San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 12th, 2010
Prather, Hooper, discuss San Marcos issues for coming city election

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San Marcos city council candidates Toby Hooper, left, and Jude Prather, right. File photos.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

With Gaylord Bose stepping down from the San Marcos City Council, two candidates have emerged to seek his seat in the Nov. 2 election. Early voting begins on Oct. 18.

Jude Prather, who lost to Bose by three votes in 2007, was appointed to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) shortly after the 2009 general election. Toby Hooper is a contract administrator for Seton Healthcare who serves on the city’s ethics commission.

San Marcos Local News presented the same ten questions to each candidate. The questions and answers are presented here, verbatim, edited only for punctuation and publication style. This is the first in a series of interviews with all the candidates for city, county and statewide offices of local interest.

San Marcos Local News: What is your opinion of the city council’s selection of a new city manager five weeks before the November election?

Toby Hooper: The position did need to be filled in a timely fashion and, if the process was truly thorough, it does not seem to have violated accepted policies or ethics and, hopefully, delivered a person of experience and merit. Although I do not know the person chosen, I decided prior to the selection that I would work with whoever is the city manager. I know that this post is at the auspices of the council and the people of San Marcos. Therefore, we must offer guidance, oversight of actions and craft goals together in order for us to be successful and proactive.

Jude Prather: San Marcos getting Jim Nuse is a good thing. I think, no matter the makeup of the city council after the elections, Jim Nuse would still have been a good pick for the position.

SMLN: What is your assessment of city policy toward the Paso Robles development, specifically on the potential use of tax incentives for a residential development?

Prather: Spending tax dollars on infrastructure is a good use of tax dollars.

Hooper: Using a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) to assist a business or development must have proven and solid analysis of return on investment. Is this one of those occasions? Does this company have a business case that is built upon an overwhelming foundation of evidence; that what they project will become reality and the pay back to San Marcos will be substantial? These simple questions must be well answered just to begin negotiations or to continue them – many in the city remain unconvinced. The agreement for a Paso Robles development and TIRZ are far from the execution phase. And, I believe, all parties involved understand that in order to reach a final agreement modifications will be made.

SMLN: In your opinion, are the Paso Robles, Buie Tract, Purgatory Creek Apartments, and the Windemere developments consistent with the Horizons Master Plan? To what extent are they reconcilable? How or how not?

Hooper: The Horizons Master Plan is a great document; created by citizens to guide all stakeholders in positive growth for the community, and should be respected as a blueprint for our city development. Although it has the ordinance authority to be used and only amended by an established process, it is not a fixed document which cannot be altered before a termination date – it is a living guide. I believe much of the frustration surrounding the changes that have been seen regarding these developments and others have been because of this aspect. The master plan should be followed, but, at the same time, it was designed to be modified and updated, e.g., the master plan of 1996 itself replaced the plans formed in the previous decades. However, if there are aspects of the master plan which should be seen as “non-negotiable,” the city and its citizens must enact ordinances that are strict, binding and prevent manipulation of policy. This would be hard work, but if it is truly an imperative for the public good it must be done.

Prather: Let’s look at the Buie Tract as an example. I’m a commissioner for the Planning and Zoning Commission. My P&Z packet for the Buie Tract has eight out of nine Horizon Master Plan evaluations shown as consistent. So how was this not consistent with the Horizons Master Plan? Those consistent evaluations on my Buie Tract P&Z packet are; Policy LU-1.1, Policy LU-1.16, Policy LU-2.1, Policy LU-2.2, Policy LU-3.1, Policy LU-3.9, Policy LU-3.12 and Policy LU-4.2. The evaluation with an inconsistent was Policy LU-1.15 the “preferred growth corridors” policy. So how are eight out of nine Horizons Master Plan evaluations not consistent?

SMLN: The Horizons Master Plan was adopted in 1996. How have the city’s circumstances changed in the last 14 years to motivate changes in the master plan?

Prather: Find me a general whose battle plan survived contact with the enemy or a football coach whose game plan didn’t changed at half-time. The Horizons Master Plan is no different.

