News Roundup: Over 100 Texas School Districts Qualify For A Hurricane Harvey Performance Waiver

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelAugust 2, 2018 1:33 pm

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

The Texas Education Agency says more than 100 school and charter districts are eligible for a Hurricane Harvey accountability waiver.

“So, we’re got 83 school districts that were eligible for the Hurricane Harvey provision and we had 26 charter districts and campus locations that were eligible for the Hurricane Harvey provision,” says Ronnie Burchett is a TEA spokesperson.

What exactly does it mean to qualify for one of these waivers?

Starting this month districts will receive a rating of A, B, C, D, or F.

But districts and open enrollment charter schools with the waiver will be evaluated differently. If they receive a grade lower than an A – the district will just be labeled “Not Rated.”

More than 1,100 individual school campuses also qualified for waivers. And they had to meet at least one of the following criteria.

“The campuses identified that 10 percent or more of their enrolled students were under the specific crisis codes for displaced or homeless students. If the campus reported 10 percent or more of its teachers experiencing homelessness due to Hurricane Harvey, and if they had closed for 10 or more instructional days because of the hurricane,” Burchett says.

If these campuses receive the label “Improvement Required,” they’ll be listed instead as “Not Rated” this year. And if a school district or campus applied for a waiver and didn’t get one they can appeal the decision.

School districts that did qualify for waivers include Houston, Beaumont, and Aransas Pass ISDs.

Researchers say the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone” is smaller than usual this year, but that’s probably just because weather conditions skewed an annual survey.

The dead zone is an area of water that doesn’t have enough oxygen for fish to live in. It’s caused by fertilizers running off from farms in the Midwest, and down into the Gulf.

Louisiana State University’s Nancy Rabalais says high winds and waves mixed up the oxygen levels in the waters around the time her crew was measuring the dead zone this year.

She’s been doing this for more than three decades.

“I’ve had two other summers that were like this one, and both of them were because of different wind directions, so it’s not surprising given that, but that’s not the norm,” Rabalais says.

She says the problem isn’t getting fixed, or even headed that direction, despite improvement goals set by the EPA.

A Corpus Christi pup is getting her 15 minutes of fame after celebrating her 15th birthday. Miranda Sanchez threw a quinceañera for her dog.

“So her name is Lupita Conchita. A family member tweeted out these pictures of the party with Lupita dressed up in a tiara and a pink dress,” Sanchez says.

That’s a report from the local CBS-affiliate in San Antonio.

The tweets from Miranda’s cousin, Megan, have gone viral on Twitter with more than 16-thousand retweets and 58-thousand favorites.

You can find more details on the party from