AM Update: 9/17/12
8:50 am
Mon September 17, 2012

AM Update: Occupy AISD, Cap Metro Budget, Foster Care Redesign

After a weekend of rain, your Monday should be mostly dry. On Sunday, most parts of Central Texas saw an inch to two inches of rain. Here's a roundup of some of today's happenings:

Education Activists Occupy Austin

Austin education activists plan to gather at Austin City Hall this evening to rally for the Chicago teachers strike.

Occupy AISD will rally from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in an event that organizers say will connect the disputes in Chicago to issues facing Austin schools.

The education rally will be part of a day-long celebration of Occupy Austin by protesters to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Chicago teachers strike is entering its second week after the union delayed their decision on whether to suspend walking picket lines. The issues still on the table are teacher evaluations, job security and salary/benefits.

Capital Metro’s Budget Plans

Capital Metro is inviting the public to comment on its budget plans tonight.

The Capital Metro board is considering a nearly $275 million budget for next fiscal year. The transit company says the budget won’t reduce service levels or raise fares. But some users are disappointed that there aren’t plans for increasing service levels.

The public hearing starts at 5 p.m. at Capital Metro headquarters on Fifth Street.

The board of directors plans to adopt the budget next week.

Keeping Foster Children in Their Communties

Texas lawmakers will get an update today on the state’s plans for foster care redesign.

The House Committee on Human Services is meeting this morning to learn more about the changes – including an emphasis on keeping foster care children in the same region instead of having them move to different areas when they change homes.

Susan McDowell is the Executive Director of LifeWorks, an organization that helps foster care children and their transition into adulthood.

“What we hope is that instead of receiving referrals from other regions, that we’re able to focus on youth in our region," McDowell says. "Youth who have grown up , who have extended family ties here, have siblings here.”

McDowell says it will probably be several years before all of the changes are in place.