The Lead
9:00 am
Wed October 24, 2012

The Lead: Historic Tax Exemptions, SXSW Takes Vegas, Oil Boom Creates Jobs Across Texas

Good Morning. Once the clouds dissipate, Austin can expect warm weather with a high of 86, according to the National Weather Service. Here are some stories KUT News has been working on:

Three Austinites are suing the City of Austin, Travis County, the Austin Independent School District and Central Health for allowing tax breaks on what the plaintiffs refer to as “allegedly” historic properties.

AMLI Residential, builder of several high profile apartment communities in Austin, has announced it is going to build a mid-rise project in Mueller town center.

The popular Austin film, music and interactive festival is rolling out the SXSW V2 festival in Las Vegas in August. Rather than merely being an extension of the music and film events that take place in Austin, SXSW V2 is geared toward tech startups.

Texas Republicans have made limiting trimming the state budget an integral part of their mission over the last decade, but many worry the state has simply shifted the burden to local governments.   

Tonight, the documentary film examining the life of the former Texas governor, “Ann Richards’ Texas” will make its Austin premiere at the Paramount Theater. 

And here are more Austin and Texas stories from around the web:

Oil jobs expected to flow into S.A. (Express-News)

San Antonio and Corpus Christi can expect big job gains due to South Texas oil and gas production. A study by the University of Texas San Antonio projects that oil and gas production in Eagle Ford will bring 11,627 jobs to Bexar County by 2021. UTSA estimates that last year alone, 47,000 jobs were related to shale play in a 20 county area involved in or adjacent to drilling.

The oil and gas industry is creating a lot of indirect jobs related to safety, training and housing across the state.  Just under half of South Texas counties are expected to see more than double of jobs directly and indirectly related to the state oil and gas boom. 

More Funding Needed for Juvenile Mental Health (Texas Tribune)

Trauma victims in state juvenile facilities for girls aren’t receiving adequate mental health support, says a report released today by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. The Coalition interviewed girls housed in the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood, Texas. The girls, many of whom are victims of domestic abuse, reported that their time spent in juvenile facilities either did nothing to alleviate their trauma or made it worse.

The Texas Criminal Justice coalition is asking lawmakers to create and implement more programs and staff training to address trauma. They also eventually hope to have more juveniles housed in facilities in their own counties, allowing them to see their family more often.

Though the Texas Juvenile Justice Department has been critical of the report, the Department has also been working to improve mental health programs for girls in their facilities and has petitioned the legislature for more funding to do so. 

Texas public schools require more funding to serve Hispanics, expert testifies in finance trial (Morning News)

Former state demographer, Steve Murdock testified yesterday in the school finance trial that the rapidly increasing Hispanic enrollment in Texas public schools will require the state and school districts to spend more money. This is because 26.8 percent of Hispanics in Texas live below the poverty line in comparison to 9.5 percent of whites. Children from economically disadvantaged families often require extra instruction to get caught up with their middle-class peers, Murdock explained.

Murdock drew attention to a study that ranked Texas as 42nd nationwide on instructional spending. Texas is also has the largest percentage of residents without a high school diploma. He argued that if the state doesn’t work to raise the educational level of its Hispanic students, the result could be a large and growing population of Texas residents without a high school diploma.