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by Will Lutz    Fri, May 12, 2006, 04:13 PM

The House has concurred in Senate amendments to HB 1. The members can go home at the end of this special session. The final vote was 136-8. (The no votes were Lon Burnam, Garnet Coleman, Jessica Farrar, Rick Noreiga, Rene Oliveira, Eddie Rodriguez, Marc Veasey, and Mike Villarreal.) The bill has to be signed in the presence of both chambers and then goes to the governor. The only part of the Perry-Sharp tax proposal that has not finally passed is HB 5, the tobacco tax increase.

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by Will Lutz    Fri, May 12, 2006, 04:12 PM

During House consideration of Senate amendments to HB 1, several Democrats including Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) asked colleagues to send the bill to conference. The most common complaints from the Democrats are the size of the teacher pay raise (they want a bigger one) and equity. Another common complaint from Democrats was the provision that allows the commissioner to turn the management of schools over to private, non-profit entities if they are rated academically unacceptable two years in a row. House Democratic Leader Jim Dunnam referred to that provision as “vouchers.”

“We don’t have two more weeks. I don’t want to come down here next month,” said the bill’s author Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) who moved to table the Democrats’ motion. Chisum noted that the bill could not spend any more money because of the Texas constitution’s state spending limit. The House tabled Hochberg’s motion to go to conference, 85-68. The House took a lunch break but has not yet voted to concur.

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by Will Lutz    Fri, May 12, 2006, 04:11 PM

The House is considering whether to concur with Senate amendments to HB 1. During the debate Rep. Jerry Madden (R-Plano) asked the House author, Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) to clarify how the bill affects the elected State Board of Education. Chisum clarified that it is not the intent to take away any curriculum authority from the board. He also told Madden that the board is free to reject any recommendations of the vertical alignment teams in the bill, if it disagrees with them. (The vertical alignment teams are composed of college professors and teachers appointed by the commissioner of higher education and the commissioner of education. Their purpose is to align the curriculum with the expectations in higher education.) Chisum also told Madden that the bill would allow the board to reject a portion of the teams’ recommendations, if the board’s parliamentary procedures allow for that. Madden moved to enter the conversation in the House Journal for legislative intent.

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by Will Lutz    Fri, May 12, 2006, 04:10 PM

House Speaker Tom Craddick has sustained a point of order against HB 5 – the cigarette tax bill. The point of order is similar to the one sustained against HB 2. By dedicating part of the cigarette tax to health care in addition to property tax relief, the bill contains more than one subject, Craddick ruled. The bill now returns to the Senate for further action.

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by Will Lutz    Fri, May 12, 2006, 04:09 PM

Gov. Rick Perry has made several additions to the call for the special session, including the future gen project and legislation to protect military funerals.  The latter is in response to an out-of-state protest group of Christian radicals which has been protesting at funerals of Iraq war veterans and calling their deaths God's punishment for America's embracing of the homosexual agenda. Several protests in Texas have already occurred.  Legislation on both issues is already moving forward in the process.

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by Trey Garrison    Fri, May 12, 2006, 10:02 AM

A $30 million makeover for the Cotton Bowl is one of many items that will be included in the proposed 2006 capital bond program, the details of which the city manager's office will be unveiling within a day, according to city spokesman Celso Martinez.

The daily, meanwhile, reports that most of the city council are behind putting that much into the venerable stadium, but the fate ultimately lies in the hands of the voters, should the bond go all the way through to the ballot in November.

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by Brian Bodine    Fri, May 12, 2006, 01:00 AM

Dallas ISD administration officials are saying that the special session is not having the results that they hoped for, though there appears to be developments indicating that the district will not face the anticipated amount of budget shortfall that officials previously anticipated.

“It’s not perfect, but we do see some positive developments,” said Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. During the legislative update at the Board of Trustee’s business briefing, Hinojosa informed trustees that there are developments coming out of Austin which indicate that Dallas would not be given the status of being a property wealthy district. Hinojosa said that the district was being “put through the formulas” and that this would prevent it from having to give money away to property-poor districts.

In March, trustees became aware of the possibility that the district could face a massive budget shortfall because of an increase in property values in Dallas, which would have made the district a property-wealthy school district. This prompted trustees to discuss additional ways to reduce the anticipated budget for the coming fiscal year.

Hinojosa also said that the developments indicate that there will be a salary increase for teachers.


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by Brian Bodine    Fri, May 12, 2006, 01:00 AM

On Thursday, Dallas ISD administration officials informed trustees about their options in dealing with the multi-million dollar contract with FedEx/Kinkos that was intended to save the district millions. Officials said that they would terminate the contract by not renewing it.

In 2003, the district signed a deal with FedEx/Kinkos that outsourced the district’s copying and printing costs to the company. The deal was sold to DISD officials as a way to save money. Company representatives also told district employees that it could save millions on copying and printing costs.

Since 2004, the district’s copying and printing costs have more than doubled.

Ron Peace, the Deputy Superintendent for Business Services, told trustees that they had three options. These included renewing the contract and continuing the district’s course, an additional proposal offered by FedEx/Kinkos, and not extending the contract. Under the first option, DISD would have a $15.7 million dollar balance to pay between August 2005 and August 2008. The additional proposal from FedEx/Kinkos would reduce the balance to be paid by $2 million.

The original contract involved the installation of copying and printing equipment in district schools. District officials said that FedEx/Kinkos will now have to remove its equipment from DISD campuses during the summer and that campus principals will need to select new vendors to supply copier-printer services at their schools.

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by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 11, 2006, 07:18 PM

Remember Mama?

Celebrate Mother's Day in Uptown Sunday, May 14th. Many restaurants will host brunches and there will be specials for Mom all over the neighborhood. Whether it's dining, shopping, listening to music or having her hair done, there's plenty to remember Mama with in Uptown.

Take Mom to see Hank Williams on Mother's Day at the Dallas Theater Center's production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway. Catch one of two performances on May 14th. All tickets for the 2:00 show are 25% off and the 7:30 show is buy one ticket get one free.

Make her smile on Mother's Day during a very special brunch at Sambuca featuring live music and bottomless MOMosa's. Other Uptown restaurants serving special Mother's Day brunches include Ferre, where chef Jeff Moschetti has created an exciting three course meal; Riccardi's, where Mom will receive a complimentary Prosecco upon arrival and live music by David Slater; and Palomino, where chef Jeff DiSanto has created a spectacular menu with Mother in mind.

Take Mom shopping and find the perfect bag at VIA Pelle, the very cool leather store in the West Village. They are offering 10% off VIA Pelle custom handbags, Cameron Nicole Totes (worn by Teri Hatcher), Mommy Bags and Taylor Bags.

Spend the afternoon with Mom at the Nasher. Explore the garden and galleries, have lunch in the Cafe and enjoy a special performance of 20th century choral music by the Arts District Chorale. While there visit the newest exhibit highlighting the works of Renzo Piano, the architect of the Nasher. Concert is free with paid admission to the museum. May 14th, 2:00 & 3:30 p.m.

Treat Mother to a free Kerataste deep conditioning treatment for her hair at Salon Three Thirty when she purchases a blow dry style. A $90 value for $45. When you call to make the appointment, be sure to tell them you're a Mom!

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by Trey Garrison    Thu, May 11, 2006, 07:13 PM

All Town Hall Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.

Monday, May 22, 2006
Park in the Woods
6801 Mountain Creek Parkway

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Kiest Park Recreation Center
3080 S. Hampton Road

Monday, June 5, 2006
Methodist Hospital’s Hitt Auditorium
1441 N. Beckley Rd.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Dallas West Library
2332 Singleton Blvd.

The City Manager has developed a proposed Capital Bond package that is expected to be sent to the voters of Dallas in November. These Town Hall Meetings, held within District 3, will allow residents the opportunity to comment on the proposed recommendations. The meetings are open to the general public.

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