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May 19, 2018     The Burnet Bulletin
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Page 411 Wednesday, May 9, 2018 i Bumet Bulletin Commentary i Bumet, Texas Few journalists have credentials as impressive as NBC sportscasting legend Bob Costas, so when the 66-year-old New York native speaks about the current state of news media and sports as he did Monday, April 30, at the University of Texas at Austin people listen. Costas was at the Moody College of Communications' Belo Center for New Media to give the ninth annual Frank Deford Lecture in Sports Journalism to a capacity crowd of students, staff and the public. I was privileged to have the opportunity not only to attend the lecture, but to ask Costas a question of my own and to speak with him briefly afterwards. Costas the only person to have ever won Emmys in news, sports and entertainment -- told UT students and staff that he was "impressed by the facilities, by the faculty members I've met and by the students I've met" during his visit to the Forty Acres. Never one to shy away from telling it like it is, Costas decried the "click-bait" culture embraced by modem media, especially social-media savvy special interest publications, while pointing out there are still many of his colleagues who perform with honor and integrity. "For modem media, there's still a whole lot of quality out there, a whole lot," Costas said. "There really is an idea that, even as styles change and technology changes and the way in which we consume information changes, that there are certain lasting truths that have to be upheld. There are barbarians at the gate and they've got to be held off. "We've got to hold our ground who believe that whatever they want to be true is true, and whatever they don't want to be -- no matter what the evidence of it is is there for untrue. As someone recently said, we now live in the world where everything is true and nothing is true. Highland Lakes Newspapers Lew Cohn Managing Editor amplified." Costas noted, throughout his career, he would read conservative and liberal columnists alike to make sure he had a broad viewpoint of the world so as not to become too set into a pre-conceived idea about a particular issue. "If I read George Will or Peggy Noonan from a conservative viewpoint, I did not think they were lying or tilting facts or creating 'click- bait headlines' to influence people in a dishonest way," Costas said. "I thought they were seeing the world and seeing objective facts with integrity, and in their mind, fairness, but just from a conservative perspective. "If, on the same issue, I read Nicholas Kristof or someone from Mother Jones or The New Republic, I didn't think they were lying to me. I thought they were trying to give me an informed take from their perspective." The 28-time Emmy winner and longtime host of NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games told students that today the American public "are being actively not just uninformed, but in too many cases, actively and purposefully misinformed, because it is the business model of much of modem media to heighten the resentments of their core audience." "Shades of gray don't serve any purpose," Costas said. "You seldom hear anymore, over here in the left comer or over in the right comer, Instead, Costas said, in today's media, when someone disagrees with another person, '~you're not just wrong on the merits, and it's not just my job to try and prove that I have a better argument or more persuasive argument on the merits." "I am at liberty to misrepresent what you say, to extrapolate from that misrepresentation a whole constellation of beliefs that make it easier to turn you into a strawman, and then, while I am at it, I can demonize you as a person," he said. "That accounts for a huge portion of the divisiveness that we see in this COuntry." Costas spoke at length about his 40-plus year career in sports journalism, including: * his coverage of the Major League Baseball steroid scandal of the late 1990s and early 2000s; * the undeniable proof of the link between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in all levels of football (Costas was one of the first sportscasters not only to talk about the large number of NFL players suffering from CTE, but to interview the medical researchers who identified this link); * his decision to honor the families of the 12 Israeli athletes and racial injustice by law enforcement. Costas encouraged the students present to read the works of Frank Deford, the late Sports Illustrated writer who gave the first lecture in the series and for whom the lecture series is named. I asked him if he had experienced "'ageism" in his field now that he has grown long in the tooth as a broadcaster, but he replied he had not. Costas confirmed he had stepped down from coverage of this year's Super Bowl and Olympics not because of his age, but due to his own ambivalence towards professional football and a desire to seek out other arenas to conquer. You can go to your own respective things like, 'My esteemed colleague coaches killed in the 1972 Munich Costas also gave the audience a comers and you can have whatever makes a number of good points, but Games with a moment of silence at treat by showing the 1958 Mickey your predisposition -- whatever here is where I differ' or 'I can see the 2012 London Olympics; Mantle Topps baseball card he keeps your pre-existing bias is confirmed, that point, given the integrity and,and the continuing controversy in his blazer pocket a nod to his and amplified, and you' Can. .go, to the honesty of the good intentions of about Colin KaepemicK, .~ind ottt~r~i ,i,l~'I0v~dN'e:.W~!