I will admit I was wrong about one thing…

Just want to clear this up because I will admit when I am wrong.  My sister was mistaken.  I have spoken to Principal Riza Cooper and the employees did not pay for the Christmas party in 2010, but did in 2009 and in 2011.  I apologize for my misinformation, but completely still back up anything else I have said.  I will keep yall updated as I find out additional information.


Just a little more information to back up what I “heard”

Okay, so it’s getting very depressing to get on Facebook and see a bunch of adults acting like teenagers by going back and forth fighting.  I think it is very clear that the majority of us are definitely for the teachers/principal at EMS and I hope that that makes them realize how much they are appreciated.

So, at first, I did not feel like looking at all of this crap, but then I just glanced at it and started writing stuff down and found a lot of interesting stuff.  So, all of this evidence of all of the “wrongdoing” is on Facebook.  You can go to the Elgin Community Forum page and go to the photo albums and see MOST of the stuff there.  There are lots of checks.  I would say most of them are made out to HEB.  Yes, a lot of it was party trays for faculty meetings, but a lot of it was coffee, creamer, napkins, cups, coffee stirs, splenda, sugar, etc.  I even saw some school supplies in there, as well as cake for retirement parties, drinks for the school dance to sell, the giftcards that are in question, some cookies, orange juice when they had breakfast, candy at Halloween, etc.  You can go to the page and view it all yourself.  Yes, it is a lot of food, but it is a lot of other stuff too.  There are a lot of checks to Powell’s Printery in town for envelopes, paper, business cards, etc.  I only saw two trips to Super Donuts, and they were used for the math department meetings.  Five trips to Jaliscos for breakfast tacos.  Two trips to Southside Market.  Three trips to Meyers.  A trip to Little Caesars, a trip to Ricardos Tacos, which were during Taks Testing.  A trip to Mr. Catfish where $12.34 was spent on lunch for a guest speaker.  A trip to Guadalajara for the new teacher luncheon.  That is about all I see of the restaurants, but if you go look, be very careful and make sure you pay close attention.  There are a LOT of duplicates. 

Now, on to school supplies.  These are supplies for the classrooms, mostly for the flex classes.  A trip to Party City.  A trip to Home Depot.  Five trips to HEB for supplies or for cooking class supplies.  A trip to Teacher Heaven.  Eight trips to Walmart for plaques, crochet products, and other flex class materials.  A trip to Radio Shack.  A trip to Bloomers for gardening class.  Three trips to Hobby Lobby.  A LOT of reimbursement checks made out to teacher’s who purchased their own supplies, along with the receipts for them.  Nearly $8,000 spent on shirts for the students and teachers, and yes, everyone has to pay for them.  This is a teacher fundraiser I would say.  $250 to the dj for the staff party, but also $150 to the dj for the school dance.  A few purchases of shirts for the administrators, a purchase for the school’s police officer, a purchase for security for a school dance.  The purchase of 1000 pencils to be used by the kids during TAKS.  There was a field trip to an art museum.  Feel free to go look at the checks yourself and then form your own opinion.  Then we don’t have people arguing about who is right, the Elgin Courier, or KXAN.  You decide for yourself, but please pay attention to the many duplicates. 

Okay, so after seeing all of that I was like hmmmm….I didn’t see THAT much food spending!!!  The bills from HEB were high, yes.  Groceries are high, as we all know.  Anyways…I kept wondering where all of the deposit information was for this “account.”  We are seeing all of this money coming out of it, but surely we get to see what is going into it.  So, I find it.  What little of it there is.  Let me just tell you what I found.  These are all deposits into the account.  If they aren’t, I am going to be specific and tell you what is really going on. 

11/3/10-Deposit of $241.25 but I can’t see the part of the page to see where it came from

11/3/10-Deposit of $252.90 and it says Costumes-I am thinking that this is because the kids paid to wear costumes on Halloween

11/3/10-Deposit of $8,696 from the Fundraiser-This is the money that all of the kids collected.  Keep this in mind, because then we have to pay the company for the stuff that was ordered.

11/9/10-Deposit of $112.50 more from the Fundraiser.

11/9/10-Deposit of $63.90 from pickle sales.

11/9/10-Deposit of $61.65 from hat day (the students pay to get to wear a hat).

11/18/10-Deposit of $196.00 from the concession stand at the girls basketball game against Del Valle.  This was weird because I was told that over 14 months, we only raised $250 in concessions!!!  Lol.

