News Roundup: After Spending $2 Million On School Safety, Santa Fe ISD Now Asking State For Help

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelOctober 11, 2018 1:15 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Santa Fe Independent School District officials say they will struggle to afford new security measures over time without state support.

The district has already dipped into $2 million of its own funds to increase safety, after a student fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018. It has also received grants from the federal government and the state, aimed at hiring new security and mental health personnel.

Santa Fe ISD Superintendent Leigh Wall testified before the Texas House Appropriations Committee this week. (You can find a recording of the entire hearing here.)

“We’ve always appreciated the importance of providing sufficient funding for all districts through the basic allotment funding for regular programs, though we also see a need to include additional funding for new safety and support measures with some flexibility in local control, as every district will have unique needs on their respective campuses,” Wall said.

Santa Fe ISD’s Board President Rusty Norman added the board is doing its best to move forward.

“And if Santa Fe ISD and the community of Santa Fe is the catalyst that makes change, in whatever, whether it’s the financing piece, the school safety piece, the mental health piece, whatever it is, we will be that catalyst,” Norman said.

The shooting at Santa Fe High School prompted Gov. Greg Abbott and state lawmakers to examine some ways to improve school safety leading up to the 2019 legislative session.

Dallas made history Wednesday as the first city in Texas to get state recognition for an LGBTQ neighborhood. Last night, the Texas Historical Commission unveiled an official marker in front of JR’s Bar and Grill in Oak Lawn.

Evilu Pridgeon is president of The Dallas Way, a group that works to preserve the city’s LGBTQ history and which requested the designation.

“The marker actually starts out talking that Dallas is not known before being politically progressive or especially welcoming to diverse communities, and yet it has become one of the few places that actually is welcoming and has a neighborhood for gays, lesbians, transgender, bisexual and queer,” Pridgeon says.

There are more than 16,000 state historical markers in Texas.

An environmental group is preparing to fight the Trump administration over a plan to waive dozens of laws in order to close gaps in the border wall in Texas. Texas Public Radio’s Bonnie Petrie has more.

“The Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to install 11 gates in the existing border wall in Cameron County, Texas, to close the gaps, and is expected to announce a similar project in Hidalgo County this week. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the gaps make the area a magnet for illegal cross-border activity. She has waived laws under the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts to help move the projects along. But Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity says shoring up the wall won’t stop illegal immigration.

‘There are a thousand ways around, above, under a border wall, but as ineffective as these walls are at stopping people, they have very real, devastating impacts on wildlife, communities … entire ecosystems.’

“His group has sued the Trump administration twice to stop new border-wall construction, and says they may do it again in these cases.”