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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kim Alexander Makes Case for RCISD Early Childhood Center

Kim Alexander discusses the Early Childhood Center at Monday's meeting.
Roscoe School Superintendent Kim Alexander addressed the public at an open hearing Monday evening at the school’s E.On Center on the subject of the proposed Early Childhood Center for the Roscoe Collegiate Independent School District (RCISD). Back in February, the School Board approved a bond election for Saturday, May 7, for the Early Childhood Center, which, if approved, will be located on school property across from the Elementary School.

In making his case for approving the bond, Dr. Alexander brought up several points. One was the growth in student enrollment in the RCISD over the past few years and the probability that the growth is likely to continue over the coming decade. The school is recognized as a state and national leader in both college and career readiness, and much of the recent growth has come from transfers who want to benefit from its advantages. Current facilities are already becoming overcrowded, and if the bond is not approved, the school will probably have to resort to temporary buildings to cope with the increase.

After much research by school officials, including Elementary School Principal Andy Wilson, the school feels it critical to move to the Montessori method of instruction for pre-K and kindergarten children. A study of current data indicates that as a group our primary students are not where they need to be, especially in reading, by grade 3. Since such a deficiency typically lasts through the following grades and beyond, it is important that it be rectified as early as possible. The Montessori Early Childhood Program is the established leader in doing just that, especially for economically disadvantaged children, of which Roscoe has many and is projected to have even more in the future. The Montessori Program involves a move from a half day to a full one for pre-K students. It also requires more space for storage of manipulatives and hands-on types of activities. However, a move to the program will benefit the children involved in ways that last them for the rest of their lives. And, as RCISD is one of the state and national leaders in educational innovation, the move will also strengthen its program for subsequent grades.

The downside of the bond proposal is that the facility will cost $5 million on a 30-year payout, which works out to an annual tax increase of about $52 a year per $100,000 home evaluation, although for homeowners 65 or older, there will be no tax increase, as taxes are frozen.. However, if the Roscoe schools retain their excellence, the transfers will continue to come, and under the new state regulations, model early college schools are required to accept them, and growth is likely to continue, especially with the new housing addition in Roscoe, the Young Farm Estates, well underway.

To the question about the cost of transfers to Roscoe taxpayers, Dr. Alexander replied that the money the school receives for each such student more than pays for the expense. The overhead for the school will still be pretty much the same whether it has a student enrollment of 500 or 900, so the cost per student decreases as enrollment increases.

He added that the school is the lifeblood of the community and since it will either get better or worse, the only direction to strive for is to make it as good as possible. Ten years ago, following a fifteen-year trend of declining enrollment, Roscoe ISD was, in school finance terminology, "circling the drain." However, innovations such as Early College and STEM Academy--and now Montessori Early Childhood--have reversed that trend and prevented Roscoe from losing its school, a rural trend over the past sixty years that has caused Texas to reduce from 4800 school districts in 1950 to fewer than 1200 today.

Dr. Alexander feels that improving the critical early levels will result in even greater success for our students as they gear up to compete in a global economy.



Francisco Garcia, center, with Youth Ambassadors from Arkansas, New York, Ohio, California, Maryland, and Iowa at the National 4-H headquarters in Maryland.
RCHS sophomore Francisco Garcia recently returned from Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he represented the state of Texas as its Youth Ambassador at the national 4-H STEM Futures Training conference. Six other students representing Arkansas, California, Iowa, Maryland, New York, and Ohio also attended.

On Friday, Francisco and his fellow Youth Ambassadors attended a series of workshops such as Reaching Underserved Audiences, Delivering the 4-H Message, and Understanding the Process Evaluation. At the end of the day, they toured Washington, DC, and visited the National Monuments.

On Saturday, both adults and youths attended the USA Science and Engineering Festival, where 4-H had a booth to promote the 4-H STEM programs and projects. Both youths and adults helped in the booth and toured the festival. On Sunday, all attended the Festival Debrief and State Planning Session before returning home.

Francisco’s 4-H mentor, Roxanna Reyna, local Program Specialist of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, accompanied him on the trip.



Two Plowgirls and four Plowboys will advance to the Regional Track Meet in Odessa next weekend after their performances at the Area Track Meet at McMurry University in Abilene on Friday. For the Plowgirls, Lyndi Wilkinson moves on in two events, the 400 meter dash and triple jump, and Bonnie Wilkinson in one, the 100 meter dash.

