Education
5:04 pm
Wed January 26, 2011

Q&A: Round Rock ISD Superintendent Jesus Chavez Talks Budget Cuts

Round Rock Superintendent Jesus Chavez is telling his district to prepare for $60 million or more in budget cuts.
Image courtesy Round Rock Independent School District

Round Rock Superintendent Jesus Chavez sent a letter to staff yesterday warning of looming budget cuts.  The letter estimates that RRISD, a  school district with the state's second highest rating of "

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Transportation
1:03 pm
Wed January 26, 2011

TxDOT Head Retiring

Amadeo Saenz, Jr. has been executive director of TxDOT since 2007
Image courtesy Texas Department of Transportation

TxDOT's executive director will retire later this year.

A spokesperson at the Texas Department of Transportation confirms for KUT News that Amadeo Saenz, Jr. will retire from the agency on August 31.  A three-member restructuring council of experts presented a report to the Texas Transportation Commission earlier this month.  In it, the group recommended sweeping executive changes at TxDOT, in an effort to regain the trust of the public and the legislature.  But the spokesperson did not say whether the report contributed to Saenz's decision.

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environment
10:57 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Las Brisas Permit Approved

The TCEQ has okayed a permit for a coke-fired power plant near Corpus Christi
Image by Nasha Lee for KUT News

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved an air permit for the $3 billion Las Brisas petroleum coke-fired power plant in Corpus Christi against the recommendations of two state administrative law judges and the Environmental Protection Agency. (Read the story from KUT.)

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Education
9:10 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Round Rock ISD To Lose Between $47 Million and $73 Million In State Cash

Image courtesy Steve Wampler http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgw/

The second largest school district in Central Texas is assessing the damage it anticipates as a result of projected state cuts to education. Here's the letter Superintendent Chavez sent to employees yesterday.

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News Brief
8:05 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Top Morning Stories for January 26, 2011

Senate Committee OKs Voter ID

For the third consecutive session, Texas GOP members are trying to get a Voter ID bill through the Senate. A Committee of the Whole Tuesday voted in favor of the bill, which would require voters to show photo ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID, personal ID card, or passport, before voting.

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Health
4:46 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

New Study Says Conditions For Texas Children Trail National Average

Image courtesy Texans Care For Children

With dramatic spending cuts to Texas' limited social services network expected in the upcoming state budget, a new report from an Austin non-profit suggests Texas children are already struggling compared to their United States counterparts.

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Business
3:40 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Report: Austin Condo Sales Up In 2010

A look at the tallest condo in downtown, the Austonian. A report says condo sales in Austin were up last year, but the opposite is true of single-family homes.
Image by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

A local blog sponsored by the real estate firm Urban Space claims sales of condominiums in Austin increased by a whopping 50 percent in 2010. 

AustinTowers.net delved into MLS listings and said sales increased from 112 condos in 2009 to 168 in 2010. The average price increased from $330,344 in 2009 to $343,983 last year, a gain of four percent.

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Education
1:36 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Round Rock ISD Redraws Boundaries For New School

Round Rock ISD is set to redraw school boundaries, a move that could require students to switch schools.
Image courtesy Nicholas James Santiago http://www.flickr.com/photos/imnicholas

Some kids attending elementary schools in Round Rock are supposed to leave their home school and move to other schools.

After the board meeting on Jan. 20, the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustee finally approved the Citizen’s Boundary Committee recommendation redrawing school boundaries for the district’s 32nd new elementary school.

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Education
1:05 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

Think $113 Million AISD Deficit Is Bad? Consider This Armageddon Scenario

People gathered at an AISD board meeting last night to protest cuts to the budget. Those cuts could get a lot more severe if state lawmakers implement them under the under the additional state aid for tax reduction (ASATR) program.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin School Trustees acknowledged they were left with no easy choices last night as they voted 9-0 to approve a plan that would eliminate 485 jobs next school year, mostly teachers. The decision was based on a plan to reduce the $113 million projected budget gap without cutting full day pre-K.

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Politics
11:13 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Why Is Voter ID an Emergency In 2011 Legislative Session?

From our political reporting partner The Texas Tribune comes this video of State Sens. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) debating the importance of voter ID, which Gov. Rick Perry has declared a legislative emergency.  Wondering what the heck that means? The Texas Tribune explains.

