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Dinner’s going to be late, and CSCOPE lives?

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Wise County Committee on Aging had hoped to be serving up locally-prepared hot meals by now. But instead, nothing’s stirring in the kitchen at the Chico Community Center.

Brian Knox

Brian Knox

Earlier this year, Chico Mayor J.D. Clark contacted the WCCA about using the city’s facility to prepare meals to be delivered to homebound senior citizens. In addition, congregate meals could also be provided at local senior citizen centers for those residents who are not homebound.

Currently, meals are prepared in south Fort Worth and then brought to Wise County where they are then delivered to residents.

It sounded like a great deal, but it has apparently hit a snag.

The city and the WCCA had hoped to be in the facility by mid-June. Then a July 1 target date came and went. As August quickly approaches, it is unclear when things will get cooking.

The holdup is apparently related to the contract negotiations with a food vendor to use the facility. According to a representative of the WCCA, the snags apparently center around the vendor’s desire to also prepare meals for Denton County, as well as the costs of kitchen upgrades required by the vendor and the vendor’s desire to have exclusive access to the kitchen.

If the contract can’t be worked out, there has been talk that a volunteer-based system to prepare the meals might be used.

In the meantime, everyone will have to wait to see if this tasty deal gets served up soon or will remain on ice even longer.

CSCOPE ERA MIGHT NOT BE OVER

Like a bad penny, the CSCOPE issue continues to turn up in the political arena.

Since declaring the “end of era for CSCOPE,” state Senator Dan Patrick is finding himself once again taking up the battle to keep the online curriculum management tool out of Texas schools. At a State Board of Education meeting last week, SBOE general counsel David Anderson along with Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams said Texas school districts could not be prohibited from using the CSCOPE material because it was now part of the public domain and a matter of local control.

In response, Patrick, a conservative Republican, has filed a bill in the current special session to prohibit schools from exercising that local control. The problem is, time is running out in this special session (it ends Tuesday) and it is highly unlikely that it will be added to the session by Governor Rick Perry.

Patrick’s best hope might be for yet another special session to be called, which it might if legislators can’t work out a deal for transportation funding.

Interestingly, CSCOPE has now become a campaign issue. Patrick has announced he is running for lieutenant governor, and the Texas Tribune reported that Patrick touts his role in ending CSCOPE as evidence of his “clear and conservative agenda” during his time as chairman of the education committee. His opponent, current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, sent a letter to the SBOE Wednesday stating “We were all told that our CSCOPE problems were behind us. Over the past few weeks I have learned this could not be further from the truth.”

The Texas Tribune article points out that this might be interpreted as a swipe at Patrick.

Patrick and Dewhurst, along with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (who has also announced his run for governor) have all requested an official state audit of CSCOPE. Abbott announced in March that he was ordering a full investigation into CSCOPE and would “shut it down completely” if the program was found to have done anything illegal.

The results of that investigation have never been announced.

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