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Top Morning Stories February 15, 2011

The rotating power outages earlier this month will be under the microscope at the Capitol today.
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.
The rotating power outages earlier this month will be under the microscope at the Capitol today.

Texas Senators Investigating Power Outages

Two Senate committees will hear testimony this morning about the state’s power emergency earlier this month that led to rotating power outages. Senators are hoping to get to the bottom of why so many power plants went offline on February 2 and why the state's grid operator was slow to communicate about it.  KUT's Matt Largey has more in his story below.

AISD's Board Takes Up Job Cuts

Last night Austin School Board members discussed a plan to cut more than 1,000 jobs.  The Board doesn't vote on the job cuts until later this month.  Trustees discussed declaring a financial emergency, which would clear the way for those job cuts.  From the Austin American-Statesman:

The board won't vote on the personnel cuts or financial exigency until Feb. 28 . But Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley-Abram told trustees Monday that the proposed cuts would increase class sizes at elementary schools, require secondary teachers to teach 174 students a day, cut athletic spending by 5 percent and, pending state approval, mandate two-day unpaid furloughs for district workers.   

Board members also looked at a 10 year facilities master plan.  It would close nine schools.  Those schools were not named.

Round Rock ISD Holding Public Forum on Budget

Round Rock ISD is holding its first community meeting on its upcoming budget at 6:30 p.m. in the Round Rock High School cafeteria.  School officials say the district needs to cut its budget by at least 5 percent for next school year because of state funding cuts.  That amounts to about $17 million in cuts.  RRISD says it "must reduce payroll and operating costs across the board."  Read more about the district's budget here.

Former President Jimmy Carter Speaking in Austin Today

Former President Jimmy Carter will speak at 5:30 p.m. at the LBJ Auditorium. Carter will be discussing his book, White House Diary, his years as president and current issues facing the U.S.  Tickets are no longer available but there will be a "standby" line for any empty seats that become available.