Hooper: The majority of changes which have occurred during this time were in large part predicted: population and property values have increased. More people wishing to use property and the profit to be had places intense pressure on the plan and the processes in place to safeguard its use and modifications. Of course, the master plan is supported by separate master plans for transportation and infrastructure. These all must fit the needs of the time while projecting into the future. There are some aspects of these plans which should be identified as critical and not to be modified; and to be carried over into the revisions of each plan. Likewise, other aspects must be radically different compared to the plans created in the decades prior; one example is using the same approach to transportation as only being solved by building more roads — in the long term, this will be detrimental to our quality of life.

SMLN: Do dwindling fund balances and the avowed necessity to raise utility rates imply that the city should be conservative about spending? What recommendations would you make?

Hooper: City government should always be concerned about spending. And should zealously search for efficiencies in its practices and processes. Likewise, the conservation of utility resources must also be in constant review. Americans use more resources than any other nation on the planet. Let’s be true conservatives and conserve our resources. That cultural shift will take visionary leadership from the council with a pragmatic approach.

Prather: The goal for San Marcos is to efficiently run our city government and remain fiscally conservative within our own budgets. By doing this, we can weather any economic storm.

SMLN: There has been a lot of talk about transparency in government. How should the city address transparency in government?

Prather: Thank you, Mr. Steve Harvey, for your hard work creating Open Government San Marcos. This group I am a part of has 10 ideas to improve transparency in San Marcos, they are:

1) All agenda items shall be worded so the average citizen can understand the agenda item (and not vague or misleading language). Each time a subject returns to a council agenda, it will be described the same way it was described the previous time.

2) Executive sessions of the city council meetings will be limited to only those pertaining to internal personnel issues or those issues that compromise our competitive edge with neighboring cities.

3) The city council shall adopt a resolution for open government that articulates appropriate basic principles.

4) We will bring back the third reading before an ordinance is passed (and we will not use “emergency” provisions too often).

5) Presentations and handouts that developers give to planning and zoning commissioners and/or the mayor and/or city councilmembers shall be made available online in downloadable form for citizens to readily see and review, too.

6) A better search engine will be implemented throughout the City of San Marcos website.

7) The City of San Marcos shall post (and keep updated) these (at a minimum) documents online: the annual budget, the annual financial report, the check register for all accounts, the fund balances, and expense report accounts.

8) There shall be a greater proactive notification process for actions contemplated by the city that would potentially significantly impact community stakeholders (people, large and small businesses, organizations, and the environment). Stakeholders will receive more time on the big issues and big dollar items, including public discussion meeting, separate meetings to introduce the issue. This will enable proper amount of time for consideration and dialogue.

9) The City of San Marcos shall post a record of votes (of city council meetings) online within 24 hours.

10) Questions asked by attendees during the “Question and Answer Session with Press and Public” at the end of each city council meeting shall be recorded (along with answers) in the city council meeting minutes (and the city council will explore ways to provide some Q&A earlier in the meeting agenda, too).

Hooper: Open San Marcos is busy crafting the answer to this question. Not to avoid the answer, I could certainly create a list of action items, but I have been impressed with the citizens who have taken part in Steve Harvey’s process to reach a consensus of the most essential elements to achieve greater transparency. I look forward to the ending product. There is something definitely amiss regarding this subject in San Marcos. Too many people can site too many reasons why they feel as if they must struggle to get answers to their questions of what is occurring in city government; this reaction should be taken seriously and addressed.

SMLN: Explain the concept of council/manager form of government. Is the city holding true to it?

Hooper: A city manager is much the same as a corporate CEO or a school district superintendent, i.e., a hired professional to fulfill the duties of administration. And, the person chosen is only as good as the governing body charged with oversight – in this case, the council. The city manager should have all the traits we want in a good leader. If the city manager fails, it is essentially the failure of the council. Therefore, the council must be involved in the activities of the manager and constantly work on communication and relationship.

Prather: City council creates policy, city manager enacts policy.

SMLN: Has the downturn in the economy have any permanent effect on the city’s position moving forward?

Prather: I can see two construction cranes in the beautiful San Marcos skyline. Where there are cranes there is prosperity and progress moving forward. San Marcos has been moving forward and leading the nation in the economic recovery. We have been rather fortunate and should reflect in our blessings, natural and economic.

