Davis Presses Attack on Abbott Over Chemical Plant Ruling

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, addressed supporters on Saturday, July 13, 2014, in East Austin as she concluded her "Texans Deserve to Know" tour.

Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, wrapped up her five-day “Texans Deserve to Know” tour on Saturday, calling Republican opponent Greg Abbott an “insider working for other insiders.” The Abbott campaign said Davis was misleading Texans.

The Playlist: Quittin' Time

University of Texas President Bill Powers speaks to Provost Gregory Fenves during a board of regents meeting on July 10th, 2014
University of Texas President Bill Powers speaks to Provost Gregory Fenves during a board of regents meeting on July 10th, 2014

It was an intense week at the University of Texas System, culminating with the resignation of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers. To mark the occasion, our playlist starts with Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Quittin' Time."

State to San Antonio: No, You Can't Own Your Wastewater

San Antonio Bay is home to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, where endangered whooping cranes live. The water that flows into the bay from the San Antonio River is vital to the species' survival.
San Antonio Bay is home to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, where endangered whooping cranes live. The water that flows into the bay from the San Antonio River is vital to the species' survival.

Several months after San Antonio Water System's bold move to secure ownership of its treated sewer water even after it gets released back into a public waterway, state regulators are saying they doubt that's possible. 

 

Sheep Power: Texas Solar Farm Employs Lamb Landscapers

Sheep wander between rows of solar panels at at a 4.4-megawatt solar farm in northeast San Antonio. OCI Solar Power, the farm's operator, uses the sheep – and their voracious appetites – to maintain shrubbery on the 45-acre site.
Sheep wander between rows of solar panels at at a 4.4-megawatt solar farm in northeast San Antonio. OCI Solar Power, the farm's operator, uses the sheep – and their voracious appetites – to maintain shrubbery on the 45-acre site.

Operators of a 45-acre San Antonio solar farm have turned to sheep – not lawnmowers – as a low-cost, low-effort way to control overgrown shrubbery that might otherwise impede the company’s technicians. 

As Teacher Pay Lags, Attrition and Class Size Grow

A study released by Sam Houston State University in October 2013 that was commissioned by the Texas State Teachers Association showed a marked increase in teachers reporting that they had taken second jobs during the school year to make ends meet.
A study released by Sam Houston State University in October 2013 that was commissioned by the Texas State Teachers Association showed a marked increase in teachers reporting that they had taken second jobs during the school year to make ends meet.

Stacked up against other states, Texas public schools could win the best-bang-for-your-buck competition. The state spends less than most others, and its students perform better than many. But the commitment to fiscal restraint has come with its own burdens for teachers.

Analysis: On the Democratic Ticket, Watch the Co-pilot

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte D-San Antonio, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, hugs one of her grandsons during a campaign event on June 4, 2014, in Austin.
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte D-San Antonio, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, hugs one of her grandsons during a campaign event on June 4, 2014, in Austin.

Democrats in Texas are busy talking up their ticket, and most of that conversation has been about Wendy Davis, their nominee for governor. But Leticia Van de Putte, running for lieutenant governor, looks like the crowd favorite.

The Brief: Abbott Puts $50M Price Tag on Surge of Child Migrants

Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott, speaks to crowd at Lavazza Coffee House on Congress Avenue, a few blocks away from Paramount Theater where President Obama was scheduled to speak later in the day. July 10th, 2014
Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott, speaks to crowd at Lavazza Coffee House on Congress Avenue, a few blocks away from Paramount Theater where President Obama was scheduled to speak later in the day. July 10th, 2014

Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has put a price tag on the cost to Texas taxpayers of the surge of unaccompanied minors across the border.

Foster: UT Community Must "Re-establish Some Decorum"

UT System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa and Board of Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster as UT Regents study tuition increases on May 14, 2014.
UT System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa and Board of Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster as UT Regents study tuition increases on May 14, 2014.

A fraught week culminated in a relatively collegial meeting of the UT System Board of Regents on Thursday, after which Chairman Paul Foster said it was time for the board and UT community to "re-establish some decorum."

 

Obama Visit Becomes Talking Point in Governor's Race

Attorney General Greg Abbott, the GOP nominee for governor, spoke at the Lavazza coffee shop, a few blocks away from where President Obama spoke later in the day on July 10, 2014.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, the GOP nominee for governor, spoke at the Lavazza coffee shop, a few blocks away from where President Obama spoke later in the day on July 10, 2014.

President Obama’s visit to Texas became fodder in the governor’s race Thursday, with Democrat Wendy Davis suggesting he should visit the U.S-Mexico border in person and Republican Greg Abbott challenging him to adopt the “Texas model” in Washington.

 

Mayor Confident City Will Be Reimbursed for Relief Costs

On June 24, 2014, volunteers gather at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where the Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities have a makeshift shelter to help handle the surge of immigrants who have crossed into the U.S. in recent weeks.
On June 24, 2014, volunteers gather at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where the Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities have a makeshift shelter to help handle the surge of immigrants who have crossed into the U.S. in recent weeks.

Humanitarian relief efforts in McAllen will cost local governments more than $1.1 million by the end of the year, officials said on Thursday. Law enforcement officials also praised the state security surge that began last month.  

Academic Gains Slowing; No Consensus on Why

Texas' improvement on national academic measures has begun to stall in recent years. In 2013, for the first time in 15 years, math and reading scores went down or stayed the same for black and Hispanic students in both fourth and eighth grades. The scores also went down for Anglo students in some areas.
Texas' improvement on national academic measures has begun to stall in recent years. In 2013, for the first time in 15 years, math and reading scores went down or stayed the same for black and Hispanic students in both fourth and eighth grades. The scores also went down for Anglo students in some areas.

Over the last decade, Texas students have made steady progress on a number of academic measures. But in recent years, that improvement has begun to stall.