Information is currency for democracy.                   - Thomas Jefferson

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.    - Steve Martin

Education is unique among consumer products; when it fails to work as advertised, it's the customer that gets labeled as defective.         - Kevin Killion

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Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtues consistently. You can't be consistently kind or fair or humane or generous, not without courage, because if you don't have it, sooner or later you will stop and say, "The threat is too much. The difficulty is ...too high. The challenge is too great. ~ Maya Angelou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Welcome to Keep Eanes Informed.

Information is essential to public participation and open government.  This site, created in 2003, is maintained by parent volunteers as a community service and is a repository of public information, education news and community resources. 

More information about this site here.  

Do you have documents that would benefit the public's right to know?  If so, please contact this site at keepeanesinformed@gmail.com


OUT-OF-DISTRICT TRANSFER STUDENTS

NEW May 5, 2011 - During this school year, how much tuition could the district have charged each out-of-district transfer student?  LINK HERE

April 12, 2011 - YNN  reports that "if the board members find it is legal to charge tuition (for transfer students) they will."  The news report features a video of Eanes ISD superintendent Nola Wellman in which she states:

"It is unusual times and as unusual times we have to look at every opportunity and while we may have been told in the past it was not possible maybe we can come up with a way in which we can gain some revenue off of it."

Link here to read the following documents regarding this issue

2004 Transfer Student Report to the Board distributed to the board members by Nola Wellman, appears to confirm that she knew then that charging tuition for transfer students is both possible and legal.

The link also includes additional documents related to transfer students and a 2004 Budget Reduction District Priority Worksheet created during the last budget crisis.


NEW  Lawsuit:  Eanes ISD sued for withholding public information and using AG appeals process as delay tactic: 

LINK HERE


EANES ISD RFP - RIVER HILLS ROAD MULTI-SPORT COMPLEX

NEW   Posted:  May 5, 2011:  Letter from Travis County Commissioner Karen Huber

READ ALL DOCUMENTS HERE

Posted:  February 9, 2011:  Read about Jim Strickland's long association with WHLL and his failure to file an appropriate conflict of interest form. 

Posted:  January 18, 2011:  Read letter submitted to this site by Eanes ISD resident Tina Romanella de Marquez.

Posted:  January 15, 2011:  Read WHLL response to RFP.  This document is only available on this site.

Posted: January 6, 2011:  Read the February 2010 Eanes ISD RFP for the design, development, management, and maintenance of a multi-sport complex on the Eanes ISD property on River Hills Road which was (as the public understands) only responded to by Western Hills Little League.  (This RFP is only available online on KeepEanesInformed and as of January 6, 2011 - one year later - is not posted on the Eanes ISD website under its Business Services/Purchasing Closed Bids/RFPs section.)


In response to requests from community members, Keep Eanes Informed is reposting the audio Ronna Martin's interview (for board appointment when Gail King vacated her place shortly after the elections) with the Eanes ISD board in August 2009.  This audio is only available on this site.  Ronna Martin is a candidate for the May 2011 board elections. 

Link to audio of interview here.


 February 14, 2011 board discussion regarding transfer students, the FAST report and per pupil expenditures in Texas public school districts.   

Link here to read Clint Sayer's questions, Nola Wellman's response and the TEA data.


KXAN and Texas Watchdog report on super-sized superintendent salaries.   

Watch both KXAN videos and read the two articles here.

February 9, 2011 - Update:  Is Nola Wellman's retroactive pay raise legal?  Nola won't talk and instead refers the reporter to her "personal attorney".  (See Feb. 9 video.)

February 8, 2011 - With Texas facing a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, some districts are considering closing schools and laying off teachers. So, why are some districts giving their superintendent raises and super-sized benefits?  (See Feb. 8 video.)

If you do the math, it works out to this amount of base pay per year per student:

Austin ISD: $3.53

Round Rock ISD:  $6.32

Eanes ISD:  $30.80

Whew. Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier is paid about $300,000 a year, and his district has about 200,000 students. That's about 66 cents per kid. If he were paid at the same rate as the Eanes superintendent, he'd be making $6.2 million a year Read the Texas Watchdog post here.


