News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Roundup: Shrinking Texas School Payrolls Add To Unemployed


By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Economists say thousands of laid-off teachers are now showing up among Texas' growing number of unemployed.

Texas lost 900 local public education jobs in August, typically when back-to-school hiring resumes after the summer. Teachers groups and some economists blame the shrinking number of teachers on the $4 billion cut the Legislature made to education spending. Perry promised cuts in jobs outside the classroom would minimize teacher losses.

There's no authoritative tally of teacher layoffs so far, but one teachers union estimates as many as 49,000 fewer public school jobs by 2012.

The unemployment rate in Texas rose to 8.5 percent last month, compared with 9.1 percent nationally.

EPA has hearing on drilling, fracking regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing in Arlington on its proposed rules for limiting pollution at oil and gas wells.

The agency proposes standards to reduce pollution from oil and gas drilling operations and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." Similar hearings were held Tuesday in Pittsburgh and Wednesday in Denver.

The new rules would focus on having operators capture and sell natural gas that now escapes into the air.

EPA estimates its fully implemented proposal could reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds by about 540,000 tons, or 25 percent. It would reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by about 26 percent and reduce hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, by almost 30 percent, the EPA estimates.

Perry renews attack on Bernanke, monetary policy

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is renewing his criticism of the Federal Reserve Board, saying it must be more transparent.

The Texas governor repeats in a CNBC interview that if elected president, he wouldn't reappoint Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman.

Asked about that, Perry said, "We would put someone in who actually believes that the private sector is how you stimulate the economy - not by printing more money at the Fed."

Bernanke conceded Wednesday that the Fed can accomplish only so much with its control of interest rates. He told an audience in Cleveland, in his words, "Monetary policy can do a lot, but monetary policy is not a panacea."

Perry created controversy earlier by saying that if Bernanke came to Texas, "we would treat him pretty ugly."

In the same interview, Gov. Perry defended his policy of allowing tuition assistance for illegal immigrants at state colleges and universities, saying the lack of a cohesive federal immigration policy forced his hand.

Perry tells CNBC that "we need to have an immigration policy that's thoughtful."

The Republican says that when he embraced the concept of tuition assistance in 2001 for illegal immigrants, he believed "it was in the best interest of our state to have these young people educated than kicking them to the curb."

Perry also says that if he's elected president, he would solve the problem of drug trafficking, illegal immigration and violence along the southern border of the U.S. He declares that "we will stop the drug cartels and we will stop the illegal immigration."

Firefighters tend remains "Alamo" wildfire

Firefighters are keeping watch over the smoldering remains of a wildfire that burned part of the set for the 2003 film "The Alamo" and charred at least 150 acres near Austin.

Lake Travis Fire Chief Jim Linardos says the crews kept watch through Wednesday night and Thursday morning and may do so again Thursday night.

He says the vegetation that fueled the fire included highly resinous and hard-to-extinguish Ashe juniper and the terrain is rugged and hard to traverse.

Fire officials believe lightning struck and ignited the decaying film set Tuesday evening near Hamilton Pool Park, about 24 miles west of downtown Austin.