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Top Stories for 12/19/11: AISD Charter Vote, More Holiday Travel

Photo by KUT News

AISD Board to Vote on IDEA Charter School

A few dozen people lined up early this morning for a chance to speak about a controversial proposal for in-district charter programs that the Austin school board will vote on tonight.

The measure would contract with IDEA Public Schools, a private charter company, to run two charter programs in East Austin schools.

The vote was delayed last week, after some AISD trustees raised questions about the contract. 

The district's teachers' union and some East Austin parents have objected to the proposal, saying the district hasn't taken enough to vet the contract and build community support.

Statewide Building Codes to Tighten

The Texas Tribune reports this morning on how building codes across Texas will get stricter in January, potentially cutting home energy use by 15 percent. 

However, the Trib points out, enforcement of building codes is problematic.

Even big cities struggle. In Austin, where codes have already gone beyond the upcoming statewide requirements, the number of annual building inspections fell from 226,000 three years ago to about 165,000 today — a casualty of budget tightening, according to Dan McNabb, the city’s building inspections division manager. Austin’s inspectors do not just address energy issues; they also spend time looking at safety matters like stairs and glass.

AAA Says More Texans Will Hit the Road This Week

AAA Texas expects 7.5 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more between Friday and the New Year. That's a 2.6 percent increase over last year.

A spokesperson for AAA says it's a good sign for the travel industry that so more people are planning to be on the road for the holidays.

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.