Am Update: 9/21/12
8:44 am
Fri September 21, 2012

AM Update: New Hispanic Population Stats, Dead Voter Purge Delay, Cost-Effective School Spending

The Clean Air Force of Central Texas is forecasting another ozone day. The group is predicting an "unhealthy" or Orange Level day. Here is a roundup of some stories making news this morning:

Austin Home to Country's 20th Largest Metropolitan Hispanic Population

A new report by the Pew Research Center shows the nation's Hispanic population is fairly concentrated. The report analyzed census data from the 2010 American Community Survey. It found "nearly half (45 percent) of the nation’s Hispanic population lives in just 10 metropolitan areas."

Four Texas metropolitans are home to some of the nation's largest Hispanic populations. Houston ranks #2, Dallas-Fort Worth is #6, San Antonio ranks #9 and Austin comes in at #20.

According to the ACS data, Austin has a Hispanic population of 502,000, which makes up 31 percent of the city's total population. Hispanics make up an even larger portion of Austin's younger population. Among Austinites under 18 years old, 42.3 percent are Hispanic. More than a quarter (28.9 percent) of Austin's Hispanic population were born outside of the United States.

Of the 60 metropolitan areas with the largest Hispanic populations, two areas have Hispanic populations that make up more than 90 percent of residents: Laredo (#36 on the list) is 96 percent Hispanic, McAllen (#13) is 91 percent Hispanic.

Delay in Dead Voter Purge

State District Judge Tom Sulak has temporarily prevented Texas from ordering counties to purge possibly dead voters from their registration rolls.

The ruling stemmed from a new state law under which the secretary of state has instructed counties to conduct regular purges of dead voters. Election officials throughout the state have already sent about 80,000 letters to presumably dead voters asking them to verify that they are alive or risk removal from voter rolls.

But the practice received intense scrutiny last week after hundreds of (definitely alive) voters, mostly in Harris and Travis counties, began complaining that they'd received letters.

On Wednesday, Sulak, a Democrat, instructed the state and the plaintiffs—four voters who received letters—to agree on a hearing date within two weeks.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Attorney General Greg Abbott's office said it would take the case to federal court to try to lift Sulak's order, setting the state up for yet another round of legal wrangling over its voting laws.

Comptroller's Report on School Spending & Achievement

A Central Texas school district and a charter school are among the top-rated in the state for achieving academic progress while spending a relatively low amount of money.

The Texas Comptroller’s office released the latest results of the Financial Allocation Study for Texas or “FAST” this week. Both Del Valle Independent School District and Star Charter School received the highest rating for cost-effective spending—a five.

The comptroller’s office says both spent a “very low” amount of money while achieving academic success. Del Valle was rated “Academically Acceptable” for the 2010-2011 school year and Star was rated “Exemplary.” Star has now been on the comptroller’s list for three years in a row.

Austin ISD received 2.5 out of 5 in the study.