11/10-Okay, here is where you pay attention.  The top of this page is hidden so if you aren’t paying attention to the page, you may ASSUME this is a deposit, but in fact, this is where we actually had to PAY Great American for our fundraiser items, so we subtract $4,999.23 from the fundraiser amount above.

11/19/10-Deposit of $520.50 from the Dance Concessions!

11/19/10-Deposit of $85.70 from pickle sales.

11/19/10-Deposit of $849.70 from Dance Ticket Sales!

11/19/10-Deposit of $41.75 from the online fundraiser profit.

12/3/10-Deposit of $128.40 from pickle sales.

12/15/10-Deposit of $171.00 from t-shirt sales.

12/15/10-Deposit of $180.00 for staff to wear jeans for the week.

12/15/10-Deposit of $35.00 from sale of agendas.

12/15/10-Deposit of $178.03 from pickle/candy sales.

12/16/10-Now we have to come out of money for the Fundraiser Prizes for the kids-so subtract $389.49 more from the original fundraiser amount….which leaves us with a grand total of $3658.90 that was raised from the fundraiser that fall of 2010.  The teachers, on the other hand, raised $2,786 that MONTH that we can see, but I am pretty sure there is even more than that because the top of the pages are cut off and you can see where there are deposits that are not visible. 

All that was showing for deposits on this facebook page was this month and a half back in 2010.  I did find two other deposits throughout all of the posts though.

4/21/11-Deposit from Concessions on 4/8 and 4/15, agendas and t-shirt sales-$549.85

5/7/11-Deposit of $161.90 from pickle sales.

I don’t know about yall, but all of this doesn’t add up to me.  We see all of these checks for things purchased from this fund, with checks dating all the way back to January 2010.  Let’s see all of the deposits since January 2010.  Then let’s decide what’s going on.  I was told yesterday that we had only raised $250 in concessions in the last 14 months.  I was pretty sure that was impossible, unless we never had a concession stand!  Then right here, we see in only 3 times a concession stand was open, over $1200 was raised. 

I tried to get the check register from the middle school so that I can see all of the deposits, but I guess I have to do an open records request and it takes forever.  So, I will look into it, but until then…here is some food for thought. 

Now, with that being said….I am not trying to argue with anyone.  If you don’t believe what I say, go look at the stuff posted on the Elgin Community Forum and go through all of the records yourself.  That is what we have been encouraged to do, and that is what I did.


Up early this morning…Happy Wednesday!

Well, I guess I couldn’t come down off the adrenaline rush from last night because I never really went to sleep last night.  Finally, at 5, I decided to stop trying.  Let’s see what is going on today!!!

NEWS

Well, on the front page of the Statesman, it looks like Mitt Romney has won two more states in the primary election, Arizona and Michigan.  From what I understand, if he didn’t win these states, it was becoming less likely that he would be the candidate because Rick Santorum has been kicking his butt.  However, he did win, so he is still in the race. 

Yesterday, the Dow closed above 13,000 for the first time since May 19, 2008!  That is great news and again, another sign at how our economy is recovering.  After a report that consumer confidence jumped in February to its highest level in a year, the dow pushed on over 13,000 and stayed there most of the day.  I would definitely say things are looking up!

WEATHER

Right now, it is 66, but should get up to 76 today, with a 20% chance of rain.

Tonight should get down to 61, with a 10% chance of rain, and tomorrow’s high should be 81 with a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms.

ENTERTAINMENT

Awww, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck welcomed their third child and this time, it’s a boy!!!  He joins sisters, Seraphina, 3, and Violet, 6.  How exciting for them!!!

Lindsay Lohan claims she has become a homebody and partying isn’t for her anymore.  With her legal troubles almost over, we will see if she sticks to that!

ELGIN NEWS

Not much on the agenda today….I do know that our JV and Varsity Softball teams won last night.  Girls Varsity Soccer won last night 1-0!!!  Go cats! I haven’t seen anything about any of the other teams though, so if anyone has the info, please let me know and we will get it up here.  I have a lot of information that I am about to go through, so once I get everything together, I will write a little more about things going on in town. 

Everyone have a great day!  Funny how I can’t sleep at night, but now that it is 7 a.m., I think I could go straight to sleep!  :)  Totally forgot that today was Leap Day!!!  How neat!  Everyone enjoy the day that only comes every four years!  :)


KXAN vs. ELGIN ISD

Okay everyone!  I waited to see the story on KXAN before I wrote mine.  Okay, so here it goes….

Not really sure what got this little investigation started, but several parents are concerned about the way the Middle School Activity Fund money is being used.  While I understand the concern, I also think that KXAN is only covering a small bit of the whole picture.

