Master CraftsMon

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Kiwanis Speaker was Fred Brown, State Representative

Fred Brown, my Texas state representative, was speaker for my Kiwanis meeting today. Fred's into stopping waste and trying to advocate for higher education. The State of Texas has just in the last few years discovered that they have NO idea how the money Texas spends on state colleges is used. The State of Texas has this big pool of cash that they get from oil revenues on State lands. In the past, they gave the cash to the state colleges and forgot about it. The problem is that too many Texas children want to go to State colleges and too many students in the colleges are not getting through in a timely fashion. Are you getting this? The throughput of kids graduating from colleges, thus allowing more kids to attend, has become a political issue. Because the State suddenly has to deal with the fact that not enough kids are getting through the colleges in a timely fashion, they also noticed that they had no audit of how the colleges were spending the money. Even the Q drop policies are becoming an issue. It's turning into a can of worms. Some of the state colleges and universities are offering golden parachutes to faculty and staff to GO AWAY. Too weird.

I asked Fred about the project I outlined to him a while back. He didn't remember of course. The idea is that dormant accounts in banks are forfeit to the State after a certain period. My idea is to have the money instead go to the county trust for distribution to worthy goals in a given county. My worry is that the money is getting eaten up by costs. I mean, the amount of cost to administrate the money may be so large that the forfeiture may be costing the State money. I want the money to fund local charities not go to the State of Texas to fund God knows what. Fred said that he would really look into it. Ah, maybe he will. I will ask again when I see him. Yeah, I know, you're saying, "So you see this guy a lot do you?" and laughing. Well, kind of. I'm part of the Brazos Valley Republican Club which is a support group for the Republican Party locally, so Fred has to show up occasionally. Fred kind of knows me. Mainly because I'm the one in the group that asks hard questions. Fred's a good politician. He remembers faces.

Anyway. The Robin Hood plan has been struck down by the Texas State Supreme Court for an interesting reason: The Robin Hood plan for funding schools set caps on local property taxes statewide. This is against the Texas Constitution. I find that amusing, because no one noticed that in 1991 when the Robin Hood plan was put into place. Now the State of Texas has to find a new way of funding schools. In addition they will have to consolidate the number of independent school districts. Texas has 10% of all school districts in the United States. We need to move to a countywide school district for administrative purposes. Administrative costs are either too big or small compared to other costs of K-12 education. I do not know. That is how confusing school finance is.

I am hoping, as I said in my show, that one of these days the State of Texas will be out of the school business. Don't know whether that is possible. We shall see.

A Black guy got up and asked whether Fred could help lower the 70% dropout rate in Bryan Independent School District (BISD). Fred said that he could do nothing. Every time the State intervenes locally, they get burned. I ran up to him after the meeting and pointed out that one of our members, Larry Ringer, had become mayor of College Station after my Kiwanis Club sent him to the Parks and Recreation Board back in the late 1970's. I told the guy that if he wanted to run for the BISD School Board, that members of the club would back him. And I meant it. The reason I don't know his name is that as Secretary I have not gotten his membership form. My Board will vote on that at the next meeting two Tuesdays from today. I hope we can get him into the club.

Damn, it's hard to keep Blacks in the club. My Kiwanis Club does so much for Blacks in the area, but a Black comes in and sees all our White faces and decides to go elsewhere. It's a stupid idea not to have input from the people our club is trying to help.

Someone volunteered to take my shift tomorrow, so I do not need to go in and do a music show tomorrow morning. I am ever so glad of that.


  • It might be interesting to trace the unconstitutional ruling of the Robin Hood Ban to the recent flip of judges from blue to red since 1991. As for Fred Brown, I've had conversations with him over tuition deregulation and state spending. In one sitting he took over 5 positions. Needless to say I'm not too impressed.

    By Anonymous Phil, at Monday, February 20, 2006 12:18:00 AM  

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