Hooper: No, it should not – San Marcos has value. However, downturns are a great opportunity to re-evaluate models, forecasts and plans. For example, the business relationships begun yesterday may no longer be viable today.

SMLN: Recently, council has been discussing advancing the time for the charter review commission recommendations on possible amendments. What city charter amendments, if any, would you like to see put before the voters and why?

Hooper: This is an item in which I will be soliciting input from the citizenry before taking action. Thus far, I have heard concerns regarding several aspects of the charter from eminent domain to elections. If elected, I plan to hold at least one town hall meeting per month rotating throughout the city to be held in different locations. Charter amendments and proposed ordinances will always be on the agenda, along with being open to anyone to express concerns. If the charter is not adequately addressing the needs of the people it must be amended, and soon; we must not tarry in our duty to refine and improve. While serving as chair of the Human Services Advisory Board it was apparent to the members and agencies that the bylaws and process were not working as fairly and efficiently as it could have been. We, as a body, took the initiative to change our governing language, but only after great discussion inside open meetings and by consulting stakeholders and city staff. The end result was a revision that communicated clearly and functioned well, and we were proud of the result.

Prather: I remember some years back, when a proposed charter amendment to raise the age for running for City Council to 21 was tossed around. With 18-, 19- and 20-year-old soldiers fighting for our nation as we speak, I can say that was the most disappointing charter amendment idea I have ever heard.

SMLN: Why should San Marcos citizens vote to elect you into office, as opposed to your opponent?

Prather: Cause I have lived a lifetime of experiences, because I am experienced. As a leader at Southwest Texas State, I worked to change that name to Texas State University-San Marcos, because I wanted to make a difference. As a community leader, I have registered to vote hundreds because I wanted to give citizens a voice. As a soldier, I know what it takes to serve your country because I served our nation in the Iraq War. Because working to make San Marcos the most veteran friendly city in the nation was something I am passionate about because I know what our veterans need to succeed. Because I have served our city on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Youth Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals, I have the experience and training to serve as a city councilmember. San Marcos needs strong leaders forged in their experiences to provide a steady hand through uncertain times.

Hooper: I bring a broad array of experience to the job. One thing I learned as an educator prior to my present career in healthcare is that everything ultimately is connected. This is a concept that often many leaders do not grasp. They simply believe that if one or two issues are resolved that’s enough to be satisfied. However, the needs of the city are diverse, just as the population and its personalities. I understand this, and look forward to working on all the issues and needs that our community faces. Sometimes, in order to realize the dream of having one thing, we must build or correct four other things. Knowing that this will often be the norm does not deter me from the work ahead. I have experienced many challenges and have been successful. I will also strive to build the kinds of relationships needed to reach positive realization of goals and resolution of issues. I am also an independent, and truly want to know the opinions and ideas of all residents and groups. I do not have a narrow focus on a few issues but have interest in everything from economic development to the arts to social services. Why? Because I know that everything is connected.

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56 thoughts on “Prather, Hooper, discuss San Marcos issues for coming city election

  1. The October 2010 LWV debates are and will be available for archived viewing on the new San Marcos Local News / SMTX.TV netstation channel at

    [http://sanmarcoslocalnews.smtx.tv]

    Bookmark it and stay informed !!!!

  2. Jude, could you have put any less effort into your answers? The only one that *appears* well thought-out was lifted from Mr. Harvey’s work.

    But I’d like to talk about the economy in San Marcos. “Where there are cranes there is prosperity”? You have *got* to be kidding! Or, perhaps you mean that the county and the university are prospering, since I believe those are their cranes.

    Here’s a simple math question for you:

    If 62% of San Marcos students are economically disadvantaged, while 44% in Hays ISD are, 40% in New Braunfels are, 39% in Wimberley are, and 10% in Dripping Springs are, where is the prosperity you speak of?

    The Texas State grads that I know, are still leaving town to find careers, and the ones who aren’t leaving town are settling for jons they’d rather not have, so that they can stay here.