“A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.”  - Mario Puzo

November 2010 Update:  Brownsville ISD Board of Trustees hands Walsh Anderson law firm its walking papers.

Board President urged trustees to keep their focus “on the $3.9 million in legal fees that could have gone to our students.”

A look behind the curtain:  LINK TO LAWSUIT FILED AUGUST 23, 2010  - Lawsuit filed against Brownsville ISD by former Special Education Director involving allegations of harassment, Whistleblower Retaliation, conspiracies, intimidation, systemic fraud and abuse of the system, Medicaid fraud, mental and physical harm to children, due process violations and an effort to profit at the expense of children with special needs.

Related Link here: 

Additional information on the controversy in Brownsville ISD that involves the private law firm Walsh Anderson Brown Gallegos and Green (formerly WABSA).

Read more about the private law firms that benefit financially from the Texas education system ...


NEW LINK:  2010-11 Eanes ISD Salaries and Stipends


Suggestions for our NEXT Superintendent ...

November 2010 - Back in 2004, I read this article at an Eanes ISD board meeting to welcome new superintendent Nola Wellman.

Six years later, it's apparent that she wasn't listening.


November 10, 2010 - When our community passes a bond, are you aware that that the superintendent and board can "change the scope" of that bond to fund their wish list and exclude the items that taxpayers approved?  To review examples of this in Eanes, just google "change of scope" and "keepeanesinformed."  Here's a link to one example:  2004 Construction Audit

Here's an excerpt from that audit:

EISD did not fully comply with the Change Order Policy. Specifically, several changes in scope were made to the Avnet contract without processing a change order as required by the procedures. Our review of this contract indicated that the project drastically changed from what was originally agreed upon.  The maintenance of Change Order documents was substandard and is in need of improvement.


November 9, 2010 - Two Eanes trustees skip meeting, cite vague posting

Since 2004, Keep Eanes Informed has documented the district's lack of specificity and transparency in this area.

Read the history here.


It's an new day.

November 4, 2010 - Eanes voters reject all three bond proposal


October 27, 2010 - Austin-area school system uses accounting loophole to use money against voters' wishes


October 26, 2010 - Two Eanes trustees allege superintendent went too far in election mailing


September 28, 2010 --- Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas:

Eanes ISD Gets An 'F' in Transparency


Austin American-Statesman article - September 27, 2010

Link:  Eanes policy will make superintendent travel expenses harder to track

Eanes taxpayers will not necessarily know if Superintendent Nola Wellman decides to stay in another $350-per-night hotel room while on school district business in New York. Nor will they for certain be able to find out how much she spends on routine business luncheons because of changes in the way the district reimburses her for such expenses.

Read more about this issue here.


September 27, 2010 --- Who is Phil Bounds?

and why is Eanes paying him from the General Fund (199) instead of the Athletic Fund (183)?     Read more here ...


Learn more about the bond issues on this new community website:   Citizens for Academic Excellence


August 2010 - And this just in from the superintendent who wants a big new administration building, a new swim center, a new Jumbotron, an indoor football field (previously voted down in the 2006 bond) with an elevated running track and more:   

 "This (2010-2011 school year) is going to (involve) some strong tightening of the belt and make some people uncomfortable,” she said. “We’ll have some squealing. When we get to 2011-12 and 2012-13, it’s going to be all out yelling.”  - Nola Wellman


KEEP OFF THE FIELDS

Read these and then decide if you think

your child will be welcome to use the proposed new swim center and indoor football field.

June 2010

April 2010


CONGRATULATIONS to reporter Houston Fox affiliate reporter GREG GROOGAN on winning a 2010 CASEY MEDAL for Meritorious Journalism from the Journalism Center on Children & Families for his story about an EISD family's efforts to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Link:  THE STORY                  Link:  THE AWARDS

Related link:  More on this effort here.


