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AM Update: STAAR Retesting Costs, 'Stand Your Ground' Guilty Verdict, AISD Police Dog Retires

by KUT News; Photo courtesy Harris County Sheriff's Department; Photo courtesy AISD

STAAR Retesting Costing School Districts

Hundreds of Texas students will spend time in summer classes, preparing to retake their STAAR exams.

The STAAR exams replaced the TAKS tests this year. As students and districts adjust to the new tests, performance standards and requirements are being phased in. The results of this year’s scores did not affect students’ final grades, but students still have to retake tests on subjects they didn’t achieve a minimum score in.

Our reporting partner The Texas Tribune writes that the summer classes and retakes are leaving schools with hefty bills, as districts have to hire teachers to conduct these classes.

The Texas Education Agency does not know the exact number of students eligible to retake the exam; according to score summaries from the agency, there were about 430,000 failed exams, but the same student could have failed more than one.

Houston Man Found Guilty of Murder in 'Stand Your Ground' Case

Today a jury will return consider the sentence for a Houston man they found guilty of murder in a case involving the “stand your ground” law – the same law at the center of the controversy surrounding the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

The Houston Chronicle reports jurors ruled Raul Rodriguez is guilty in the May 2010 shooting death of Kelly Danaher. Rodriguez videotaped the event and can be heard saying he is afraid the group will hurt him. Rodriguez’s defense lawyers say Rodriguez acted in self-defense but jurors decided Rodriguez provoked Danaher, causing him and others to charge at him.

AISD Police Pooch Hangs Up His Leash

The Austin ISD Police Department’s first K-9 officer is retiring.

“Buddy” joined the force in 2001 and AISD police say he’s helped keep the district safe and drug free. He’s has assisted several other local police departments and is credited with more than 1,000 narcotic-related finds that have led to arrests.

Buddy is also an awarding-winning dog. AISD says he’s a two-time Police Olympic medalist in narcotic detection.

AISD Police plan to honor Buddy for his service in a ceremony at AISD Headquarters tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Buddy will spend his retirement with his partner, AISD Police Detective Travis Pickford.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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