Education
12:29 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Texas Higher Ed Leaders Higher Paid

UT President William Powers, Jr (center) is among the highest-compensated college presidents in the nation, according to one report
Photo by KUT News

The Chronicle of Higher Education has released a report on the compensation that higher education leaders, and the University of Texas ranks very high.

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Texas
7:32 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 4, 2011

The Texas House passed its budget bill for 2012-2013 late last night.
Photo by KUT News

Texas House Approves Budget Bill

The House approved a budget of $164.5 billion last night for the next biennium with a 98-49 vote, largely along party lines. The budget is around $23 billion smaller than the state's current two-year budget. As expected, the House budget makes deep cuts to public education and health and human services spending.  The legislation now heads to the Senate where changes are expected.

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Politics
5:31 pm
Sun April 3, 2011

Texas House Budget Debate - Part II

Debate today is going much faster than Friday/Saturday.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

If you're watching the Texas House budget debate today - don't blink.  

While it took about 16 hours to get through the first three articles of the budget Friday, lawmakers are zooming through their debate on the remaining parts of the budget.  

Many amendments are simply being withdrawn - or moved to Article XI in the budget.  That's the place were projects without funding go to hang out just in case money can be found to fund them.  

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Austin
12:01 pm
Sun April 3, 2011

Sunday News Roundup 4/3/11

It's wildflower season in Central Texas
Photo By Emily Donahue

The Texas House gets back to work on the next state budget today. Lawmakers worked late Friday and into Saturday on the $164 billion dollar bill. And though there were passionate debates over which programs to save, the Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey reminds us the next state budget won't be pretty - for anyone,

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Austin
3:29 pm
Sat April 2, 2011

Raising Money For Japan While Tasting Yummy

Cake Pops treats were sold at the Austin Bakes For Japan fundraiser. Five locations were set up in Austin.
Photo by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

The Austin Bakes for Japan fundraiser took place today, selling baked sweet treats at five locations across Austin to raise money for tsunami and earthquake relief in Japan.

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Traffic
10:30 am
Sat April 2, 2011

Car Crash Causes Power Outages And Blocked Roads

Austin Energy crews are on scene at Manchaca Rd. reparing two power poles that were damaged in a fatal car crash Saturday morning leaving residents without power.
Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News.

About 60 customers are out of power this morning as Austin Energy crews repair two power poles on Manchaca Rd. near Stassney Ln. that were damaged by a serious car wreck early Saturday morning. Austin Police ask drivers to avoid the area. The road is expected to be shut down for about 7 hours as crews work and police officer investigate the accident.

The fatal car crash happened around 2:00 a. m. on Manchaca Rd. near Slaughter Ln. Austin Energy spokesperson Ed Clark said in press release that approximately 2,600 customers initially out of power.

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Politics
12:39 am
Sat April 2, 2011

Texas House Closes Budget Debate for the Night

Lawmakers will break until Sunday.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas House has ended debate for the night on the state budget.  Lawmakers were able to get through the first 3 articles of the $164 billion bill - that includes general government (I), health and human services (II) and education (III).

Politics
8:48 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Budget Protesters Fill Hall Outside Texas House

ADAPT protestors mourning the "death" of several state programs.
Photo by KUT News

House Democrats aren't the only ones not happy about the spending cuts made in that chamber's version of the state budget.  ADAPT of Texas, a grassroots disability rights group, has a full protest on the 2nd floor landing right outside the House chamber.  Their chants have been heard over the last couple of hours anytime the debate in chambers hits a lull.  The ADAPT website lists several reasons for their opposition to the things the group says the bill does:

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Politics
6:48 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

House Moves to Education Section of State Budget

The education debate begins in the House.
Photo courtesy the Texas Tribune for KUT News

Family planning was the target in in Article II of the budget. The Windham School District (an education system run in state prisons) appears to be the piggy bank for Article III. The first three amendments take about $1.1 million from Windham to pay for other educational programs. The fourth takes sweeps the entire Windham budget, $84 million, for other programs.

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Politics
5:07 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Picking On Family Planning

Republicans had several amendments to move money out of family planning.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

The House is taking up the 371 pre-filed state budget amendments article by article.  There are 11 articles in the budget, although Article 11 is mostly a repository for projects that are not going to get funding. 

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Environment
4:01 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Ozone Season's Greetings!

Austin Mayor Lee Leffignwell marked the start of Ozone Season with a press conference at City Hall.
Mose Buchele for KUT News.

It's that time of year again. 

April 1 to October 31 is ozone season in Central Texas.  These are the months when we expect the highest amounts of ground level ozone in the air. Last year, the Austin area came dangerously close to falling out of attainment of the federal clean air standard of 74 parts of ozone per-billion.  With the Environmental Protection Agency set to announce even stricter standards, it could be even harder for the region to stay in attainment this year.

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Politics
9:59 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Budget Debate Begins in the Texas House

Debate on HB 1 could last throughout the night.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas House is off and running this morning on HB 1, the state budget bill. The $164 billion dollar budget is about $23 billion less than the budget passed in the 2009 legislative session. It also does not take into account population and enrollment growth in many state agencies and programs, like K-12 public education.

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Arts and Culture
7:37 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Watch Reagan High School Band Peforming with Kanye West

This morning's Austin American-Statesman reports on what was likely a dream come true for kids in the Reagan High School band: performing with Kanye West at the Seaholm Power Plant during SXSW.

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Politics
6:35 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Cracking open the 'Rainy Day Fund'

A long weekend of debates on the state budget began Thursday morning.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

Because Texas doesn’t have enough money to run the state for the rest of the fiscal year, legislators gave initial approval to HB 275 today, authorizing a $3.1 billion withdrawal from the so-called rainy day fund to help  pay for a more than $4 billion supplemental appropriation. That bill is also set for final passage on Friday.

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Politics
4:57 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Texas House Cuts To Cover Current Shortfall

Photo by KUT

The Texas House passed a bill today to that would reduce funding to state agencies and institutions of higher education by a total of $1.5 billion for the rest of this fiscal year. The cuts address a $4.5 billion shortfall the state is facing for FY 2011, which ends on August 31st.

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