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Possible Homeless Shelter Site Could Move Forward And 5 Other Things Happening This Week

A state-sanctioned encampment for people experiencing homelessness is located in the Montopolis neighborhood near US 183.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
A state-sanctioned encampment for people experiencing homelessness is located in the Montopolis neighborhood near US 183.

From Austin Independent School District's superintendent contract to a possible homeless shelter, here's a look at what our KUT reporters are looking out for this week. 

In The News This Week

Austin ISD Board To Discuss Superintendent Contract After Paul Cruz Announces Departure

Outgoing AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz gives a Hook'em Horns salute as he speaks during a press conference about his resignation. Cruz is taking a position at UT Austin.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
Outgoing AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz gives a Hook'em Horns salute as he speaks during a press conference about his resignation. Cruz is taking a position at UT Austin.

Paul Cruz, superintendent of the Austin Independent School District, announced last week he would be leaving the district to take on a new role at UT Austin. His letter announcing his resignation did not say when he would be leaving the district. Cruz is under contract to serve as superintendent until December 2021. AISD’s Board of Trustees could force him to honor the contract, alter the contract or dismiss him, among other options. 

RELATED | As Superintendent Paul Cruz Prepares To Leave Austin ISD, His School Closure Plan Remains Unresolved 

During a meeting Monday, AISD’s Board of Trustees is expected to discuss Cruz’s contract and a transition plan for a new superintendent. They’ve set aside time to talk in closed session — meaning not in public — so it’s unknown if they’ll make any public announcements on the topic. 

Video Sharing System Could Improve Regional Response To Traffic Incidents

On Wednesday, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board will decide whether to move forward with a new video sharing system. It would allow the CTRMA to share video streams with TxDOT, the City of Austin and Austin Police among other partners. The hope is that it would improve regional response to serious traffic incidents. 

Texas Transportation Commission To Consider Lease Agreement For Possible Homeless Shelter Site

Edward R. Ybarra (left) and Rafael Salazar (right), who are currently experiencing homelessness, prepare food over a fire at a state-sanctioned encampment in the Montopolis neighborhood for people experiencing homelessness.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
Edward R. Ybarra (left) and Rafael Salazar (right), who are currently experiencing homelessness, prepare food over a fire at a state-sanctioned encampment in the Montopolis neighborhood for people experiencing homelessness.

On Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission is set to consider a lease agreement between TxDOT and ATX Helps, a nonprofit run by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Austin Alliance. ATX Helps plans to build a permanent shelter with up to 300 beds on state-owned land at U.S. Highway 183 and Montopolis Drive. 

Gov. Greg Abbott directed that Austinites experiencing homelessness be allowed to camp on the five acre site, which was a TxDOT maintenance yard, until a regular shelter can be built. Those currently at the camp worry that a new shelter would mean a loss of autonomy

RELATED | Residents of Governor's Homeless Camp Fear Losing Autonomy If A Permanent Shelter Is Built

Early Voting Ends Friday

Signs for candidates running in local primary elections are posted at the corner of Manor Road and Airport Boulevard.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
Signs for candidates running in local primary elections are posted at the corner of Manor Road and Airport Boulevard.

Early voting for the 2020 primary elections started Feb. 18 and lasts until Friday. Election Day is March 3. To find out what's on the ballot other than the party nominations for president, check out our voter guide. Not sure where to vote or what to bring? Here's what you need to know. 

Events Happening This Week

Views And Brews

On Tuesday, KUT’s Rebecca McInroy hosts a Views and Brews event at The Cactus Cafe. This week’s topic is Mental Health: Self-Medicating in a Broken System. Austin-based musician Thor Harris and Doug Smith, a senior policy analyst and mental health advocate, join McInroy to talk about trying to remain healthy while attempting to help others. The free event starts at 6 p.m.

The Importance Of Black Media

KUT’s John L. Hanson Jr., host and producer of In Black America, will discuss black media and the importance of it in social movements and pop culture on Friday. The Policy Alliance for Communities of Color at UT Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs is hosting the discussion. It starts at 11:30 a.m. at the LBJ School.

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