AUSTIN — Bullets from a gun battle in Juarez, Mexico, struck a building on the campus of the University of Texas-El Paso over the weekend of Aug. 21-22.
“For the second time in two months, bullets from a gun battle in the escalating drug war in Juarez have struck a building in El Paso, and I’d like to commend the swift action taken by local and state law enforcement in the area, Gov. Rick Perry commented on Aug. 23.
“We must ensure El Paso and other border communities remain a safe place for people to live, work and raise a family. It’s time for Washington to stop the rhetoric and immediately deploy a significant force of personnel and resources to the border to protect our homeland,” Perry said.
In June, bullets from a gun fight in Juarez struck El Paso City Hall and nine months earlier, a building and a vehicle on the University of Texas-Brownsville campus also were hit by stray bullets from Mexico.
School funding looms as issue
A movement to push school finance as high as possible on the agenda for the coming 82nd session of the Texas Legislature is emanating from Aledo, a city of 1,726 people about 18 miles west of downtown Fort Worth.
The Aledo Independent School District board of trustees on Aug. 26 announced a statewide initiative, “Make Education a Priority.”
Bobby J. Rigues, the school board’s vice president, said he is asking other school districts to adopt a resolution lending their support to the initiative to raise awareness of the growing financial crisis that public school districts are facing and encourage state legislators to work with local school board members and other stakeholders to find a solution.
Denison ISD, Goose Creek Consolidated ISD, Round Rock ISD and Silsbee ISD are on board, and state Sens. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, and Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, and state Reps. Phil King, R-Weatherford, and Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, have written letters of support regarding the initiative.
Rigues said 2006 legislation that cut property taxes by one third fell short by not establishing a reliable new stream of revenue and now “more than half of the school districts in Texas are being forced to use dollars from their fund balances for daily operating expenditures — a practice that is neither financially sound nor sustainable over the long-term. In addition, teaching positions are being eliminated, salaries reduced and local educational programs removed to meet reduced budgets.” In 2007 and 2009, legislators were unsuccessful in addressing school funding shortcomings, Rigues added.
And today, with a budget deficit approaching $20 billion, legislative leadership must work with the education community to find a creative solution that does not incur significant cost. “Until education becomes a real priority, serious solutions to school finance will never be found,” Rigues said.
AGs call on Craigslist to stop
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and 16 other state attorneys general signed a letter to Craigslist, the worldwide classified advertising website, to stop publishing advertisements that solicit prostitution.
“As presiding officer of the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force,” Abbott said, “I am very concerned that Craigslist refuses to take meaningful measures to prohibit the solicitation of prostitution on its website. Too often, prostitution cases involve children and other victims who are coerced or forced into prostitution by oppressive human traffickers.
Donor list reaches million mark
One million Texans have now registered with the Glenda P. Dawson Donate Life – Texas Registry, the state’s organ and tissue registry as potential donors, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced Aug. 23.
Texas residents can register at their local DPS office when applying for or renewing a driver’s license or identification card, or they can enroll in the registry online at www.donatelifetexas.org or www.donevidatexas.org. Registrants receive a donor card.
Call made for algebra videos
Gov. Perry and the Texas Education Agency are asking Texans to submit short videos or audio files to support teachers, students, and families in preparing students for success in algebra. Videos may be submitted to iTunes@tea.state.tx.us.
Currently, instructional videos in algebra and many other subjects may be viewed free of charge at the non-profit website, www.khanacademy.org.