For the Plowboys, Kevin Lavalais was first in the 100 meter dash, and Max Nemir was second in the 300 meter hurdles. Both were also on the Plowboys’ 4 x 400 meter relay team, which also finished second. The other two on the relay team are Braiden Moore and Juan Solis.

Contestants had to finish in the top four in their event to advance. Here are the complete results for Plowgirls and Plowboys who competed in the Area Meet:


Event                         Place          Athlete                  Time/Distance
3200 meter run             8          Allison Acebedo           13:41.82
1600 meter run             7          Karina Cisneros            6:08.34
800 meter run               5          Karina Cisneros            2:45.63
400 meter dash             4*        Lyndi Wilkinson           1:02.45
200 meter dash             8          Bonnie Wilkinson         27.36
100 meter dash              3*        Bonnie Wilkinson         13.07
                                                      Lyndi Wilkinson            13.43
Triple jump                    4*        Lyndi Wilkinson            33’ 6¾”
Pole vault                        6          Bonnie Wilkinson           7’ 6”


3200 meter run             6          Alfonzo Islas                 11:30.27
1600 meter run             7           Alfonzo Islas                  5:10.10
100 meter dash              1*          Kevin Lavalais              10.94
300 meter hurdles        2*         Max Nemir                    41.41
4 x 400 meter relay       2*        Plowboys ‘A’                  3:34.05
  (Braiden Moore, Max Nemir, Juan Solis, and Kevin Lavalais)
Pole vault                        7           Jayden Gonzales           12’

* = Advances to Regional Meet


by Sonia Flores

Roscoe robotics teams at Texas Tech.
This past weekend eight teams from the Roscoe GT and 4-H Clubs participated in the 2016 GEAR contest at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. This is the third year Roscoe has participated in the GEAR contest. GEAR stands for Getting Excited About Robotics, which was started with a goal to generate interest among students to pursue a career in engineering, science, or technology and to show them that math and science can be fun. Challenges are designed to make students think at a higher level and give them an opportunity to see how everyday math and science apply to the real world.

For the past nine weeks, the students have been working hard to get their robots built and have working programs to retrieve and deliver items from the game mat.



This Saturday RCHS student Caty Chavira will be competing in the Prose Reading competition at the UIL Regional Academics meet in Odessa.



The Meek Blood Donation Bus
The Meek Community Blood Bank of Abilene is looking for volunteers to donate blood next Tuesday, April 26, from 9:00am to 2:00pm. The Bloodmobile will be located on 7th Street in front of the Roscoe Collegiate High School Special Events Center. Donations will take approximately 30-45 minutes, and donors are advised to eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluid beforehand.

Volunteers should bring a photo ID. To reserve a sign-up time or for questions, phone Nick Anthony, CD, of College Chiropractors at 325-766-3423. Walk-up donors are also welcome.



Friends and well-wishers are encouraged to attend a benefit for Kristi Graham Stacy Saturday night to help her pay medical expenses for her hospitalization. There will be live music from three different bands.

Marty Stuart

Then, on Sunday country great Marty Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, will make a rare West Texas appearance at the Lumberyard this Sunday, April 24.

Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1958, Stuart’s talent with the guitar and mandolin made him famous at an early age. When he was twelve, he started performing with the bluegrass group The Sullivan Family before moving on to Lester Flatt’s band, the Nashville Grass. He stayed with Flatt until the band broke up in 1978 due to Flatt’s ailing health. In 1980, he joined Johnny Cash’s band a year after releasing his first solo album, With a Little Help from My Friends. He released a second album, Busy Bee CafĂ©, in 1982, and in 1983 married Johnny Cash’s daughter, Cindy. They divorced five years later, and in 1985 he left Cash’s band to pursue a solo career.

In 1990, his album Hillbilly Rock was a commercial success, and in 1991 he co-wrote and sang, “This Whiskey Ain’t Working” with Travis Tritt. Since then, he’s produced many more albums, including This One’s Gonna Hurt You, Soul’s Chapel, Badlands, and Live at the Ryman. For the past few years he’s hosted The Marty Stuart Show, which features traditional country music on RFD-TV. Top singles include “Burn Me Down,” “Tempted,” “Little Things,” “Honky Tonkin’s What I Do Best,” and many others.

For reservations or more information, call the Lumberyard during business hours at 325-766-2457, or visit the Lumberyard’s Facebook page.



The approaching storm west of town on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Allen Richburg)
We got a nice rain on Saturday. Here in town, Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried reported an official 1.71” for Roscoe, but I heard reports of anywhere from 1.25” to 2”. It was one of those rains where the amount people got really depended on their location as reports varied considerably. Around Inadale some were reporting three inches, west of town was more like 2.5”, and between Loraine and Colorado City got as much as four to five inches. In almost all cases in the Roscoe area, there was a good rain. I heard more people saying 2” to 2½” than anything else.

