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Kunkle Files To Run For Mayor & Midday Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – A former Dallas police chief with nearly 40 years of public service wants to be mayor. David Kunkle on Tuesday filed the paperwork to get on the May 14 ballot.

Mayor Tom Leppert last month announced he will not seek a second term leading the state's third largest city. The Republican has been mayor of Dallas since 2007.

Leppert's name has surfaced as a possible candidate to replace GOP U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is not running for re-election in 2012.

Kunkle retired as Dallas police chief last May. He's a former Arlington police chief and ex-deputy city manager in Arlington.

No textbook funds in Texas budget proposals

Texas budget troubles include no money for new textbooks.

Lawmakers are dealing with a projected $15 billion shortfall in the next two-year spending period. Neither legislative chamber's base budget includes money for updated textbooks.

Texas, with 4.6 million public school students, is facing tougher testing. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness focuses on college readiness. A dozen mandatory exams for high school students will be phased in over four years.

The Austin American-Statesman reported late Monday that current science courses include textbooks that can be up to 12 years old.

The State Board of Education last fall, anticipating a possible state budget crunch, asked the Legislature for supplemental science materials available online only.

Education Commissioner Robert Scott is seeking $520 million in updated instructional materials for the fall.

Republicans seek alternatives for Medicaid costs

A Republican lawmaker says she plans to file legislation seeking federal permission for Texas to bypass some Medicaid requirements.

In addition to a temporary waiver request, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst said she plans to pursue a health care agreement between the states and the federal government. She said she would offer details in the coming weeks.

Kolkhorst spoke alongside Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and members of a conservative think tank who were decrying the growing costs of Medicaid. The state-federal cost sharing program provides health care to needy Texans.

Arlene Wohlgemuth, executive director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said Medicaid was a "failed program and it is unsustainable." She proposed another state-driven program to replace Medicaid.

Dewhurst said he's supportive of any free-market efforts to improve Medicaid.