In the last 14 months, I am being told that over $40,000.00 was in that Activity Fund.  The money in this account comes from MANY sources, NOT only from student fundraising.  The majority of this money is actually from the middle school concession stands worked at all of the athletic events.  I am not sure how much yall know about the amount of money that is raised in concession stands, but I can assure you that it is a lot.  It is also money from the student i.d. fines-when the student has to pay for a new i.d. or if they forgot to wear their i.d.  Also included in this money is fundraisers that the teachers have.  As KXAN said, a teacher can pay $50 to this account and be able to wear jeans for the rest of the year instead of only being allowed to wear jeans on Fridays.  So, maybe it seems like the principal is spending all of this money that the students are raising, but in reality, that is not true.  Of the $40,000 in the account, $10,000 on meals for the teachers is really not that much.  14 months is over a year.  The receipts say that $1,102.04 were spent on breakfast tacos.  So, lets say there are 100 teachers and they purchased one taco for each teacher at $1, that would only be 11 times.  The thing is, I think we all know breakfast tacos are more than $1 and I doubt they only purchased enough for each person to have one.  So, to provide breakfast tacos for the staff on a staff development day out of money raised in concessions is wrong?  I completely disagree.  If you told me that the principal was buying breakfast tacos for the staff out of the technology fund, that is to be used for technology devices used in the classroom, then this would be a whole other story! 

Did anyone think to ask what the other $30,000 was spent on?  I know they spend this money on the honor roll breakfast and lunches and field trips.  The BBQ materials that were labeled for the lounge?  Perhaps that was the wrong thing to label it, but I would be willing to bet that was the BBQ stuff for the Back To School Barbeque that they had for the kids in August.  I know they also gave out backpacks full of school supplies when the kids came to get their schedules.  It seems to me that everyone is reacting to these allegations without really thinking about it or knowing all of the facts.  These teachers at the schools take care of our kids almost as much as we do.  We trust them to take care of our children, but we think it is wrong for them to be able to have a Christmas party, or to have snacks at a faculty meeting???  I know that I appreciate everything that Sammy’s teacher does for him.  I respect her and would gladly buy her lunch for being able to take care of a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds all day and not just taking care of them, but having the ability to actually TEACH them.  Yes, a lot of us are great parents that give our kids lots of attention and love, but if you aren’t familiar with the school setting, then you don’t realize how many kids don’t have parents that give them attention and love.  This is where the teachers come in.  Sometimes a teacher is the only thing a child has!  Come on people, why are we really upset about this? 

What I also wondered is why did nobody ask Mrs. Cooper, the principal at the Middle School why she did this?  I was then told that nobody is allowed to speak on these issues except for the administration.  I just doubt that she came to this school district and decided to start spending money on things that weren’t normally purchased out of this account.  Do we know if this was done by principals before her?  Does this happen at other school districts or other schools?  I think if you investigated this even further, you would find that this is a pretty common practice.  One of the administrators mentioned that it was used to keep the morale of the teachers up.  I completely understand that.  I know it is very common for businesses to do this type of thing for their employees.  I have worked a lot of places and most of them have done this same sort of thing for us.  I know the last company I worked for spent a ton of money on buying us breakfast and lunch all the time.  This is a way to keep their employees happy and to make them feel appreciated so that they will keep doing a good job.  Do you know what a teacher makes?  Trust me, you don’t want to!  Why is it wrong for their principal to spend concession stand or id money, or when it comes down to it, even fundraiser money, to reward them for a job well done and to make them feel appreciated!  I know I don’t want my kid in a classroom with a fed-up, angry teacher that feels nobody cares about how hard they work every day to make sure are kids are capable of one day going out into the world and becoming successful. 

I understand that everyone is upset because they believe that this is money that was raised by their kids and it should be used on the kids and not the teachers.  I guess I have never really thought about where the money goes from the fundraisers.  You know it is going to the school, but where?  This could turn into a huge issue if you questioned where your money went for all of the things you were involved in and found out the truth, but I do think that so what if your fundraiser money is being spent on giving your kid’s teacher a few perks throughout the year?  What did you really think they were doing with it???  Spending it on playground equipment?  Noooo, taxpayers pay for that!  Spending it on keeping up the school?  Noooo, taxpayers pay for that too.  Perhaps you thought it went on supplies for the kids classrooms, noooo, sadly enough, most of the teachers come out of their pockets for a lot of the supplies in their kid’s classrooms.  Honestly, if someone told me we were doing these fundraisers to reward the teachers, I may actually want to do them.