    Just because we haven’t all lost our Outlet Mall jobs, that does not mean that San Marcos is somehow “leading the economic recovery.” You are out of your mind, sir. Please don’t allow your association with some of the well-heeled residents of San Marcos (or outside of San Marcos) to lead you to believe that this is an accurate picture of the typical San Martian.

  3. Every city in China has tons of active cranes. Does that mean most Chinese people are prosperous? I’ve been there, and I can tell you that answer is a definite “no.”

  4. Understanding that this is only one measure of economic strength, here are the percentages of economically disadvantaged students in each of the last fifteen years.

    2009 62%
    2008 63%
    2007 67%
    2006 62%
    2005 59%
    2004 62%
    2003 59%
    2002 59%
    2001 54%
    2000 51%
    1999 51%
    1998 53%
    1997 51%
    1996 60%
    1995 57%
    1994 50%

    Sure looks like something went from bad, to worse, in 2002. Whatever the cause, I just don’t see any signs of growth, or prosperity there.

  5. Did the income amount for economically disadvantaged change in 01/02? That radical a change usually isn’t the facts, rather the standard or the way the data is collected, absent some kind of economic disaster.

  6. Nope 8 years ago the mayor was some guy who wanted to get his subdivision out of the city limits. Narvaiz started in 2004 as mayor. Looks like 95 and 96 was bad too, who was mayor then?

  7. Oops. It’s been six. Though I guess a radical downward shift in the quality of our education system two years prior would explain how she got elected in the first place….

  8. Gosh, try and be at least a little fair. The Mayor of San Marcos is not in charge of education. SMCISD also includes students that live outside the city limits and outside the county. Does anyone know what are the percentages of economically disadvantaged students that live outside the San Marcos city limits?

  9. I didn’t say anything about education. I was citing an annual indicator of economic health. If you have a better one, particularly one which shows the prosperity of our residents, please post it.

  10. The next census data won’t be out for awhile, but here is the 1999 data:

    San Marcos – 29% below poverty level, median household income $26,000
    New Braunfels – 10% and $40,000
    Dripping Springs – 5% and $47,000
    Kyle – 5% and $48,000

    Are you saying that you want to wager that we caught those cities/towns, because those are what I would call reasonably prosperous. Not REALLY prosperous, like Lakeway (2% and $87,000) or Westlake (3% and $74,000), but reasonably prosperous.

    Do you think we dipped below 10% living in poverty, because I’ll take that bet all day long.

  11. Ted, the indicator you used is based on school district and thus an education/economic indicator. My comment was not directed to you. My question still remains. Does anyone know what are the percentages of economically disadvantaged students that live outside the San Marcos city limits but are still in the SMCISD boundaries?

  12. quick correction: Apples to Apples, people living below the poverty level in 1999 were:

    San Marcos 29%
    New Braunfels 11%
    Dripping Springs 11%
    Kyle 7%
    Lakeway 3%
    Westlake 3%

    I had to go to two different reports and accidentally pulled the wrong numbers frome one of them.

  13. I’m not interested in being “fair” to our departing Mayor or her Council because they have not been at all concerned with being “fair” to the citizens of this town. They have sold us out to out of town/out of state/out of the country developers at every opportunity…..leaving us with a whole host of soon-to-be shattered neighborhoods and a ton of public debt in their wake. “Fair” would be for them to have to move into houses right next to some of these new apartment developments that they bent over backwards to approve…..and for them to take the P&Z members with them.

  14. Ted -Post 15- Don’t TSU students fill out the census for SM if they are living in town on date due? I imagine that would bring our poverty level up with their low or none income earned….

  15. I’m sure some do, but I don’t know how many. A lot of them commute, so the impact ought to be limited, and felt in neighboring communities as well. Also, they don’t have kids in our schools (generally), so they would not be adding to the SMCISD numbers.

    Also, we have had college students working at my company and they made decent wages. Many college students get paid internships and entry-level positions in their chosen fields, when those options are available. That they may be working for minimum wage at the outlet mall is more a function of the jobs available, than it is a function of their education level (which is higher than many, many, of our non-student residents).

    I understand that none of these stats paint a perfect picture, but it is undeniable (IMO) that we are not a prosperous city, despite the “two crane theory.” It is also clear (to me anyway) that our investment in retail and apartments has not yet resulted in any meaningful forward movement (growth).