The Squeaky Wheel: Tactics (and Pitfalls) of Advocating for Your Kids in School - Parent Wise Austin Magazine

Excerpts from the article: 
Parents don’t alienate the school; they’re already alienated,” says Dianna Pharr, an educational advocate who works with parents in requesting services for their children. “If you don’t have any issues with the school it’s easy to believe that the system is there for the children. But if you have a problem, you quickly discover that the system is set up for the administrators.”

And that really is the bottom line: children have a right to a safe, academically challenging and positive experience in school — and parents have a right to ensure that their children receive it. That’s where advocating comes in, and parents shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to do it.

Education is a huge part of our children’s lives,” says Ms. Pharr. “If they don’t have a good experience and they’re not well served in their school district, then it permeates the rest of their lives.”


2010:  New Political Action Committee calls for fiscal responsibility in Eanes ISD:  www.eaneseducationalliance.org


September 2010:  Update: Eanes ISD loses lawsuit intended to allow mandated grade inflation; teacher applauds the decision: 

"Teachers need to be allowed to give the grades (students) they earn and not having to worry about the district mandating grade inflation,” she said. “Even though the district has changed its policy, it still has a de facto mandate that gives students a 50, threatening teachers not doing so. Instead of devoting resources to attorneys to fight the law, they should have devoted the resources to students they serve.”

Why is Eanes ISD one of only 11 districts investing classroom dollars in a lawsuit to pass students with a grade of 50? 

And which board members approved this?  And which board member voted no?  Link here to learn more ...


June 21, 2010

Who is really the "black cloud"?  Lisa Schlimgen ... or Darren Allman?  Link here to read the Eanes ISD public information.


June 10, 2010 --- Westlake Picayune comment: "On the Friday preceding Memorial Day, Lisa (Schlimgen) received her job evaluation. She was told that she hadn’t been “loyal” to Coach Allman. She was given this choice: resign or be fired the following Tuesday when she returned from the Memorial Day holiday. She resigned fearing the implications that being fired would have on her future job prospects."

This begs the question:  Is loyalty to Darren Allman also a job requirement for these math and science teachers?  (See current EISD job postings below.)  And really ... what are the chances that the best math and science teachers are also coaches?

Math Teacher/Basketball & Football Coach (2010-11 SY) WHS
Chemistry Teacher/Girl's Assistant Soccer Coach (2010-11 SY) WHS
Math Teacher/Cheer Sponsor (2010-11 SY) WRMS
Science Teacher/Girl's Coach (2010-11 SY) HCMS

And while we are losing teachers through attrition due to budget cuts, Nola Wellman plans to replace these administrators:
- Director of Communications
- Coordinator of Records/Legal Services


June 21, 2010

BUDGET?  WHAT BUDGET?

Darren Allman's shopping goes over budget and he sends the bills to the booster club for payment:  Documents here.


June 21, 2010

A multi-purpose activity center in Eanes ISD?  Really?  Keep off the fields.


June 21, 2010 --- 5A or 4A ... Is this why transfer students are important? 


June 18, 2010 --- Are compensation packages increasing for teacher/coaches at a much higher percentage (since Nola Wellman arrived) than for teachers who do not coach?    Link here to learn more.


June 2, 2010 - THE OFFER STANDS.  Keep Eanes Informed will post the answers to these questions if and when Mr. Perkins (or Eanes ISD) chooses to provide them.


May 30, 2010 - As Eanes ISD cuts teacher positions through attrition, why is the district hiring a Communications Director at almost $60K + benefits per year.  This position is one of many administrative positions added by Nola Wellman.


UPDATE:  Audio posted - May 26, 2010

How does DUCT TAPE SYNDROME affect your child? 

In March 2008, Les Reddin, the Eanes ISD Facilities Director, informed the board that Eanes ISD is suffering from "Duct Tape Syndrome"  He described an unsafe environment on district campuses including failing water lines, sewer lines, and even gas lines on top of elementary schools.  Now hear the audio from that meeting and read excerpts from the meeting. This audio is not on the Eanes ISD website and is only available online via Keep Eanes Informed.

