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Perry Sworn In For Unprecedented Third Term & Midday Roundnup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Texas Gov. Rick Perry has taken the oath office for an unprecedented third full term.

Perry begins perhaps his most tumultuous stint as governor as the state faces a massive budget shortfall. Corporate donors and wealthy Texans are picking up the $2 million tab for the 2011 inaugural, but the pomp is being scaled to strike a more austere tone during tough economic times.

Perry portrayed his state as a model for the nation, saying historians will call it the "Texas Century."

State lawmakers looked on during the brief ceremony on a cloudy and chilly morning, where Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was also sworn in.

Teachers Await Funding Cuts For Schools

Every program is expected to be cut in the first draft of a state budget to be released today.

Most Texans surveyed say they do not want cuts in public education, but House Appropriation Chair Jim Pitts of Waxahachie says schools will also have to tighten their belts.

Richard Kouri with the Texas State Teachers Association says districts are just waiting to find out how much state funding they'll lose.

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Kouri: You've got conversations going on in most urban school districts in state. They're talking about shutting down campuses, and consolidating more kids into fewer buildings and trying to conserve resources that way. There's already a serious assault on the 22-1 class size limit.

Kouri's teachers association opposes relaxing the policy of having a maximum 22 students in elementary classes. He says larger classes make it difficult to teach.

House Education Chair Rob Eissler says staffing makes up more than 85 percent of the budget in most school district so reducing some school jobs is a likely part of the solution.

Texas State University System pay-raises draw scrutiny

Salaries of some Texas State University System leaders are drawing scrutiny after raises of more than 10 percent during tight budget times.

Experts say the state's revenue shortfall for the next two-year budget will be at least $15 billion.

The Austin American-Statesman reported, for its Tuesday editions, that Texas State System faculty and staffers did not get raises for the 2011 budget year.

Raises of nearly 23 percent in 2010 and 19 percent in 2011 went to Roland Smith, vice chancellor for finance, and brought his annual salary to nearly $279,000.

University spokesman Mike Wintemute says regents concluded that the system needed to raise pay to be competitive in retaining and recruiting executives.

A higher education watchdog, George Reamy, calls the raises "incredibly insensitive" amid the projected budget shortfall.

American, priceline sign direct ticket deal

American Airlines says it signed a deal with for the tickets site to use American's in-house technology to access its fares.

American, a unit of Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., wants ticket sellers to use its own technology in an effort to cut their distribution costs.

The airline is fighting with travel data provider Sabre and online travel agencies over how its tickets will be displayed and sold to customers. Orbitz and Expedia no longer list American flights, and Sabre buried American flights in the information it provides to travel agents, until the airline got a judge to temporarily block Sabre's move. said Tuesday it expects to begin issuing American Airlines tickets through a direct link in the near future. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Burnett Foundation to sell Matisse art 'The Backs'

The Burnett Foundation is selling four Henri Matisse sculptures known as "The Backs."

The foundation bought the artwork in 1982 and displayed the items in Fort Worth's Burnett Park. The art in 2000 was moved to the Kimbell Art Museum for safekeeping.

Executive director Neils Agather says the value of sculptures now far exceeds anything that could justify owning them. The foundation's main mission is to support activities in the community, not own art. Several casts of each were made. One sold in November for $48 million.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the Kimbell Art Museum, in gratitude for its oversight of The Backs, will receive two other works from the foundation, Henry Moore's "Figure in Shelter" and Fernand Leger's "La Fleur qui Marche." Matisse died in 1954.