  16. For clarificaiton, since it has come up before, “my company” is where I work, not some business that I own.

  17. Also, for clarification, the 1999 poverty level for a single person, was $8,240 per year. 22 hours per week, at about $7 per hour, will get you there.

    For a family of four, the poverty level only climbs to $16,700. Two parents, working for minimum wage ($5.15 in 1999), would blow past the poverty level, by nearly 30%. A single wage-earner at $8.00 per hour, would bump up against the poverty level. A 5 cent raise, or a little overtime, pushes him/her over.

    You have to be *really* struggling, to be below the poverty level.

  18. Perhaps the increased demand and regularl pleas for donations from the food bank are also bellwether signs of prosperity.

  19. Ted, I believe the poverty level for a family of four this year is $22,050, and economically disadvantaged students are those whose families earn less than 185% of the poverty level — $40,800 for a family of four.

  20. For 1999, it was $16,700. Since that is the census data I have to work with, that is what I cited. I called that out, in the post.

    http : // aspe. hhs.gov/poverty/99poverty.htm

    $22,050 is still remarkably poor. At today’s rate, two wage earners at minimum wage would be above the poverty level, by 37%. So, my statement that one has to be *really* struggling, to be below the poverty level still holds true.

  21. Also, $40,000 is not a whole lot for a family of four. Certainly FAR from prosperous. If 60% of our families of four are coming in below that (many significantly below), that is a significant problem.

  22. Also, 185% is the cutoff for reduced-price lunches. Free lunches cut off at 130%, or a whopping $28,665, which is still less than two workers would make, working full time at minimum wage.

    Last year, 9.7% qualified for reduced-price lunches and 58.9% qualified for free lunches.

    Sadly, those families would probably be ecstatic, if they *only* qualified for reduced-price lunches.

  23. I accept that $40,000 is a tough cover for a family of four and that poverty is prevalent in San Marcos like in most of the world. I just don’t believe that the election of Hooper or Prather will really change the numbers. In fact, I don’t even think that is the job of City government. Federal government, yes. State government, yes. Schools, yes. City government, no — streets, infrastructure, keep the peace, oversee utlities, manage common lands and get out of the way.

  24. Please, tell me again about the cranes and the prosperity, and the “perception problem” re: our schools. Tell me again about the “game changing” apartment complexes and the Alamo Drafthouse “jobs.”

  25. You may be right re: the job of the city government, but we need to do what we can to take care of ourselves and clearly, the other pieces aren’t falling into place.

  26. Hooper or Prather may not be able to change those numbers (although I think the right city government could be part of the solution), but at a minimum, they could demonstrate an understanding of our condition here, particularly when the “prosperity” Jude sees, is funded by the taxpayers who can barely afford to feed their children.

  27. Scratch that, in addition to the above, at a minimum, they can understand how the management of streets and infrastructure, keeping the peace, oversight of utilities, and management of common lands can make an area more or less desirable to employers, and perhaps acknowledge that our efforts over the last 10 years do not appear to have made San Marcos particularly desirable.

  28. Wow, 68.6% of SMCISD students qualify for free or reduced price meals. Asking those families to pay more taxes to build an ACC campus just doesn’t seem like the best solution. I hope enough voters realize the proposed ACC annexation means more taxes every year.

  29. 4,380 qualify for free meals.
    718 qualify for reduced-price meals.
    2,335 are not economically disadvantaged.

    http :// ritter .tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/broker?_service=marykay&_program=adhoc.addispatch.sas&major=st&minor=c&charsln=120&linespg=60&endyear=10&selsumm=id&key=105902&format=W

    I don’t know if ACC will help them or not. I suspect that it will not. I just object in general, to candidates claiming we are doing well, financially. One of the other candidates made a similar comment and I didn’t have any data handy, Now I can’t find that quote. Fortunately, most of the candidates seem to agree on the need for better jobs.

  30. Interestingly, that 86.6% jumped out at me, too. I thought I might have punched the numbers into the calculator wrong. That’s why I posted them, with the link.

