BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 27, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Central Austin homes unaffordable for area’s middle class (Community Impact) LINK TO STORY

In 2016, 10 years after she graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, then-Austin resident Jenny Sanzo and her husband, Evan, wanted to stop renting and buy their first home.
At an entry-level price point of $200,000, Sanzo, who works downtown as an accountant for the Office of the Attorney General, said their Realtor only found two options in Austin—each one run down and in need of extensive repairs.
The first-time homebuyers broadened their search to Pflugerville where they settled on 1,400-square-foot, two-story, three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home for $190,000. Sanzo said the home, which was less than four years old, was exactly what they were looking for with only one exception: her commute would be 45 minutes in each direction—a round trip she has now been making for two years...

Council approves compromise to redevelop and preserve Rosewood Courts (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council voted Thursday to permanently preserve eight buildings that are a part of Rosewood Courts, a public housing development in East Austin that was built 80 years ago for African-Americans with funds from the newly created United States Housing Authority.

Under the plan approved unanimously by Council, the exteriors of eight buildings along Chicon Street that are considered by the city’s Historic Preservation Office to be the most historically and architecturally significant will be maintained in their current state...

Project Connect’s new system map remains mode agnostic (Austin Montior) LINK TO STORY

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday officially debuted Project Connect’s latest draft system map, a plan that charts a regional network of potential high-capacity transit investments.

A series of multicolored lines trace major corridors, both established and developing, that converge on downtown from a variety of locations on the outskirts of the city...


Cruz to kick off his general election campaign next week in Houston club rally (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will make his 2018 general reelection campaign official next Monday night at the Redneck Country Club outside Houston. Cruz will host a rally at the popular roadhouse in Stafford with his closest supporters, many who have been with him since his first victory in 2012, according to a senior campaign official...

Feds approve Texas school accountability plan that includes parts of A-F rating system (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas got final approval Monday from the U.S. Department of Education for its school improvement and accountability plan, including a portion of its new system for grading schools.
Texas is in the process of finalizing its plan for evaluating public schools, as the federal government transitions to a new set of policies governing how schools should use federal funding to educate students. In 2015, the federal government signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which is intended to give states more freedom on setting goals for school districts, turning around low-performing schools and administering standardized tests... 

The Texas Legislature took away $118 million in pre-K funding. Now districts are scrambling (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Texas pre-kindergarten programs are just scraping by after losing millions of dollars last year — and without sustainable funding, they could see greater problems down the line, school officials say. During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers decided not to fund a $118 million high-quality pre-K grant program that was created in 2015 and championed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. The money had gone to 573 districts and charter schools that pledged to meet measures like setting a lower student-teacher ratio, avoiding Common Core curricula and reporting student progress to the state...


Trump and Western Allies Expel Scores of Russians in Sweeping Rebuke Over U.K. Poisoning (New York Times) LINK TO STORY

President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States on Monday, adding to a growing cascade of similar actions taken by western allies in response to Russia’s alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Poland, Italy, Denmark, France and Germany were among 14 European Union member nations announcing plans to expel Russians from their countries in solidarity with Britain, which previously expelled 23 Russian diplomats after the poisoning. Canada also said it would expel four.
The American expulsion order, announced by administration officials, includes 12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in New York, and also closes the Russian consulate in Seattle. The Russians and their families have seven days to leave the United States, according to officials...

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