The text changes described by Destrohelix should have worked. I would set all start menu text settings to os default, and start from square one with the color of the text, this way you see what happens with each change. I say this because each change can affect other text areas on the start menu. The relationship between having or not having a Item mouseover and having one, versus os default settings or selected text colors by the user, all can affect other text settings. I tried to duplicate your text issue and could not get it to NOT work as described. So, I would start from scratch with the text. Also, under skin colors, the programs and places colors affect this area when in os default settings, fyi.
As for the start menu itself, if you already manually resized the image, not just the size settings, you need to adjust the start menu pieces size settings. As you are on each section of the start menu in sks, to the bottom right of the page, under extra settings, size of parts, and change to match your pieces. also, if expanded start menu has been set, you may need to reset that also. Then , maybe re adjust some paint margins also. Hope that helps, if not, tell me the skin, a name, where to get, I will replicate the changes you seek, and pass along the information, not the work, illegal, and explain exactly how to achieve this. DT1.