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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


Snack tray budgeting 

When FBISD announced it was in a downward spiral and facing an $18 million deficit, a lot of district employees made suggestions to Superintendent Tim Jenney that they felt could help reduce that amount substantially.

The front page story covers most of the suggestions. And, perhaps a few seem somewhat simplistic in light of the amount the district is in the hole.

Sometimes things aren’t as they seem when you know the whole story. For instance, a number of teachers suggested not serving treats at meetings.

OK—you say—no chips and dips will really help cut that $18 million down rapidly, right?

Probably faster than you think.

In the past I have attended many of the meetings held for the media and other guests. And, it wasn’t a chip and dip kind of moment. No sir, FBISD knows how to throw a little get together in style.

The offerings would include a large array of sub type sandwiches; all types of delicate pastries; pasta salads; and the chips, dips, olives, and pickles as well.

In other words, it was a very nice shindig with all the goodies you could possibly want.

Hold a number of those types of parties and it would cost the district a pretty penny. I understand some of the events are far more formal, and costly, than the type I described.

So, when the employees make suggestions, it might behoove us to listen up. They do know what they are talking about.

Healey and the website

District Attorney John Healey has been around a long time.

Long enough to know all the newspaper deadlines in the county.

And, long enough to know how to miss those deadlines when it is convenient to do so.

Last week I waited until the last second to submit the story on an anti-Healey website put up by the family of the Mayor of Fulshear.

I left messages for John, to no avail.

Then right after deadline, he called. He happened to be out of the office at the time I had left the messages and had just returned.

He really didn’t have anything to say about the website, other than “It isn’t going to stop me from campaigning.”

Didn’t think it would.

I just find it amusing that many of our elected officials have the misconceived notion that we will hold off on a story if they don’t respond.

They really know better but I guess they are hoping.

Public speaking

A lot of issues arise during the “public speaking” time set aside by some of our governmental entities.

By law, the county, cities, and school districts do not have to allocate time for the public to speak out.

I commend those that do allow it because that is often the only way we will know of a brewing issue.

Last week some of the speakers at the FBISD Board meeting were less than happy that the board disallowed clapping when the audience agreed with the speaker.

At first glance it may seem unfair to say you can clap for an award given to a student or teacher but you can’t clap in agreement with a speaker.

Think about it for a minute and it might seem more acceptable. Let’s say there are 10 speakers, each of whom is allocated three minutes to speak. That adds 30 minutes to the meeting.

Now let’s add a few minutes of clapping following each speaker.

See what I mean?

In the evening when everyone is tired, an extra 30 minutes can be more than a little irritating.

On the other hand, if the clapping is short-lived and supportive of the comments, I find it difficult to believe the board minutes could be applied to this as “disruptive.”

The board’s rules prohibit clapping or any other similar response if it is disruptive in nature.

What do you think?

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Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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