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Roundup: House Takes Up School Funding Measure

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The Texas House is debating legislation that will cut $4 billion from Texas public schools to deal with a multi-billion dollar revenue shortfall.

A Democratic filibuster killed the school finance measure on the last day of the regular session. Gov. Rick Perry called lawmakers back immediately to deal with the legislation.

The measure allows the state to legally pay schools less by changing distribution formulas. It spreads the $4 billion cut over two years with 6 percent across-the-board cuts in 2012 and a $2 billion reduction in targeted funding levels in 2013.

The Senate approved the legislation late last week over objections from Democrats demanding to spend more money from the Rainy Day Fund.

Rural House Republicans aren't happy with the proposal, arguing the cuts disproportionately affect their school districts.

Teen arrested in stabbing death of DeSoto peer

Police have arrested a 19-year-old Dallas-area man in connection with the slaying of another teen whose body was found in a residential alley the day before. DeSoto police said that Kay Watts was being held in the city jail on a capital murder charge Thursday.

It was not immediately known whether Watts had an attorney.

Capt. Ron Smith says detectives recovered evidence that tied him to the death of 17-year-old JaCorey Lavell Wilkerson of DeSoto. Smith said the teens knew each other but he wasn't sure how close they were.

Smith said Wilkerson was stabbed 11 times. Robbery was the motive. The Texas Rangers assisted in the investigation.

DeSoto is 10 miles south of Dallas.

Head of soccer club accused of stealing $800,000

The former president of one of Dallas' largest youth soccer clubs has been indicted on charges that he stole more than $800,000 from the nonprofit organization.

G. David Ringer was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury on Wednesday. The indictment accuses the 58-year-old attorney of issuing checks from club funds to his law firm and taking out loans to cover the deficit.

Ringer served as president and chairman of the club from 1996 until early last year, when club officials began questioning his handling of its finances.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Solar has about 1,000 players competing on 65 boys and girls teams.

Crews protect resort town from massive Ariz. fire

Fire crews working feverishly overnight managed to protect most of a mountain resort town threatened by a massive wildfire in eastern Arizona, but some structures were lost.

Fire information officer Suzanne Flory says overnight operations went well, particularly in the community of Greer, where the blaze had made a significant run Wednesday.

She says firefighters were able to protect the main part of town, but some structures on the town's east side were destroyed. Fire spokesman Jim Whittington says at least a half-dozen homes or cabins were lost.

On Thursday, crews remain in the picturesque valley protecting hundreds of homes, cabins and lodges.

An air tanker and helicopters will be joined by a DC-10 that can lay a line of retardant 100 yards wide and a mile and a half long to beef up lines around the resort community.

Texas wrecker rear-ends car, kills 9-year-old girl

A 9-year-old girl was killed and her mother and sister injured after a wrecker slammed into the back of their car on a suburban Dallas road.

Frisco Police Sgt. Adam J. Henderson said the Wednesday night accident occurred on the southbound access road of State Highway 121 in Frisco.

Investigators say the car had mechanical problems and was either slowing or stopped in the center lane when it was rear-ended. The impact crushed the back of the car where the 9-year-old was seated. She died at the scene.

Her 32-year-old mother and 12-year-old sister were taken to Medical Center of Plano with non-life threatening injuries.

The 49-year-old Frisco tow truck driver was not injured. Police will continue to investigate to determine whether any charges will be filed against him.