Les Reddin informed the board "There are aging underground utilities at Eanes Elementary, there's pipes underground over there failing on a regular basis, we also have above ground utilities such as gas pipes on the roof that have not been maintained appropriately so they are failing also."

Meanwhile, our last bond funded high definition cameras for the Jumbotron, multiple fields of artificial turf, batting cages, new coaching offices, and more. 

Link here to LISTEN TO THE AUDIO AND ... READ ALL ABOUT IT


QUICK AND DIRTY (pretty well sums it up)

Why is Ellen Balthazar, the director of Any Baby Can, an agency that exists to serve children with special needs, is so willing, even eager, to ignore the needs of district children with special needs?


 

What do WHS Head Football Coach/Athletic Director Darren Allman and David Perkins have in common?

Click here to find out.


Eanes ISD Proposed Bond

SO MUCH FOR TRANSPARENCY ...


April 20, 2010:  Where did the money from our last bond go?


April 8, 2010:  FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY?

AS TAX REVENUES DECLINE, EANES ISD SEEKS A NEW ADMINISTRATION BUILDING


ADA LAWSUIT:  Family sues Eanes ISD March 2010 Updates


50% INCREASE IN SALARIES FOR EANES ISD ADMINISTRATORS:

Since Nola Wellman was hired, central administration salaries have increased by 50%.


While the number of transfer students has increased by hundreds since Nola H. Wellman was hired, there has been a significant decrease in the population of children with special needs in Eanes ISD:

04/05-11% — 05/06-10% — 06/07-9% — 07/08-8%


  More Questions Here

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."  ~ Dr. Seuss

Why does Nola Wellman want to hide her travel receipts from the public?  Read more here.


WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?

Link here to learn more about the Eanes ISD Proposed Bond ...

And while certain facilities in the district are held together by DUCT TAPE,

why is the district focused on building more and better athletic facilities?

Take a look at how the district spent the prior bond money in this construction audit.


 July 10, 2009 Westlake Picayune article regarding the anonymous email attack on an Eanes ISD parent.


Eanes ISD private law firm (Walsh Anderson) in the news ... and it isn't flattering.

News article cites Keep Eanes Informed website as resource.


June 8, 2009 -- An article that again highlights the familiar problems in Texas public school districts:

Throughout the months it has taken to piece together this miserable tale, school district officials have obfuscated and stonewalled, always waiting to take action until somebody else disclosed what they had known all along.

Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was some misplaced sense of compassion for a popular coach who had won them a state title.

But maybe it was an arrogant, we're-the-boss sense that this was private business and nobody else's – their employee, their missing stuff – as if they weren't a government agency at all, as if taxpayers didn't pony up for all those oddly disappearing laptops and camcorders.

Maybe it was an attitude that if pesky reporters would just confine their coverage to sunny features about "striving for excellence" and "reaching for the stars," disagreeable problems would just resolve themselves.   Read full article here.


Have

Dianna Pharr is an Austin, Texas native and mother of two.  She has resided in the Eanes ISD community for almost two decades.  Dianna served on the board of the Eanes ISD Talented and Gifted (TAG) committee and was appointed by the district to the Bridge Point Elementary Campus Leadership Team.  She was also appointed by district administration as Chair of the Eanes ISD SECAC.  Dianna volunteered many hours on district booster clubs (K-12) and volunteered as a substitute teacher at Bridge Point Elementary and Hill Country Middle School.  She also served as Chair of the Westlake High School Safe Homes Program.

Dianna now volunteers as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for children and serves as an Advisory Board Member for Austin Gifted.  She holds a B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin and attends U.T. Austin Graduate School.    She also maintains this site and appreciates hearing from others who have comments or questions.

Contact:  keepeanesinformed@gmail.com

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.  In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.  Thank you.

© Copyright 2003 Dianna Pharr - Keep Eanes Informed - All Rights Reserved


 

 

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