Teachers and administrators at West ISD are nervously optimistic about this week’s start of a new school year four months after a massive fertilizer plant explosion leveled much of the town and left West ISD a hollow shell.
The new school may only be a series of portable buildings, but the faculty are proud to be back.
Dr. Jan Hungate is one of the chief administrators for West ISD and said sections of town are still unrecognizable, partially because of the blast, and partially because of new growth.
State officials are reporting back to a group of House lawmakers about what Texas is doing to keep communities similar to West, Texas safe from another fertilizer plant explosion.
State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said his office has been conducting fire inspections of these types of facilities:
"We’ve done 62 inspections, thus far only five have said 'no,'" he said. "We still have about 140 to 153 facilities that we will finish up in October and then we will have this map created by November."
There is "barely getting by" and there is "living comfortably," but when you look at the numbers side by side, you see the wide gulf that separates the two and the possibilities that space represents.
At the bottom is the federal poverty threshold, which is $23,550 this year for a family of four. This number is based on a food cost standard set in 1962, coincidentally the same year the first Wal-Mart store opened in Rogers, Arkansas.
The Department of Justice has joined forces with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund in the fight against the GOP-drawn voting maps. It has also announced that it will challenge the state's voter ID law in a separate case.
We speak with University of the Incarnate Word Professor Gary Keith, who wrote the book "Rotten Boroughs, Political Thickets, and Legislative Donnybrooks: Redistricting in Texas," about the fight to redistrict in Texas.
Sparks flew on and off the stage in Tyler, Texas, during the debate about online lesson plan provider CSCOPE between State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff and lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, both Republicans.