value. Due to the very strong fiscal oversight of our district staff and school board, that number in 2005 was actually $.38 per $100 assessed value. History tells us that the $51 annual increase might not even be up to that amount.
I do not have children that ever have or will attend Rockwall schools, but as a former educator and as a local real estate agent, I understand the need to continue to move, forward and I encourage everyone to vote and to vote yes to all three proposals.
Co-Chair Presentation Committee
Excited about natatorium
Editor: As a mother of four swimmers, I am very excited about Proposition 3 for the natatorium in the upcoming RISD bond election.
We drove for years to Greenville for swim practice and to have a major swim facility in Rockwall is awesome.
Having seen many swim facilities over the years, I am particularly grateful for the planning and foresight of the school board and administration in putting the natatorium next to an existing sports facility that already has dressing rooms. It is a much more cost effective and efficient use of facilities.
Our high school son just competed at the Carrolton Farmers Branch natatorium that is built next to their football stadium and from what we were told, it saved the taxpayers over $2 million. What a great way to save taxes!
The Greater Rockwall area is growing and needs a facility like this, not just for the swim teams, but for the entire community. The new facility will be able to serve not only the swim teams, but will be able to be used for the physical education curriculum in the elementary schools.
As a waterside community, no child should ever leave the Rockwall school system without being able to swim. The facility could also potentially be used for Special Olympics, physical therapy, scuba diving classes and senior aquatic programs.
Please join me in voting yes for Proposition 3 in the RISD Bond Election. For only $5 per year for the average RISD taxpayer, it is the right thing to do: For the community and especially for our children.
Give someone else a chance
Editor: I am writing to express my support for the natatorium and Proposition 3 in the RISD bond election.
As a former swimmer at Rockwall High School, swimming has taught me so much about self confidence, discipline, setting goals and pushing myself to and beyond limits in various aspects of my life. I was fortunate to be able to swim my freshman year in college on a scholarship at a Division I school due to my performance as a high school swimmer.
I am grateful that the school board and administration has the vision to build a 50-meter pool now before Rockwall has more than two high schools. Swimming at the YMCA provided several problems with their existing members, capacity and condition of the pool, though we were grateful. A small pool will just not meet the needs of the swim teams, elementary school children, and the community.
Through my experiences teaching swim lessons as well, I appreciate the foresight to provide a facility that can better serve the community and the children in it. Water safety is an issue that I feel strongly about, particularly with having Lake Ray Hubbard in such close proximity.
I was surprised that the cost to the average taxpayer is only $5 per year. The benefits of a natatorium far exceed the cost. I would ask that the citizens of Rockwall join me in supporting the future youth of Rockwall in voting yes for Proposition 3 on Feb. 4. Give some other young woman the same opportunity that I have had.
Evolution also based on faith
Editor: I don’t take exception with Mr. Corneau’s assertion that “intelligent design” is faith-based. What bothers me is that he seemingly does not understand that “evolution” is also faith-based.
Science is ultimately, empirical. That is, any scientific assertions are subject to proof by experiment. Those experiments are usually repeated by various researchers, in various locales – to help remove time, location, and other variables from the results.
No experiment has ever been performed that shows that new species arise from natural selection.
No experiment has ever been performed that shows that the “Big Bang” constituted the “origin of the universe.”
Is there circumstantial evidence to support the “Big Bang”? Yes.
Is there circumstantial evidence to support the theory of evolution? Yes.
Is there circumstantial evidence to support “intelligent design”? Yes.
The problem I have with Mr. Corneau and his ilk is that they accept the theory of evolution as “fact” when it is not. The theory of evolution is speculation, as is the “Big Bang.” Both “evolution” and “intelligent design” require the suspension of causality as we know it. Evolution requires us to believe that irreducibly complex changes in organisms can just “arise,” a mathematical near-impossibility. Intelligent design asks us to believe in a “first cause” without a predecessor (God).
While there is no experimental proof that new species can arise by accidental means, there may soon be evidence that species can be created by design. A lot of universities and other laboratories are genetically altering plants and animals, and it is probably just a matter of time until they create something that will reproduce, but cannot be successfully bred with the beings that it was created from.
What will Mr. Corneau say if this occurs? Will he say that “intelligent design” still cannot be taught because it is a “violation of the separation of church and state”?
People like Mr. Corneau have besmirched the good name of science. He actively promotes the (rather expensive) pursuit of cosmological speculation as science, which it is not.
Between the cosmologists and the psychologists, science has been tainted with the worst forms of self-serving sophistry. Let’s hope that the teachers in the Rockwall Independent School District (the “finest in the world,” according to Mr. Corneau) don’t follow his lead and deceive our children — perhaps ruining the students’ understanding of the scientific method and destroying their interest in science as a legitimate pursuit.
