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TSPRA Newsletter Issue 59 for Web

ISSUE 59 - May 18, 2011

- Jump to: Results from May 14 school bonds, homepage survey

- Jump to: Follow the money (with charts!)

- Jump to: Call for photos TASB

- Jump to: NSPRA Seminar in San Antonio

- Jump to: Member Spotlight

- Jump to: Events

- Jump to: News

- Jump to: Sponsor Column

- Jump to: Tidbits

Results from May 14 school bonds, homepage survey
Texas spring bond elections: We counted 55 bond propositions (from 48 districts) voted on last Saturday, and we're happy to announce that of those 71% passed! They not only passed, but passed with more than twice as big a margin as those that failed. Two of three TREs also passed. Check our blog for a complete run down, including dollar amounts and new coverage on each.

Superintendent's cabinet survey: below is an overview of the results from our most recent homepage survey, on communication officer's leadership role in the district:
54% have communications officer on super's cabinet
47% of those officers are Directors of Communications
50% have a leadership inner circle
83% of those include a communications officer
Check our blogfor the detailed results.

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Follow the money (with charts!)
The Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) has shared with us some excellent charts produced by their eFACTS+ tool, which houses seven years of historical data for every district and campus in Texas. We've posted one of their charts on our blog that shows the statewide breakdown of school expenditures by category (instruction, facilities, food services, administration, etc.) and the number of FTE (full-time equivalents) that staffs each category. 


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Call for photos TASB
Karen Strong from TASB is working on a project involving pictures of school boards "in action." She is looking for some candid shots of Texas school boards working together over the past school year.

If you have any photos that fit the bill, or if you have any questions, please email them to tasb@tasb.org.

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NSPRA Seminar in San Antonio
Getting excited? The NSPRA Seminar is right around the corner (July 10-13) and things are really coming together. Our local host committee has put together a great website with information in addition to the NSPRA site.

Be sure to register NOW for the free Blackboard- and SchoolMessenger-sponsored activities on Monday and Tuesday evenings, respectively, during the Seminar. Click here for more info.

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Member Spotlight
As the school year is quickly winding down, we understand that several of our longtime TSPRAns will soon be retiring. And after years of bragging on behalf of their districts, employees and students, we thought it appropriate to take a moment to brag on their behalf.

Reavis Wortham
Director of Communications, Garland ISD

What is your official date of retirement from Garland?  My office will be completely cleaned out on June 17.

Are any receptions planned for you and may we extend the invitation to TSPRAns?  There will be a reception at the Harris Hill Administration Building (501 S. Jupiter Road, Garland) on Tuesday, May 31, from 3:00 - 5:00 for anyone who wishes to attend.  That one will be fun, but the really great party will be on Friday, May 27, at Love and War in Texas, in Plano (Plano Parkway and Central, just north of the George Bush).  I'll show up some time around 7:00, because this isn't an official party.  It'll be for anyone who would like to drop by, visit, have a drink and hear the great music of Walt Wilkins.  C'mon by and let's celebrate!

Tell us a little about your professional background.  How many years in Garland and positions held.  Garland ISD hired me right out of college for the 1976-77 school year (car hoods were incredible long, hair was big, platform shoes were in and Bee Gees sang disco in a high falsetto), when I had only $27 left in the bank.  I began as an Industrial Arts teacher at Sam Houston Middle School.  They moved me two years later to Brandenburg Middle School, to teach photograph (something I didn't know a thing about).  I took photo classes at night and taught by my notes the first semester.  For the next seven years, I was a photography teacher, until the program was re-designed and I went to Garland High School to teach architectural drafting.  Wonder how I got into the PR line of work?  I met Steve Knagg in 1979, when he was the district photographer.  With that common ground, we became fast friends.  Just before he was named Director of Communications, he dropped by my classroom and asked if I was interested in taking his place as district photographer.  I was out the door so fast the kids still don't know where I went.  In no time we were working together.  Garland hasn't yet recovered.  I've been in the department for 25 years, working under a variety of titles, until I became director four years ago when Steve retired.

Any immediate plans to celebrate retirement? Interesting that you ask.  My wife Shana, (Director of Communications for the Frisco ISD, man, have we had some discussions for the past twenty years) and I, along with Steve Knagg and his wife, Cheryl, will spend two weeks in an RV, traveling from Texas to Key West and back.  Anyone who remembers the last multi-state RV trip the four of us took will shudder at the thought.

