Texas Education Cuts Mean 32,000 Job Losses | KERA News

Texas Education Cuts Mean 32,000 Job Losses

A school advocacy group says an estimated 32,000 school employees across Texas - including 12,000 teachers - have lost their jobs due to $5.4 billion in education cuts.

And more are likely on the way, it says.

The Texas State Teachers Association wants Gov. Rick Perry to call a special legislative session to tap the state's $7.3 billion rainy day fund.

It said Wednesday that lawmakers could draw $2.5 billion from the fund just for education next year.

Perry ran unsuccessfully for president and has kept a low profile since returning to Texas. The Legislature isn't scheduled to reconvene until 2013.

The association gave job-loss estimates that came from Austin-based school finance consulting firm Moak, Casey & Associates.

Official state figures won't be ready until March.

4 dogs euthanized after North Texas toddler mauled

Authorities say four dogs blamed for mauling a North Texas toddler have been euthanized.

Fort Worth Animal Control officials said Tuesday that the dogs will be tested for rabies over the attack on the 18-month-old boy. Cook Children's Medical Center on Wednesday declined to release details on the boy's condition.

Tarrant County officials believe the boy was attacked Monday, by dogs kept by his grandparents at their home near Lakeside, when he crawled through a doggie door and into the yard.

The grandmother, shortly after the mauling, was arrested during a scuffle with a neighbor who had complained about the dogs. Lena Grace Brown has been charged with assault and bodily injury. She's free on $2,500 bond.

Congressional challenger raises surprise total

A young lawyer challenging a Democratic party stalwart for a south Dallas congressional seat posted surprisingly high fundraising totals last year.

Taj Clayton is challenging U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who is serving her 10th term in Congress. In the final 10 weeks of 2011, Clayton reported raising more than $216,000. Johnson raised about $95,000 in the same filing period but has $228,000 in the bank.

State Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway is also running to replace Johnson. She has raised almost $16,000 but has a little less than $500 in the bank.

It's unusual for a novice challenger to raise more money than an incumbent. Johnson has come under criticism for her business dealings and for giving scholarships to family members, which she repaid.

Republican senate candidates debate in Austin

The top candidates for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will debate in Austin at the Texas Association of Business annual conference.

The group invited Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former ESPN football analyst Craig James to participate. The forum will be moderated by the association's president and CEO, Bill Hammond.

The four men are the top candidates among 10 people running to replace Hutchison, who is retiring at the end this year.

Most of the competition between the candidates has focused on their level of conservatism and experience. The campaign is lasting longer than planned because of a dispute over Texas' political maps, and a date has not been confirmed for the primary.

Southwest, AirTran flight attendants a step closer

Flight attendants for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways have voted to ratify an agreement allowing the combining their seniority lists.

The agreement, announced Tuesday, is a step toward merging the two labor groups.

Southwest Airlines Co. bought AirTran last year for $1.4 billion and plans to eventually extinguish the AirTran brand.

Southwest flight attendants are represented by the Transport Workers Union, while their AirTran counterparts are members of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Among AirTran attendants, 91 percent approved the deal, which will likely result in higher wages for them. At Southwest, 64 percent favored it.

Seniority determines assignments and pay.