Read what was actually written
Editor: I knew my guest column on Intelligent Design might stir a little controversy. Open discussion is what makes America great.
The part that bothers me, though, is when someone either does not take care to read what I actually wrote, or simply ignores it. One individual had a column in which he wrote what amounted to a response to my article, and that is the one I feel the need to address.
The columnist starts by assuming, with no evidence to support his assumption whatsoever, that because I am on the Rockwall City Council, I might impose my own religious beliefs on others. Anyone who knows me knows that is laughable.
Not only would I never use a political office to impose religious beliefs on others, I feel strongly that government should stay out of matters of religion. Indeed, you’d be hard pressed to find a more ardent or open supporter of the doctrine of separating church and state, even when that viewpoint is probably not shared by a majority of my fellow Rockwall citizens.
Next, the columnist takes issue with my statement that ID is every bit as provable as Darwin’s Theory. You do not have to possess a degree in biology or chemistry to know that Darwin’s Theory is, by definition, a theory and not provable. My bachelor of science degree gives me enough knowledge to know the difference between a theory and a fact, and the theory of evolution is not a fact (although I think it is correct).
That it is not a fact, however, does not make its logic any less forceful. But to say that Darwin’s Theory is a stronger theory than ID’s postulation that we were created by a supreme being ignores the reality that such theories cannot be proven. Neither, or course, can God’s existence. And, while I said ID is a viable theory, I never said ID was a scientific theory. But that does not make it any less a viable theory either.
Next the columnist says that, by implication, I think teaching ID in classrooms does not violate the First Amendment. There is nothing in my article, express or implied, that should have given him or anyone else the impression that I thought teaching ID in the classrooms was constitutionally permissible. What I clearly said was, and I quote, “Simply saying ID exists as an alternative explanation to our existence, without trying to teach it, does not support one religion over another or religion over nonreligion.”
I don’t know how much more clearly I could have said it than that. In my legal opinion, simply mentioning at the beginning of the ninth grade biology semester that another theory on our existence is out there does not violate the separation of church and state. But at no time have I ever advocated teaching ID in the biology classroom. From a constitutional standpoint, however, I think there is a big difference between mentioning a theory’s existence and teaching it.
Finally, I don’t know what is inappropriate about using my legal training to discuss this issue, nor can I think of a subject more appropriate for me to discuss. I think my legal training gives me some basis on which to offer reasoned insight into it. Because, in the end, what I was talking about was a legal ruling in federal court by a federal district court judge, and that is a legal matter, not a scientific one.
Matthew R. Scott
Rockwall City Council
Supporting Beaty for JP
Editor: We submit this letter in support of Nancy Beaty running for justice of the peace in Rockwall County.
Nancy Beaty’s interest in serving as justice of the peace in Precincts 2 and 3 in Rockwall gives local voters a good opportunity to place a well qualified candidate in an important job.
During her 20 years of residency, she has consistently been a constructive influence on worthwhile civic and social projects that make Rockwall a good place to live. Nancy has done her homework, understands the responsibilities and is willing to accept the challenge. Her inquiring mind and earnest zeal are unusual traits.
We would be indeed fortunate to have her serve as justice of the peace.
Taylor and Mary McClure
Editor: I have only know Nancy Beaty for a short time and have found her to be a committed and dedicated person in all that she does. That is why I am giving her my support during her campaign for justice of the peace, Precincts 2 and 3.
Nancy is a dedicated Republican at the local, state and national levels. She has worked as an election judge, election clerk and she has attending her precinct, county and state conventions. She is an active member with the Republican Women’s Club, the National and Texas Federation of Republican Women, the Rockwall County GOP and is a strong supporter of the Young Republicans of Rockwall County. She is the only candidate in the JP Precincts 2 and 3 race that has such a dedicated service record to the Republican Party.
Nancy believes that education is important to our children. I know that she will work to fight truancy by partnering with Rockwall ISD and the Juvenile Services Department. She has a proven record of implementing her problem solving skills in difficult areas and those skills will be useful in this matter.
I am voting for Nancy Beaty; I hope you will, too.
Early voting begins February 21 at the Historic Courthouse, downtown Rockwall!
She deserves our support
Editor: I am writing in support of Nancy Beaty’s campaign for justice of the peace for Precincts 2 and 3 in Rockwall.
I have known Nancy for a number of years. I have worked with her at a newspaper and know her family. I have found her to be outgoing, honest and very community oriented. She has two sons and a daughter and has outstanding family values. Nancy and her family are active in a church here in Rockwall.
I strongly urge the voters in Rockwall to help elect Nancy Beaty.
Just vote no