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News Brief
6:26 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 25, 2011

The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday.
Photo by KUT News.

Texas Senate Releases Its Draft Budget Proposal

First the House, now the Senate has released its projected cuts. The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday, following the House's first draft budget released last week.  It's $2.3 billion bigger than the House proposal at $158.7 billion. 

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Education
1:34 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Austin School Board Approves 485 Job Cuts But Balanced Budget Still Distant

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and school board president Mark Williams listen to angry parents during public comment period of last night's board meeting.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

January is School Board Recognition Month, and while board members received gift baskets and pictures drawn by children, the people who packed into last night’s school board meeting were in no mood to celebrate. During the public comment section of the board meeting, people responded to some of the most controversial budget reduction proposals – everything from laying off teachers and librarians to closing neighborhood schools.

But school closures were not on the menu last night. Board members were faced with a different set of unpleasant options. They involved changing staffing formulas to eliminate hundreds of teachers and dozens of librarians, among other employees.

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Politics
4:42 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Over 100 Lawmakers & Staff Sign Up for CPR

After the heart attack death of a former state representatives, legislators and their staff will get CPR lessons
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Some Texas lawmakers and their staffs will be getting a course in CPR training, starting this week.

The Texas Society Anesthesiologists is organizing the training sessions, with help from the American Heart Association and the Seton Family of Hospitals.  State Rep. John Zerwas (R-Simonton) is an anestheologist and former society president.  He performed CPR on then-State Rep. Edmund Kuempel, after the Seguin Republican suffered a near-fatal heart attack and collapsed in a Capitol elevator during the 2009 legislative session. 

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Austin
2:12 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Bull Creek Park Meeting Tonight

The future uses of Bull Creek District Park (pictured) will be the subject of a public meeting tonight.
Photo by KUT News

City officials will hold a public meeting tonight to discuss the future of Bull Creek District Park and get input from the community about that future.  The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 Water St.

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Politics
2:11 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Texas Senate Lays Out Its Own Budget

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and the Texas Senate lay out their budget.
Picture by KUT News

The Texas Senate has added its take on the 2012-2013 Texas budget to the ongoing debate.  The Senate's version spends $158.7 billion.  That's $2.3 billion more than the Texas House's version of the bill.  The additional money includes about $500 million more for both the public education and higher education budgets.

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Education
11:27 am
Mon January 24, 2011

Austin School Board To Consider Axing 536 Jobs At Tonight's Meeting

The courtyard outside AISD board meeting room will be bustling tonight as trustees consider tough choices about how to close a budget gap.
Image by KUT News

It's going to be a busy night at Austin Independent School District headquarters as board members confront some of the toughest decisions they have been asked to make in their careers as school district leaders.

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News Brief
6:15 am
Mon January 24, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 24, 2011

The Texas Senate is scheduled to debate voter ID legislation today.
Photo by KUT News.

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Austin
9:17 am
Sun January 23, 2011

Sunday Morning Brief

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen
Picture by KUT News

Good morning from the KUT Newsroom.  We hope the high cedar and mold counts don't have you feeling like us (nothing like going through a box of tissue first thing in the morning).  Anyway...plenty of news to pass along this morning.

Austin ISD Goes Over Facilities Plan...again:

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Anti-Abortion Rally
5:40 pm
Sat January 22, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry Announces New Emergency Legislation at Anti-Abortion Rally

Volunteers gather on the Capitol steps behind Gov. Rick Perry at the 2011 Texas Rally for Life on Saturday.
Photo by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry designated pre-abortion sonograms as emergency legislation today at the annual Rally for Life. The rally marks the 38th anniversary of what Perry calls the “tragic” Roe v. Wade court decision, which gave women the legal right to abortion.

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Austin
4:50 pm
Fri January 21, 2011

Your Last Chance To Enjoy Barton Springs Pool Until March 12, 2011

Swimmers enjoy Barton Springs Pool during warmer times. The pool will be closed for about seven weeks starting Monday.
Photo by KUT News

With temperatures barely breaking into the 60s this weekend, a dip in Barton Springs Pool might not be the first thing on your mind. But it will be your last chance to enjoy the swimming hole until mid-March.

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