Title and publisher of your book, where it can be purchased, when it is available, dates of any book signings you might have, etc.  My first mystery novel, The Rock Hole will be released through Poisoned Pen Press on June 7.  The Rock Hole is the first in the Red River series.  It can be purchased through your favorite online bookseller, or you can have your bookstore order it.  I hope it will be automatically shipped to bookstores as it becomes a bestseller.  To date, I have nearly 20 signings scheduled throughout the state.  The book launch will be on Saturday, June 11, at 2:00 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble Lincoln Park store across from Northpark Mall, in Dallas.  From there I will be visiting a number of towns and cities including San Antonio, Austin, Houston, College Station, Paris, Frisco, Mt. Pleasant, Nacogdoches and Tyler, to name a few.  The dates and locations are listed on my website at www.reaviszwortham.com, along with other information and a book trailer y'all might like.  The book trailer is also posted on my Facebook page, and on YouTube under the search heading: The Rock Hole: Book Trailer.

Any insight as to how writing fiction came to be a passion?  I was writing horrible stuff as a child, and I wore out magazine publishers with my pitiful attempts.  I continued to write through high school and college with similar results.  Through the years, my writing became more polished, but the results were still dismal.  Then, one day in 1988, I bet TSPRAn Mary Ellen Marnholtz that I could get a newspaper column published in a paper before she could.  The Paris News picked up my very first submission for their Outdoors page, and from there I became a self-syndicated columnist for more than 30 newspapers.  Then I moved to magazines and have written for Texas Fish and Game magazine (where I hold the title of Humor Editor on the masthead), American Cowboy, Vintage Trucks, and Texas Outdoor Journal (among others).  I've written over 1300 newspaper columns and magazine articles.  In 1999 I published Doreen's 24 HR Eat Gas Now Cafe.  Then one day I wrote a few pages of what I thought was an interesting idea for a book.  Shana read the short chapter that night and pronounced it the best thing I'd ever written, so with that pressure on my shoulders, I completed Center Springs, Texas, which ultimately became The Rock Hole.  Oh, and I read...but only to excess.

Any other info you would like to share with your fellow TSPRAns?  It has been an honor to be part of the TSPRA family for the past 25 years.  I learned a lot from folks like Knagg and Larry Ascough.  I've laughed with Riney Jordan, danced in conga lines with dozens of others, partied with everyone else who exhibited the poor judgement to hang out with me, and in this association, met my wonderful wife, Shana.   I've been blessed to call many, many fellow TSPRAn's my friends.  

Young TSPRAn's, look to your elders for advice; Elders, share your experience with those who've not faced the issues that have blown through your office; and to all, don't hesitate to ask for help from anyone in this association, because they'll come-a-runnin' if you just let us know.  We're that kind of organization.

Oh, and please buy The Rock Hole, because I'm now on a fixed income...I'm retired..

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May 15-21
National Educational Bosses Week
May 30

Last day of 82nd regular session of Texas Legislature
TSPRA Office Closed

April 15, 11:30-1 pm
TSPRA Houston/Beaumont Regional Meeting
@Texas City ISD

 June 15
Deadline to submit Key Communicator Nominations

 June 23, 9:00-4:00 pm
ESC Region 12 Social Media Workshop
@ESC Region 12 Waco

 July 10-13
NSPRA National Seminar
@San Antonio Marriott

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Debate on revenue grinds to a hault
Voucher program could be among amdendments to fiscal matters bills
STAAR test gets skeptical reception
Jim Lukaszewski on negative language and PR
TEA holding SENS test in early June
Appreciation week brings little cheer to teachers
Practice what we (supposedly) preach

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Do you know about the Act Local Grant Program? One Texas K-12 public school district will win a $2,500 grant recognizing the district's communications department. Application deadline is May 31. Learn more at SchoolMessenger.com/local.

SchoolMessenger is the leading provider of notification solutions for Texas school districts, instantly publishing important information through voice, text, email and social media. Learn more and download Facebook 101 for K-12 District Communications at www.SchoolMessenger.com.

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Over vs. More than
Use "over" with spatial or emotional situations; use "more than" with quantifiable numbers.
- The district has saved more than 150 jobs.
- She was over-joyed that the plane flew over her house.

Less vs. Fewer than
Use "fewer" for individual items; use "less" for bulk or quantity.
- Fewer than 40 students received this honor (individuals).
- XISD received less than 20% of the promised funds (bulk quantity). The state awarded less money (bulk) to fewer schools (indiv. schools) than any other year on record.

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