How do you think that the Middle School teachers feel after this news story?  Instead of constantly looking for what our schools or our community is doing wrong, let’s look for the positive things.  If you are unhappy with the school district, it’s a free country, you can homeschool your kids or you can move and take them to a school that is perfect.  Good luck finding one.  Why don’t we try thanking our teachers and administrators for a job well done.  Nobody is perfect and it’s pretty wrong to target a principal for taking care of her staff.  Did you expect her to spend the money out of her pocket?  Well I guess the taxpayers need to approve a new budget so that she can get a raise. 

Several people have also been making comments about activity funds at other campuses.  I can’t vouch for all of the campuses because I am not familiar with them, but I can vouch for the high school.  The High School has approximately 39 activity accounts.  Every club, athletic group and each class all have their own fund.  The miscellaneous account at EHS is the smallest of all of these since there are no schoolwide fundraisers.  The money from these accounts is spent on the kids in the club/organization.  For example, someone mentioned senior trips.  These are paid for with the money which that class has raised over the past four years.  Proms are more expensive each year and the bulk of the class’ activity fund is spent on the prom.  The students choose their location, food, band/dj, etc.  I don’t know about yall, but I know that the Class of ’98 had a fun senior trip to the……wait for it…..STATE CAPITOL!!!  Lol, so as far as senior trips go, if you want your child to have a good one, then I suggest you get in there and help their class raise a LOT of money!!! 

Am I writing this as a journalist?  Probably not.  I am biased, true enough.  Am I afraid to say the school district is doing wrong if I think they are?  No.  I would gladly say the same thing if I agreed with everyone.  I do not mean to offend anybody in any way.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  When I started out writing this, I didn’t even realize how strongly I felt about it.  About midway through though, it dawned on me that everyone is mad that a principal is taking care of her teachers.  HER teachers that take care of OUR kids.  If you really think that those stupid fundraiser they do, I think the middle school sells cups, actually bring in $10,000, then I think you are very mistaken.  As I said before, I do not want to offend anyone, and I am not taking offense about what anyone else has said.  I just thought that since the KXAN piece was so slanted, then I should maybe write from a different perspective.  If I had not seen that first, I doubt my story would be anything like this. 

Last but not least, regardless of how you feel about this, thanks to all of the commotion, none of you have to worry about this happening anymore.  The principals are no longer allowed to spend any of the money out of the activity funds without approval from the administrators.  So….if your kids come home complaining that their teachers are always in a bad mood, take pride in the part you played.


Happy Tuesday!!! It’s National Pancake Day!

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Today, at IHOP, you can get a free small stack of pancakes in honor of National Pancake Day.  So if you feel like traveling to Austin, or already are in Austin, there is a cheap meal! 

NEWS

I just read more news about the Ohio high school shooting we talked about yesterday where five students were injured with one dead…that has climbed to three dead now.  How horrible.  Prayers out to that school, town and the families.

It looks like with the shift in our economy, automakers are adding workers and shifts to their plants throughout the country, including in Texas.  The problem is, the suppliers for all of the parts they need, don’t have the parts, so that could put a stop to the growth!  When the auto industry went downhill, many of their suppliers started doing other things and now, the auto industry is having a hard time finding the parts they need to keep up with their demand.  I guess the good news is that at least that is a sign that times are getting better!

WEATHER

Currently, it is 71 degrees outside and should get up to 78.  There is a 10% chance of rain.

Tonight should get down to 65 with a 20% chance of rain.  Tomorrow’s high will be 76 with a 30% chance or ain.  So it looks like more warm, gloomy days….

ENTERTAINMENT

Natalie Portman and her man, Benjamin Millepied, were wearing wedding rings at the Oscars, but nobody knew that they were married.  Turns out, they were secretly wed and were, in fact, wearing wedding rings.  At first, people were questioning if they were just engagement rings, but their jeweler confirmed that they are married!