    So, I decided to look at the 2008/09 numbers. those were 53% free, 9% discount and 38% not economically disadvantaged. The raw numbers were 3,914, 663, and 2,861, respectively. It would appear that we have had a significant increase, both in percentage and raw numbers. An additional 466 students qualified for free meals this year, for an increase of 12%. An additional 55 qualified for reduced price lunches, for an increase of 8%.

    The only growth we seem to be showing, is in the number of families struggling to get by.

    That, and cranes, of course.

  31. “You have to be *really* struggling, to be below the poverty level.” Or *really* lazy. ANYONE can do better than poverty is the just put forth a little effort. But hey, it is easier to get the free or cheap lunches at school and the food stamps for the rest of the time. Quit making excuses for lazy people.

  32. One has to wonder what it is that has made San Marcos such a magnet for “lazy” people, when our neighbors don’t seem to have the same problems.

  33. Eric, do the math….on minimum wage you can’t survive above the poverty line. Here, I’ll make it simple for you. It comes to $1,256.66 a month BEFORE taxes. Before you spout off with stupid statements calling people lazy, why don’t you try supporting your family or even just yourself on that amount of money with the cost of rent, food, electric, etc. It can’t be done.

  34. Mr. Harvey once again your negative comments make me regret ever seeing things eye to eye with you. A former teacher of mine once said, “people who always have something negative to say must live really hard lives, can you imagine what its like to live everyday with such negativity?”

    I think Susan and her colleagues, including John Thomaides even though I disagree with his decisions and his campaigning from the dais and in front of the cameras, for their efforts in what they believe are in the best interests of our great city.

    It takes a lot of courage to stand up for San Marcos and deal with all of our comments and remarks.

  35. Don’t let the numbers fool you. People in San Marcos aren’t doing THAT poorly….it’s just that so many of our residents earn a lot of their income from the “gray market”. Untaxed cash wages can let you earn a pretty decent living, especially when you can supplement it with a bunch of nice government benefits ( you know, because they earn so little and all). Or am I the only one who sees these kids on free lunch climb into brand new SUVs at the end of the day?

  36. Mr. Potter, that is the nature of this blog! It is usually nothing more than a bitch fest here in the comments section of SMLN. You VERY SELDOM see anything positive, at least from the regulars. Too bad, really. It is rather depressing to always see folks complaining.

  37. I’m going to agree w/Hugh on impact of TSU students.

    Ted- What happens when you compare San Marcos w/other towns (our size) that ‘host’ big colleges? What are the poverty numbers for College Station? Nacogdoches? Huntsville? I think you are overlooking how many students live here (hence a lot of apartments, dorms , student housing). And the job market for the younger ‘traditional’ student is the part time min wage job which (if they fill out census) would put them at poverty.

    The SMCISD numbers would be high because (yes, I’m going to generalize/stereotype here) uneducated people= low-income= large families. And there are wealthier SM families that send their children to private schools.

  38. Eric, I’ve had plenty of positive things to say, about the Wonder World extension, the road bonds package, Windmere, the improvements to Paso Robles, Grifols, etc. A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.

    SamD, I’d have to do a fairly comprehensive study of college towns, to make a meaningful comparison, Perhaps this weekend. I can say that the poverty stats for San Marcos include a lot of 18-24 year-olds, but they also include a lot of children. We significantly outpace the state for pretty much every age group under 25 and are generally worse than the state average, up to 55.

    Also, we’re at 30% for people born here and 19% for people born elsewhere. If it were the college students pulling the numbers down, I would expect those to be reversed.

  39. Students have a huge impact on economic statistics–so much that some income-based Federal funding formulas are adjusted to account for college towns. Roughly 16,000 of the 32,000 TxSt students live inside San Marcos city limits, making them around 30% of the population. While this is a crude blanket approach that doesn’t consider other variables, take the Census block groups in San Marcos where the median age is 30+ and you get a much different story about poverty and income. It is still significantly worse than NB, Kyle, etc., but the picture isn’t quite as ugly.

    Not a single candidate is demonstrating any fundamental understanding or has anything resembling an action plan to attract better-paying skill jobs and jobs for recent college graduates. They say phrases that everybody will naturally agree is a good idea, but don’t have anything to back it up. Empty words lead to broken promises. That is disappointing.