Then last night a storm blew through from the northwest shortly after midnight that probably woke up everybody in town. It came in with lighting flashing, thunder crashing, and rain falling. It lasted about forty minutes and in that time dropped between a half-inch and an inch. The official amount for Roscoe was .71" In any case, the dry weather we’ve been having practically the entire year has come to a halt, at least temporarily. The ground has soaked up the moisture, and crop outlooks are more optimistic than they were this time last week.

Along with the rain, the week has seen lots of cool and cloudy weather with temperatures cooler than what we’ve come to expect from mid-April. The high for the week was 77°F on both Thursday and Friday before the front moved through, although lows were relatively mild, all in the fifties with the exception of Monday morning when the temperature dropped to 49°.

The forecast between now and Sunday is for highs in the seventies and lows in the fifties, similar to what we’ve been getting for the past week. There’s an 80% chance of rain tomorrow morning, but then the chances diminish to nothing for the days after that. Saturday will be sunny and so will Sunday, when the mercury will climb into the low eighties for the first time in a while.



Funeral services for Donald Rudell Marth, 80, will be at 11:00am on Saturday, April 30, at the Salem Lutheran Church in Roscoe, followed by a private family graveside ceremony. He passed away on Friday, April 15, in San Antonio after a valiant, courageous few years dealing with a blood disease. A memorial service of celebration for his life will be held tomorrow, April 21, at 3pm at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in San Antonio.

Don was born in Roscoe on December 3, 1935, to Rudolph and Jessie Marth. He grew up with his sister, Frances Marth Richburg, in a happy, hardworking home. After high school, he farmed and worked in the Texas National Guard reserves and at the gypsum mill in Sweetwater. He later graduated from North Texas State University with a BA in psychology and sociology, an MA, and a PhD in Clinical Psychology. While a student at North Texas, Don became an active member of the national fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and made many lasting friendships. He also studied for a year at the Carl Jung Institute in Switzerland.

His first job after earning his doctorate was at the State Hospital in Galveston, where he specialized in Adolescent and Child Psychology. Later, he opened a private practice in San Antonio, where he continued to focus on caring for children and youth for many years. In his later career he served as an expert vocational witness in disability appeal hearings working with administrative law judges at Social Security Administrative hearings. He didn’t retire until June 2015.

Famous for his Texas pecan sheet cake, dutch oven cobblers and corn bread at church gatherings and Knights of Columbus, Don generously shared his passion for tasty food and frolicking jocularity, making a party out of any occasion. He frequented the San Antonio area “pulgas" (flea markets), always hunting for a great deal and collecting dutch oven cookware, knives, boots, etc. He was known as the “Corn Bread Man” at Monte Vista neighborhood gatherings and enjoyed his colorful role as boot peddler extraordinaire at Wimberly Trade Days. He enjoyed singing with the San Antonio Liederkrantz. He was rarely without his cowboy hat and boots. He always wore his larger-than-life personality sharing his jocular humor and zest for life.

He is survived by his wife, Ernestine Pavelka Marth, and her children David, Steven, and Emily and their spouses; his mother, Jessie Marth of Roscoe; sister, Frances Richburg; daughter, Debbie Marth Stanaland and son-in-law, Rockey; daughter, Jennifer Marth Todd and son-in-law Steven; and son, Reuben Marth. He was also proud of and loved all his many grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as his Richburg nephews and nieces and the Pavelka grandchildren.



  1. Really glad to see that there's been some good rain in the Roscoe area. Great for the coming cotton crop, frog population and wild flowers. Sorry to hear about Donald Marth. He was a good friend and fellow Lutheran.

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  3. (*^^^* Small Edit) I talked to Jessica Snyder at the Texas Education Agency and she quotes 26.036 of the Texas Education Code where an independent school district can refuse a transfer and Sharlet from the Texas Comptrollers Office and the property tax dollar stays in the district where the transfer student resides. The burden of this yet another school bond election will be carried by those in our district for those looking for a free ride on our dime.

    Students from inside our district are transferring out because of all the transfers coming in and the increased class size as well as not being able to handle the work load. So we are losing kids, good kids, to Highland and Sweetwater.

    Young Farms Estates is basically a ghost town now that the Cline Shale Boom has gone bust and the highest property tax rate for any school district in the county sure does not encourage anyone to build or buy in the district.


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