~d~l~ao~kees. J,', !; :" another comer and ihave an entirely Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones, but I still professional athletes kneeling for the After ail,~ it wag" time Sperlt at different point of view confirmed and disagree and here's why.'" national anthem to protest perceived Yankee Stadium with his father at tax increases The Burner Consolidated Independent School District has been working on developing its budget since January and conducted its first budget workshop in March. The next budget workshop is scheduled for June 4. A key data point in developing the district's budget is property values. Bumet County property value' estimates were provided to the district by the Bumet Central Appraisal District on April 25. The district had been working under the conservative assumption of a five- percent property value increase for the upcoming school year, but the actual estimate came in higher at nine percent. I want to make Clear that Bumet CISD does not determine property values, but it is important to understand that state law requires the Bumet Central Appraisal District to appraise properties at least at 95 percent of market value or else the appraisal district fails the Comptroller's ratio study and the state reduces funding to local schools. The Texas Comptroller's ratio study compares sales prices with appraised values set by the county appraisal district. Bumet County was determined to be under the 95 percent threshold in 2017, and is in a grace Keith $uper|Bt6BdeBt Burner CbrL o/idated ISD period. If Burnet County does not pass the comptroller's ratio study in the future, Burner CISD and Marble Falls ISD could both lose millions of dollars in state funding. The district does set two tax rates each year Maintenance and Operation (M&O) for day-to-day operation of the district (salaries, utilities, transportation, etc.) and Interest & Sinking (I&S) to pay off the district's debt related to bond programs. The district's M&O rate is currently $1.04 and is as low as it can be without being penalized by the state. The I&S rate was lowered by a penny in August 2016 and another 3 cents in August 2017 and is currently $0.24. Because of rising property values, the Board of Trustees is projecting to lower the I&S tax rate again in August 2018 and recently approved the early payment of bonds totaling $2,550,000. This early payment of bonds, called Bond Defeasance, is a strategy used to decrease the interest expense paid on the district's bonds.' This specific defeasance saves Bumet CISD more than $200,000 in interest payments. The Board of Trustees is committed to having the lowest possible tax rate while maintaining a commitment to planning for the future, offering the highest quality educational programs and being fiscally responsible while servicing its debt. Approval of the final tax rates will be made when the budget is adopted this August. The increased property value also means that the property wealth per student in Burnet CISD is projected to reach a threshold defined in law which will result in Bumet CISD being subject to "recapture." For the first time in the district's history, Burnet CISD will be sending property taxes generated in Bumet CISD to the State as part of the "Robin Hood" school finance plan. The district is projecting that this recapture payment will be $350,000 for the 2018-2019 school year. These are fimds that will not be available to support innovative programs, teacher pay raises or school safety initiatives in Burnet CISD. but will instead be redistributed to other Texas school districts. While some school districts in the State have fallen off the "funding cliW' when they become a "recapture district" the Board of Trustees and administration have been carefully planning for the future, by setting money aside to assist with the projected loss in funding. The one entity that is benefiting the most from increased property values is the state of Texas. As local property tax collections go up, the amount of state aid to fund education is reduced. This means that the state is contributing a smaller share of funding for Bumet CISD than it has in the past. Because the state adopts its budget for a biennium, Burnet CISD always plans a two-year budget framework so that we are looking ahead tbr any possible budget challenges like recapture. We take very seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and to plan appropriately. baseball games which helped steer a young Bob Costas to his future career. "I knew there was no way I was ever going to play in Yankee Stadium, so the only way I was going to be able to see games there for free was to cover sports and I have been privileged to be able to do just that," Costas said. Burnet e Serving Burnet County Since 1873 220 South Main Burnet, TX 78611 The Burnet Bulletin is published weekly by Highland Lakes Newspapers. Periodicals postage paid at Burnet, TX, 78611; USPS o8o~o0o, ~ ~sSN ! do84-~ ~. Cdml~!r~ w~trt; ,the :~Ma~bl~ ,~al~s MeSsenger an~ Bertram Enterprise. Member of Texas Press Association and South Texas Press Association. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Burnet Bulletin P. O. Box 1000 Marble Falls, Texas 78654 Corrections The Bulletin will gladly correct any error found in the newspaper. To request a correction or clarification, )lease call 512-756-6136 and ask for the editor. A correction or clarification will appear in the next available issue. Subscriptions Subscription rates for The Burnet Bulletin are $32 annually for mailing addresses in Burnet and Llano counties; $39 in other Texas counties and $39 outside of Texas. Call 830- 693-4367 to order by phone, Copyright The Burnet Bulletin and burnetbulletin. corn, as well as any reasonable derivative of these names, are trademarks of Highland Lakes Newspapers, LP and use of these trademarks without the express written consent of Highland Lakes Newspapers LP is strictly prohibited. The entire contents of each issue of the Burnet Bulletin and burnetbulletin.com are protected under the Federal Copyright Act. Reproduction of any portion of any issue will not be permitted without the express permission of Highland Lakes Newspapers LR Contact us: Publisher and Editor Frank Shubert 830-693-4367 x224 frank@highlandernews.com Managing Editor lew@highlandernews.com kew Cohn 830-693-4367 x226 Staff Writers Savanna Gregg 512-756-6136 savan na@burnetbulletin.com Richard Zowie 830-693-4367 x220 richard@highlandernews.com Glynis Crawford Smith 830-693-4367 x219 glynis@highlandernews.com Contributing Writers Marcie Masterson marciemasterson@gmail.com Alexandria Randolph Sports Wayne & Monica Craig 612-756-2250 clearmemories@verizon.net Retail/Classified Display Advertising Jaymie Parks 512-756-6136 Bill Parmeter 830-693-4367 Bookkeeping and Circulation Kim Green 830-693-4367 x206 kim@highlandemews.com Classified Line Ads Cheryl Michel 830-693-4367 x201 c.michel@highlandernews.com