Oil, Gas Boom Makes School Districts Rich but Uneasy

In Dilley ISD, southwest of San Antonio, business manager Elpidio Mata and Superintendent Nobert Rodriguez have seen property values balloon to about $275 million from $130 million two years ago.
In Dilley ISD, southwest of San Antonio, business manager Elpidio Mata and Superintendent Nobert Rodriguez have seen property values balloon to about $275 million from $130 million two years ago.

Booming oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale play has made property values soar — a sudden, surprising and sometimes stressful boon to some of the state's poorest school districts.

Fight Over Salamanders a Preview of Debates to Come

A federal proposal to list four Central Texas salamanders as endangered species has provoked a fierce debate about how humans affect the natural world. But the back-and-forth also foreshadows future fights likely to take place as more species come up for review.

Migrant Education Program Reaches Milestone at St. Ed's

Jazmine Hernandez (left) and her cousin Alfonso Lucio are in their freshman year at St. Edward's University in Austin. They are among 42 freshmen entering St. Edward’s this year through the federal College Assistance Migrant Program.
Jazmine Hernandez (left) and her cousin Alfonso Lucio are in their freshman year at St. Edward's University in Austin. They are among 42 freshmen entering St. Edward’s this year through the federal College Assistance Migrant Program.

The federal College Assistance Migrant Program started in 1972 at four colleges, two of which were in Texas. Of those four, only St. Edward's University in Austin has kept the program in continuous operation for 40 years.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 9/3/12

Ramshaw on Texas Democrats’ efforts to keep some political money from leaving the state, Root on lessons learned at the GOP convention, Aaronson profiles an insurance regulator some say is too cozy with insurers, Aguilar on the next round in a the voter ID fight, Batheja on the most congested roads in Texas, Galbraith finds a rising tide of property-rights cases, Grissom on the latest reform in juvenile justice, Hamilton on computers that teach algebra, Ryan and Galbraith map struggling public water systems and M. Smith on the state’s request to waive some federal education standards: The best of our best from Sept. 3 to 7, 2012.

$271 Million Paid Out in Bastrop Fire Claims

A For Sale sign in front of a burned-down house on Sept. 13, 2011, after the wildfires in Bastrop County.
A For Sale sign in front of a burned-down house on Sept. 13, 2011, after the wildfires in Bastrop County.

The top 10 homeowners insurers in Texas paid out more than $270 million in claims related to last year's Bastrop wildfires, according to a new report. But that is still much less than some other catastrophes, like Dallas' April hailstorms, which led to $2 billion in insurance losses.

In New College Algebra Approach, Computers Take Over

University of Texas at Arlington students work on college algebra in the university's new "math emporium" on Aug. 29, 2012.
University of Texas at Arlington students work on college algebra in the university's new "math emporium" on Aug. 29, 2012.

In an effort to address lagging student success in required algebra courses, the University of Texas at Arlington is taking an approach that is becoming more common throughout the country: letting computers do the teaching.