The Lead
9:04 am
Tue February 26, 2013

The Lead: AISD Board Adds Bond to Ballot; Sequester’s Texas Impact

Good morning! After yesterday’s high winds – which had gusts above 50 miles an hour and lead to widespread power outages – today looks considerably calmer. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for a sunny and mild day with a high in the mid 60s.

Lead Story: Big items were on the agenda at last night’s Austin school board meeting, including a multi-million-dollar bond proposal and the question of what to do with a struggling Austin high school.

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen asked the board to put the bond on the ballot this May – and they obliged. The Austin American-Statesman noted the board approved an $892 million bond.  The district wants to build to keep up with population growth – ideally with less reliance on portable classrooms – and there are plans for improvements in the areas of safety and security, and for more money going to academics, arts and athletics.

The board also approved an outline of possible scenarios for the future of Eastside Memorial High School. Eastside has been struggling academically for years and is at risk of being closed.

Bracing for Sequester Impact: Texas could lose more than 900 teaching jobs if Washington lawmakers can’t strike a deal to avert the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester.

That would be just part of the fallout from Texas losing $334 million dollars in federal funding. “Most of these programs are labor intensive,” says Catherine Clark with the Texas Association of School Boards. “We’re funding people with them, and if there are cuts, the cuts will fall on people.”

A White House breakdown says in Texas, about 52,000 civilian employees from the Defense Department would be furloughed. And the state would lose about $3.5 million in funding for meals for senior citizens, in addition to other government cuts.

Change of venue for Nissan?Attorneys for accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan may request a change of venue on Wednesday.

A Fort Hood spokesperson says the military defense attorney assigned to Hasan may also request a change of the potential jurors at the pretrial hearing. Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than two dozen in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in 2009.