This is exciting for me because I LOVE “Dancing with the Stars.”  They have announced their new list of celebrities for the 14th season!  Sherri Sheperd, from “The View” will be dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy, who is the brother of the Maks, who also dances on the show, and will be dancing with Melissa Gilbert, who I remember most from “The Little House on the Prairie.”  Also dancing will be: 

 Family Matters star Jaleel White will dance with former champ Kym Johnson

• Tennis legend Martina Navratilova will dance with Tony Dovolani

• Soap star-turned-singer Jack Wagner will dance with Anna Trebunskaya

• Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver will dance with Peta Murgatroyd

Extra host Maria Menounos will dance with three-time champ Derek Hough

• The Disney Channel’s Roshon Fegan will dance with Chelsie Hightower

• Cuban heartthrob, actor and model William Levy will dance with two-time champ Cheryl Burke

• Singer Gavin DeGraw will dance with reigning champ Karina Smirnoff

• Music legend Gladys Knight will dance with Nancy Grace’s former partner Tristan MacManus

• And singer Katherine Jenkins will dance with perennial finalist Mark Ballas

None of those seem too exciting to me, maybe Maria Menounos and Gladys Knight???  I guess we will have to watch and see.  This season premieres on March 19 on ABC.

ELGIN NEWS

Okay, I know there is a lot of commotion around the KXAN clip that will be running tonight.  I have had several requests to do a story on it.  As most of you know, my mom is the principal at the high school.  Because of this, I have to be very careful what I do or say because I don’t want to jeopardize her position with the district, plus, I graduated from this school district and don’t really want to be bad mouthing it.  With that being said, after the piece is on tv and I also get the other side from the school district, I will do something on it.  Please understand my position in this matter.

I don’t have much on my calendar for tomorrow, only crafts at the Elgin Public Library at 4:30 p.m.  Not sure why my calendar is so clear, so perhaps I will do some research today.

I hope everyone is attending all of the athletic events going on tonight though.  Go Cats Go!!!  Good luck to our soccer, softball and baseball teams!!!


High School Students who love to write???

Bob Haisler, a teacher at the high school, gave me a great idea a few weeks ago.  He told me I should get some of the kids at the high school to write articles for my blog.  I LOVE the idea, but don’t really know how to find the kids who may be interested!  I have posted something on my facebook and had one response so now I am posting it on here.  If you are a high school student reading this, please let me know if you would like to write an article that we can put on here!  If you are a parent of a high school student that loves to write, please let them know about this.

I told Elijah, the student who has already contacted me, that it could be something about Elgin or anything that he wants to write about, within reason.  He is going to get one of his favorite teachers to help him out a little bit and then get it to me.  I would love to encourage any of the kids to write an article for me!  Thanks for spreading the word!


Happy Monday!!!

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  It seemed to fly by, didn’t it?  I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday!!!

NEWS

It looks like Austin’s ban on plastic and paper disposable bags will probably go into effect next year.  6 of 7 on the City Council want this to happen and they will vote on Thursday.  That seems crazy, but I guess once you get the reusable bags, it won’t be so bad.  :) 

A boy at an Ohio high school started shooting students this morning and one of five students shot, has died.  It was about 7:30 a.m. and CNN says a mother of one of the students says the shooter was targeting specific students.

WEATHER

It is currently 65 degrees, and today’s high should be 68 and there is a 30% chance of rain.

Tonight’s low will be 61 with a 40% chance of rain.

Tomorrow will be much warmer with a high of 77, but with a 30% chance of rain.

ENTERTAINMENT

So, I am sure you have seen something about the Oscar winners by now, but if you haven’t…here we go!  Best Picture went to “The Artist” which was a silent film, blah, Best Actor was Jean Dujardin from “The Artist”, Best Actress was Meryl Streep for playing Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”, Supporting Actor was Christopher Plummer for “Beginners” and he was the oldest person to ever win an Oscar at the age of 82, Supporting Actress was Octavia Spencer for “The Help” and yay, at least one victory, and Director went to Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist.”

There was also a lot of fashion at the Oscars, as always.  I saw on “The View” this morning that there is a bit of controversy over Jennifer Lopez’s dress because it appears that her areola’s are showing, lol.  Facebook was also going crazy over how thin Angelina Jolie looked.  It was pretty nasty looking.  She definitely needs a good meal or two!

ELGIN NEWS

Well, as you all know, this past weekend was the Little League “Night of the Champions” fundraiser and was a huge success! 

I am looking on my calendar and have absolutely nothing going on today, but there are several things tomorrow.

Tomorrow at Neidig Elementary, they will be having an African America Assembly.  At Elgin Middle School, they will be benchmark testing in all grades.  Lots of sports going on at the high school.  Girls Soccer here vs. Manor at 6 and 7:45, Boys Soccer @ Manor at 6 and 8, Softball here vs. Rudder at 5 and 7, Freshman and JV Baseball @ Rudder at 4:30 and 6:30, and Varsity Baseball here vs. Rudder at 7.

I hope everyone has a fantastic rest of the day!!!


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