  40. The statistics Ted provided earlier in the thread are for students in SMCISD, so the college student effect would seem to not apply to those statistics, right?

  41. Tuesday, Oct 26, 6:30pm, Central SMCISD Office Boardroom, this is our opportunity to give input on the next SMCISD superintendent profile under development by the superintendent search team. This is one of many ways we the people can start to get involved in helping make SMCISD better.

  42. I’ll gladly concede the college student issue, since it beats trying to put together an actual study of comparable college towns. It also eliminates the knee-jerk “don’t blame the students” straw man, which inevitably surfaces.

    Bear in mind, though, that we do have a lot of 18-24 year old SMHS grads here, too.

    Leaving out the 18-24 demographic, here are the numbers for us, a couple of neighbors and the state (again, these are 1999 numbers – only the school district reports give indication of annual changes). These are estimates, based on bar charts. The exact numbers were not listed. I believe they are all within 1/10th of a percent or so.

    These numbers are for people at 1/2 the poverty level, because the numbers for below the poverty level were broken down by gender, which combined with the need to estimate from the charts, made it nearly impossible to get numbers I was confident in.

    (we’ll see if the formatting holds up)

    SM Kyle NB TX
    under 5 11.2% 2.4% 8.5% 9.6%
    5 3.2% 4.8% 4.8% 9.5%
    6 to 11 12% 2.4% 7.2% 9.4%
    12 to 14 12.8% 3% 2.5% 9%
    15 19% 0% 5% 9.6%
    16 and 17 11.2% 3.6% 5% 9.6%
    25 to 34 8% 2% 5% 6.4%
    35 to 44 6.5% 3% 3.5% 5%
    45 to 54 4% 2% 3.5% 4%
    55 to 64 2% 2% 3% 5%
    65 to 74 3% 7.5% 1.5% 3.2%
    75+ 3.5% 5% 1% 4%

  43. Under 5:

    San Marcos 11.2%
    Kyle 2.4%
    New Braunfels 8.5%
    TX 9.6%

    5 yrs:

    San Marcos 3.2%
    Kyle 4.8%
    New Braunfels 4.8%
    TX 9.6%

    Under 6 to 11:

    San Marcos 12%
    Kyle 2.4%
    New Braunfels 7.2%
    TX 9.4%

    Under 12 to 14:

    San Marcos 12.8%
    Kyle 3%
    New Braunfels 2.5%
    TX 9%

    15:

    San Marcos 19%
    Kyle 0%
    New Braunfels 5%
    TX 9.6%

    16 and 17:

    San Marcos 11.2%
    Kyle 3.6%
    New Braunfels 5%
    TX 9.6%

    25 to 35:

    San Marcos 8%
    Kyle 2%
    New Braunfels 5%
    TX 6.4%

    35 to 44:

    San Marcos 6.5%
    Kyle 3%
    New Braunfels 3.5%
    TX 5%

    45 to 54:

    San Marcos 4%
    Kyle 2%
    New Braunfels 3.5%
    TX 4%

    55 to 64:

    San Marcos 2%
    Kyle 2%
    New Braunfels 3%
    TX 5%

    65 to 74:

    San Marcos 3%
    Kyle 7.5%
    New Braunfels 1.5%
    TX 3.2%

    75+:

    San Marcos 3.5%
    Kyle 5%
    New Braunfels 1%
    TX 4%

    It always makes me nervous, to manually transcribe data like that. It looks right.

    Remember, these are people *below half of the poverty level*.

  44. I appreciate the theories and information presented to help explain the data I have found. I don’t believe anyone has disproven these numbers – only offered explanations of why they might not be as bad as they appear. I certainly have not seen any data presented, which supports the theory of a prosperous city, “leading the nation in the economic recovery”.

  45. The data does not say we are “in such good shape” or “leading the nation in the economic recovery” at all. Our long-term debt has doubled during the past 5 years, and statistically we see a relatively constant level of families in need of financial support during the past 10 years.

    Ted, you are doing a great job of helping us understand more about the statistics!

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