Archive for September, 2007

Electricity on the Brain
September 27, 2007

Hey everyone,

It’s been awhile since my last post. I haven’t forgotten about my blog.. but I am up to my eyeballs answering e-mails related to our “Your Electric Bill” series. More than 130 e-mails and even more phone calls in 2 days.. I think we hit a nerve!

If you haven’t seen our invesigations, check them out in the “Local 2 Investigates” section of Click2Houston.com. We’ll be answering some of the questions you’ve asked in those e-mails in every newscast beginning at 4pm tomorrow.

And if you’ve recently sent me an e-mail that’s is not related to your electric bill, I will be getting back to you. Thank you for your patience.

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How much does your Superintendent make?
September 12, 2007

Hey everyone,

I am running out the door headed to East Texas for an interview (more on that later!)… but I just wanted to put a link out there for parents and taxpayers.

Last night we aired an investigation about how much the highest paid employees at the top five largest school districts in the Houston area make. Those districts are Houston ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, Alief ISD, Fort Bend ISD and and Aldine ISD (my alma matter- Go Stangs!). But after the story, many of you e-mailed wanting to know how much your Superintendents make in districts not in the top 5. The Texas Education Agency keeps that information on its website for you to see. The only difference in the figures posted by TEA and the numbers we uncovered, is that our numbers reflect the employee’s salaries AND all benefits (like car and cell phone allowances and any bonuses).

Just click here:http://www.tea.state.tx.us/adhocrpt/Standard_Reports.html
You want to scroll down to “Staff Reports” and click on “Superintendent Salary Reports.”
Interesting stuff.. enjoy!!

And I’m off!

AT&T giving control back to parents
September 4, 2007

Call me old- fashioned, but I’m still amazed when I hear about parents who are buying their kids (as young as 7!) trendy cell phones with pricey plans that cover unlimited text messages and all the latest bells and whistles. My best friend tells me her 11-year-old daughter needs it to keep it touch between dance practice, school and play dates. I’m still not convinced.

It seems AT&T’s new “Smart Limits” plan was made for skeptical adults like myself. (Disclaimer: This is not a commercial! It’s a new product that some parents may find useful. I’ve never tried it. I can’t say first-hand!)
For $5 a month, parents can set up their kid’s cell phone accounts to limit minutes, texts and instant messages, purchases like ringtones and games.

But even better, parents can set schedules for when the phone can be used. AT&T sent us this audio clip. This is what your child will hear when he or she tries to make a call when they should be in school or when they call a number you’ve restricted:

Smart%20Limits%20for%20Wireless%20Voice%20Recordings_SPAN_04-12-07%20%282%29.zip

Your phone bill will look something like this: