December, 2010SAN ANTONIO BUSINESS NEWS
Jet charter coming to San Antonio - Private jet operator JetSuite is expanding its jet charter service into San Antonio and other Texas markets, the California-based firm said this week. After establishing its light jet charter service on the West Coast, JetSuite is bringing flights to Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, in addition to San Antonio, beginning Dec. 15. It charters four-passenger, Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft at rates comparable to tickets for premium airline seating, a news release said.
Hans Nadler named world’s top baker - For 48 years in San Antonio, a love affair has flourished among the owners of Nadler's Bakery and Delicatessen, their customers and the baking profession at large. The International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners has announced that Hans Nadler will receive its Baker of the Year Award for 2011 at the international conference in Venice, Italy. Hans Nadler, a former president of the international union, vice president of the South American bakers' confederation and an international director for the Retail Bakers of America, conducted bakery workshops to spread knowledge in Mexico and Central America and brought in foreign bakers to share their expertise with U.S. bakers. After managing bakeries at three San Antonio grocery stores, Hans Nadler subleased space at one of the city's first delis — Hungry Jack's at 7053 San Pedro Ave. — for his own bakery, Cream Puff Bakery. In 1963, the Nadlers bought out the operation and opened Nadler's Bakery and Delicatessen. Nadler's has tried different locations. The San Pedro store closed in 2000, about 17 years after the Nadlers opened at 1621 Babcock Road, where they still operate both the bakery and a wedding boutique. They also have a store at 17595 Blanco Road. http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/local/article/Hans-Nadler-named-world-s-top-baker-867284.php
S.A. could become a boomtown - Although San Antonio is eclipsed by Houston as an energy center, the Alamo City has enjoyed its share of oil booms — first before World War I and then again in the 1940s and 1950s, when major companies such as Chevron, Exxon and Texaco had offices here. Today, San Antonio could be poised for rebirth as a hub for companies drilling in the Eagle Ford shale of South Texas, one of the hottest oil and gas prospects in the country. Two companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange recently opened offices in San Antonio, and experts say the promise of the Eagle Ford shale could attract other companies, boosting the city's employment and income level. In August, Houston-based EOG Resources Inc. opened an office in San Antonio that now employs 120 who serve the company's exploration and production in the Eagle Ford shale. The company expects to employ about 250 when the office is fully staffed in 18 to 24 months, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Ivers said in an e-mailed comment. Chesapeake Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City recently opened an office in San Antonio and now has 50 employees, spokesman Silver Vasquez said. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/energy/article/S-A-could-become-a-boomtown-867260.php
The Cellular Connection opens in S.A. - The Cellular Connection — the cellular division of Moorehead Communications Inc. — is opening shop on the city's North and South sides. The Cellular Connection touts itself as the largest Verizon Wireless premium retailer in the Midwest. The stores are opening at 430 W. Loop 1604 North, Suite 105 and at 11745 Interstate 10 West, Suite 125. The company now has more than 20 stores throughout the state. Another store also just opened in Bulverde at 19851 Texas 46 West, Suite 108. Bulverde is just north of San Antonio. The Cellular Connection has more than 400 stores in 18 states.
Valero promotes executive - Valero Energy Corp. named Cheryl Thomas as its new senior vice president of information services. Thomas currently serves as vice president of retail systems and in her new position will assume responsibility over the energy giant's entire information system. Thomas is a 26-year veteran of Valero and its predecessor companies. Since 2000, she has managed Valero's information technology for its retail division.
Hispanic business owners are not fully utilizing financial tools, UTSA study shows - San Antonio ranks second in the nation among similar-sized cities in the percentage of local businesses that are Hispanic owned, according to a study by the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business. However, a lack of financial planning could impact the future of Hispanic businesses as well as the overall economy. Almost 85 percent said they understood that a financial plan would increase the success of their business, but only 38 percent have a documental financial strategy in place for their business. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2010/12/09/hispanic-business-owners-are-not-fully.html
TEXAS BUSINESS NEWS
Financial literacy lacking in Texas - A state-by-state financial capability survey found 52 percent of Texas residents are living paycheck to paycheck — only slightly better than the national average of 55 percent. About 18 percent of Texans said their households had spent more than their income over the past year. The survey was conducted by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, formed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in 2003. The survey found 61 percent of Texans have no rainy day fund to cover expenses for three months in an emergency, just one percentage point better than the national average. Sixty-six percent of Texans have not comparison-shopped for credit cards — ranking the state near the bottom of the nation. Overall, residents of New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire were found to be the most financially capable, while people in Kentucky and Montana were the least capable. http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Financial-literacy-lacking-in-Texas-869408.php
Texas ranks as one of nation's unhealthiest states - When it comes to the health of its residents, Texas has much room for improvement, according to the 2010 edition of America’s Health Rankings. The report is a joint effort between the American Public Health Association, Partnership for Prevention and the United Health Foundation — which funded the project. The 2010 report is based on data compiled for 2009. The study ranks each state on a series of measures — from the prevalence of smokers, to exercise habits, teen birth rates and reported cases of infectious disease. Each state also receives an overall ranking. How did Texas measure up? In the overall rankings, the Lone Star State was ranked No. 40. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2010/12/09/texas-ranks-as-one-of-nations.html
Texas agencies asked to tighten belt on budget expenditures - Texas agencies have been asked to cut about 2.5 percent more from their budgets to cover an expected $24 billion budget shortfall the next two fiscal years. Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, sent a letter Tuesday directing programs to identify savings from their original general revenue and general-revenue-dedicated appropriations for the rest of fiscal 2011. The move is expected to save up to $750 million. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2010/12/08/texas-agencies-asked-to-tighten-belt.html
Bank of America to pay Texas $3.5 million - Bank of America agreed Tuesday to pay $67 million to 20 states, including $3.5 million to Texas, to settle allegations by a group of state attorneys general that the lender engaged in a scheme to artificially inflate the prices of municipal derivatives. In 2007, Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) voluntarily reported its conduct to the U.S. Department of Justice in exchange for conditional leniency from the department’s Antitrust Division. The states were able to benefit from the information and evidence in the federal case in their own investigation. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2010/12/07/bank-of-america-to-pay-texas-35.html
Dell adds Royal Philips CEO to board - Computer maker Dell Inc. has named Royal Philips Electronics CEO Gerard Kleisterlee as its newest member of the board of directors. Kleisterlee joins the board immediately and will stand for election at Dell’s next shareholder meeting. He has been president and CEO of Royal Philips Electronics since 2001.The company also named board member Alex Mandl independent presiding director of the board, replacing Sam Nunn, who is scheduled to retire from the board in July 2011.
Texas among top hiring states in 1Q, report says - Businesses in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas plan to ramp up hiring in the first quarter next year, according to a Robert Half International professional employment report. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing firm found that 17 percent of executives in those states plan to add professional-level staff at the beginning of the year, while 4 percent think they will decrease their work force. Overall, 10 percent of executives surveyed plan to increase professional occupation jobs, while 5 percent anticipate declines. The resulting net 5 percent increase in expected hiring activity is down one point from the fourth-quarter 2010 forecast. Hiring activity will be the highest in the legal field, with 31 percent of respondents in that sector saying they plan to increase their work force. http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2010/12/06/texas-among-top-hiring-states-in-1q.html
Statesman's Vivio picked to lead Cox marketing company Valpak - Michael Vivio, who led the Austin American-Statesman through the uncertainty of a short-circuited sale and then presided over a flurry of expansion and innovation projects, is taking on a new challenge. In January, Vivio will move to Cox Target Media/Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America, as president. Both the Statesman and Valpak are part of Cox Media Group. Valpak is based in Largo, Fla. http://www.statesman.com/news/statesmans-vivio-picked-to-lead-cox-marketing-company-1102381.html
Tenet Healthcare rejects $7.3 billion acquisition deal - Tenet Healthcare Corp. said Thursday it has rejected a $7.3 billion deal to be acquired by Community Health Systems Inc. Combined, the company would be the second-largest hospital system in the nation, behind HCA Inc. It would have $22 billion in annual revenue and own or operate 176 hospitals in 30 states. But Tenet's directors rejected the offer a month ago. Chief executive Trevor Fetter called Community Health's offer "opportunistic" and a disservice to Tenet shareholders. Based in Dallas, Tenet Healthcare Corporation is one of the largest investor-owned health care delivery systems in the nation. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/121010dnbusTenet_.357fa13.html
Entrepreneur profile: Planner believes in El Paso, providing opportunities for others - Jorge Vielledent started his business with $500 his father gave him the day he graduated from UTEP in 1986. Twenty-four years later, the entrepreneur runs Synergy Planning Group, a financial planning company affiliated with New York-based AXA Advisors, and he has no plans to stop soon.
Occidental to acquire North Dakota, Texas oil and gas fields for $3.2 billion - Occidental Petroleum Corp., the nation's fourth-largest oil and gas exploration company, announced agreements for major acquisitions of more than $3.2 billion in crude and natural gas assets in North Dakota and South Texas. The Westwood-based company also announced a $2.5-billion sale of its operations in Argentina and said it would be increasing its dividends to shareholders. Occidental also said it will buy out Sempra Generation's 50% in its Elk Hills Power Plant in California, bringing its ownership to 100%, in what may signal a flurry of major oil company interest in building up domestic production. The South Texas site will be acquired from Shell, which has owned and operated the property for several years, for about $1.8 billion. The South Texas assets Occidental will purchase from Shell produce approximately 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas equivalent. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-occidental-20101210,0,5711857.story
NATIONAL BUSINESS NEWS
Americans' wealth grew 2.2 percent last quarter - WASHINGTON — After declining in the spring, Americans' wealth grew 2.2 percent in the July-September quarter as a rebound on Wall Street boosted stock portfolios. Household net worth rose to nearly $55 trillion, even though the value of real estate holdings sank 3.7 percent, the Federal Reserve said today. That's far above the bottom hit during the recession: $49 trillion in the first quarter of 2009. Yet net worth would have to rise an additional 20 percent to regain its pre-recession peak of $66 trillion. That's a reminder of Americans' vast loss of wealth over the past three years. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/biz/7331988.html
For Citigroup's CEO, time to get back to the basics - For the first time in more than two years, Citigroup is not partly owned by the government. U.S. taxpayers made out well when the Treasury Department sold off the last of its stake in the giant banking company Tuesday, netting a profit of $12 billion on the government's investment of $45 billion. CEO Vikram Pandit now has to work on pleasing his other shareholders. For Pandit, who has seen Citi through the two most tumultuous years in the company's history, it's time to get back to basics. Investors are keen to hear Pandit articulate a vision for one of the world's largest and most embattled banks after its missteps with subprime mortgages. The government's exit will help improve morale at the bank and reel in clients who had previously avoided Citi. Also, many large investors who stayed away because of the uncertainty over government ownership are also likely to look closely at Citi. Citi has focused much of its energies in the past two years cutting off parts of its businesses that don't fit with its main banking operation. Citi has sold its European credit card business, brokerage operations in Japan, a 50 percent stake in the brokerage Smith Barney and various insurance businesses for a total of $44 billion. Citi's banking business is global, with growth in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil outpacing the U.S. Its stock is up 40 percent this year, making it the best-performing stock among major U.S. banks. On Wednesday it gained 2 cents to close at $4.64. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/biz/7330748.html
Consumer credit jumps by most in more than 2 years - Consumer borrowing rose in October by the largest amount in more than two years, led by a big rise in the category that includes student loans. The Federal Reserve said today that consumer credit rose at an annual rate of $3.4 billion in October, the largest increase since a $5.7 billion gain in July 2008. Consumer credit was also up in September. But the strength in both September and October is being heavily influenced as the result of a recently enacted law that makes the government the primary lender to students. The increase of $3.4 billion in overall credit surpassed the flat reading that economists had expected. The gain translated into a 1.7 percent rise and followed a 0.6 percent increase in September. Those were the first back-to-back monthly gains since mid-2008. Consumer credit had fallen for 19 straight months before the rise in September. Americans have been reducing their borrowing since late 2008 as they have struggled to cope with a steep recession and high unemployment. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7328489.html
Kellogg CEO to retire at end of stressful 2010 - Kellogg Co. announced Monday that its CEO, David Mackay, 55, will retire at the end of the year and be replaced by the chief operating officer, John Bryant, 45. After a year of upheaval for Kellogg, which makes Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its and many other top-selling snacks and cereal, it's a big shift. But Bryant, a 12-year Kellogg employee, says he is dedicated to the company's current plan for recovery. Kellogg, the world's largest cereal maker, was on a strong growth trajectory until 2009 when it hit tough times because of the recession and rising ingredient costs. Things got worse in 2010. Cereal sales fell, competition increased and it conducted one of its largest food recalls. Kellogg said 2010 has been one of its most disappointing years. The company, based in Battle Creek, Mich., hopes to regain momentum in 2011 but recognized the difficulty of doing so in a struggling economy.
U.S. retail pump prices hit 26-month high - Americans are getting a sour holiday surprise at the gas pump, where prices are at the highest they've been in over two years. They may even hit a national average of $3 a gallon by January. Although supplies remain plentiful and gasoline demand has diminished since September, retail gas prices are rising because oil prices are at the highest levels since October 2008. The two-week advance paused today as benchmark oil for January delivery rose 19 cents to settle at $88.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. A stronger dollar kept prices in check for most of the session. Since oil and other commodities are priced in dollars, a stronger dollar makes them more expensive for buyers who use other currencies. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7326957.html
Consumer sentiment and trade point to firmer recovery - Consumer sentiment in December rose to its highest level since June and was at its third-highest since the start of 2008, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey. Government data showed U.S. exports in October rose a robust 3.2 percent while imports declined, which may bode well for fourth quarter economic growth. The consumer sentiment report was another sign consumers could be ready to spend this holiday season. "This is an indication of the favorable development we are seeing so far with the year-end holiday shopping season," said Pierre Ellis, senior global economist at Decision Economics in New York. "It adds to a growing number of economic indicators that are looking better-than-expected". http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B93D020101210
SAN ANTONIO EDUCATION NEWS
Less bang for buck at some schools - Some Bexar County school districts — such as San Antonio, Edgewood and South San Antonio — may not be making the most of their money, according to a new state report contrasting school district spending against academic performance. The study, released Wednesday by Comptroller Susan Combs, rates Texas districts on a scale of one to five relative to their “fiscal peers.” None of the county's 16 districts earned a five-star rating in the Financial Allocation Study for Texas, or FAST, report. The top local rating was four stars for Northside ISD, which demonstrated as much or more academic progress than 91 percent of all Texas school districts and posted an “average” spending index, according to the report. North East, Alamo Heights and Southside ISDs received 3.5 stars. San Antonio, Edgewood and South San Antonio ISDs garnered 1.5 stars. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Less-bang-for-buck-at-some-schools-868416.php
Alamo Bowl, UTSA want to help each other move the chains - Derrick Fox, president and CEO of the Alamo Bowl, which will stage its 19th game on Dec. 29, says his organization welcomes the addition of more collegiate football in San Antonio. “Obviously there are a certain number of dollars in the marketplace. So yes, they could dilute that,” says Fox about the Roadrunners, who are scheduled to open their inaugural season in the Alamodome on Sept. 3 against Northeastern State. “But we see this as a plus. We think this is tremendous.” Fox says getting another football tenant in the facility is a plus for the Alamo Bowl, the Alamodome and the city. While Fox applauds the work Alamodome officials have done in making improvements to the nearly 18-year-old facility, he says the addition of more football games will give the city and dome staff more game-day gridiron experience. “The building can become even more football efficient,” he says. “Everyone should benefit from that.” UTSA officials agree that the university and the bowl game can help each other. “We are still in the infancy stages of building our relationship with the Alamo Bowl,” says UTSA Athletic Director Lynn Hickey. “But this is a relationship we know will be nothing but beneficial to both parties. “With us bringing major college football to the city each fall and the Alamo Bowl providing San Antonio with one of the best bowl games each holiday season, this will be an opportunity for us to help each other grow the way the sport is viewed and supported in this city,” she adds.
Local architects honor new fellows - Local architects Thursday celebrated the induction of three of their own — including two women — into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. The fellows program is for architects who have been members of AIA for at least 10 years and have made contributions of national significance to the profession. Diane Berry Hays and Sue Ann Pemberton-Haugh are just the second and third women from San Antonio to be named fellows. Hays was a key player in getting the University of Texas at San Antonio's architecture school accredited. It's now among the fastest-growing architecture and interior design programs in the country, and Hays is a senior lecturer there. http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Local-architects-honor-new-fellows-872072.php
Trinity offers incentives to lure scientists into teaching field - Trinity University is offering tuition assistance to professionals who have been working in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields for at least three years and who want to teach. Tuition assistance is available to these individuals if they pursue a master of arts in teaching degree at the university. Successful applicants are eligible for a full cost-of-attendance scholarship, valued at about $49,000, plus an additional stipend of $12,000 a year for four years after graduating, for an additional $48,000. The program is made possible by the Robert Noyce Teaching Fellows program, under the National Science Foundation, and is being administered by Trinity’s education department. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2010/12/09/trinity-offers-incentives-to-lure.html
TEXAS EDUCATION NEWS
Texas comptroller releases education report - RICHARDSON, Texas — A Texas education report released Wednesday that rates school districts by looking at student progress and district spending gives only about 4 percent of schools the top designation.Texas Comptroller Susan Combs was asked to do the report by the 2009 Legislature, which wanted the office to develop a way to determine which schools were getting both academic success and cost effectiveness in the way they spent money. With the Legislature set to address a budget shortfall of more than $20 billion when it meets again in January, Combs noted that public school spending per student has increased by 63 percent in the last decade — outpacing both enrollment and inflation. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/7330726.html
Texas earns a D for charter schools - A national education group has handed Texas a near-failing grade of "D" when it comes to laws establishing charter schools. The Center for Education Reform, a Washington based non-profit and proponent of charter schools, said the state hasn't adapted its laws to fit their growing influence. Charter schools are tax-payer funded but free of many rules that govern traditional public schools. http://friscoblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/11/texas-earns-a-d-in-charter-sch.html
Texas Education Agency releases school districts' 2009-10 test score - The Texas Education Agency posted on its web site reports with detailed academic information about school districts and individual schools from the 2009-10 school year. They include information such as TAKS test passing rates, teacher experience, class sizes, school ratings, demographics and funding. Known as the AEIS reports, these can be useful tools for parents who want to research both school quality and population. The link: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/2010/district.srch.html
Higher Education commissioner says teachers must bridge gap - Raymund Paredes, the commissioner of Higher Education for Texas, told educators that teachers at all level of education - public and higher - must raise the standards for their students if Texas graduates are going to be successful in the highly competitive world. While speaking at Lamar University's John Gray Center Wednesday afternoon, Paredes explained that while Texas graduation rates and test scores are improving, they are not doing so fast enough. http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/education/article/Higher-Education-commissioner-says-teachers-must-869312.php
Texas universities grow staff by 28 percent in 10 years - While more than 8 percent of the employable work force in Texas is without a job, taxpayers are paying the salaries for more employees than the legislature allows at two dozen of the state's public institutions of higher education. The primary reasons given by the institutions for their employment booms -- surging enrollments requiring both teaching and administrative staff increases and contractual obligations tied to federal research and teaching grants -- present tough obstacles for a legislature trying to get what might be a $25 billion overall budget shortfall under control while promoting quality higher education statewide. For the past decade, hiring in higher education in Texas has been a vigorous growth industry, according to the latest study of state employees by the State Auditor. Institutions of higher learning employed the full-time equivalent of 157,727 employees in the 2010 fiscal year, 28 percent more than they did 10 years ago. That means state colleges and universities now employ more people than the rest of state government, where employment grew just 3.5 percent to 153,215 full-time positions, according to the report. http://www.texaswatchdog.org/2010/12/texas-universities-grow-staff-by-28-percent-in-10-years/1291643667.story
TPPF poll shows voters want cost control for higher education - The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a poll taken by Baselice and Associates showing the public wants more efficiency and less spending in higher education. “Texas voters want more value and higher quality teaching for the tax dollars they pay to support higher education,” said Justin Keener, TPPF vice president of policy and communications. “The results give lawmakers and university officials clear marching orders for how Texans want them to address budget shortfalls and rising tuition costs: put our students first and cut higher education overhead.” Specifically, 87 percent responded that universities' top priority should be educating students, with only 6 percent stating that conducting research should be the top priority. The poll shows strong support for making professors teach more. http://www.lonestarreport.org/Home/tabid/38/EntryId/899/Baselice-TPPF-poll-shows-voters-want-cost-control-for-higher-education.aspx
Cost of university research questioned - A majority responding to a recent survey by a conservative-leaning think tank believe state universities should confront steep budget cuts by trimming administrative costs and ceasing research that could drain resources from instruction. President Guy Bailey of Texas Tech, in the midst of aggressive research expansion as it aims at tier one designation, says the university needs to cut administrative costs, but defended the university’s research efforts, adding voters also recently approved funding to create more tier one schools. The survey, commissioned by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, asked 800 registered voters across the state last month to answer questions about how Texas universities should cut budgets next year when lawmakers face a $20-plus billion shortfall. http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2010-12-10/cost-university-research-questioned
Technology incubator to expand to other universities - The Austin Technology Incubator and the State Energy Conservation Office are seeking applicants for two new clean energy incubators at Texas universities. Recipients will receive $200,000 each to launch the incubators, which will help aid in the commercialization of clean energy technologies and foster the growth of companies in the sector in Texas. The Austin Technology Incubator's Clean Energy Incubator, based at the University of Texas, said that in the past two years, it has identified a pipeline of more than 200 clean energy companies and worked closely with 15 of them. Applications are due by Jan. 21. For information on how to apply, go to www.ati.utexas.edu/cei-rfp.
UNT System Board of Regents names Rawlins UNT president - The University of North Texas System Board of Regents on Dec 8 formally approved the selection of V. Lane Rawlins as the 15th president of its flagship institution, UNT. Rawlins was named the sole finalist for the position by the board on Nov. 12. Rawlins, the former president of Washington State University and the University of Memphis, has been serving a one-year appointment as UNT's president since May. In addition, the regents approved the hiring of Dan McCarney as UNT's 18th head football coach. McCarney, 57, has more than 30 years of college coaching experience, including 12 years as a head coach at Iowa State University. He comes to UNT after serving as the assistant head coach at the University of Florida, where he has been since 2008.
NATIONAL EDUCATION NEWS
Veteran money floods for-profit schools: U.S. senator - WASHINGTON - For-profit schools, already subject to a government crackdown over academic standards, got a nearly eight-fold increase in veterans' education funding over the last five years, according to a report issued on Thursday. Senator Tom Harkin, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said combined Veterans Affairs and Defense Department monies to 20 for-profit schools increased from $66.6 million in 2006 to a projected $521.2 million this year. "Given what we've already uncovered about the quality of education at many for-profit schools, I have serious concerns about whether the veterans who enroll at these schools are getting the education they deserve," Harkin said in statement accompanying the committee report. For-profit schools often offer graduate and undergraduate degrees but also train people wanting to become mechanics and medical technicians, among other trades. But some of the schools have come under fire for high loan default rates and low graduation rates. The sector is in a pitched battle with the U.S. Education Department, which is moving to tighten rules that could cost some schools vital access to federal funding. http://www.cnbc.com/id/40590395
News buys control of US education firm for US $360m - Billionaire Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. says it will acquire 90 per cent of Wireless Generation, a privately-held Brooklyn, US-based education technology company for around $360 million in cash. Wireless Generation was established in 2000 and provides mobile and web software, data systems and professional services that enable teachers to use data to assess student progress and deliver individualised instruction. The company says it serves more than 200,000 teachers and three million students across all 50 states of the US. It currently has 400 employees. http://www.smh.com.au/business/news-buys-control-of-us-education-firm-for-us360m-20101123-1853a.html
US Teens Lag Behind in Reading, Math, Science - Fifteen-year-olds in the United States rank 25th in math tests and in the middle of the pack in reading and science among 34 nations, leading the nation's top education official to predict they'll have difficulty competing in a global economic environment in the future. The results, compiled by the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development, which released its 2009 Program for International Student Assessment Tuesday, showed students from Shanghai, China scored highest in all academic areas measured. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told Bloomberg News in an interview the test results show that U.S. students would have to improve if they want to compete in a global economy. In response, President Obama is pushing for changes to the U.S. education system that include measure such as imposing nationalwide standards for cirriculum and rewarding teachers based on performance rather than seniority and credentials. http://www.newsroomamerica.com/story/82871/u.s._teens_lag_behind_in_reading,_math,_science.html
SAN ANTONIO GRANTS/GRANTMAKER NEWS
SpawGlass donates to Africa - SpawGlass Foundation, the nonprofit philanthropic arm of the locally based contractor, recently donated $104,000 to the Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment to help that organization in its fight against climate change effects, world poverty and food insecurity in Senegal, West Africa. In addition to sending aid to Africa, the foundation has also made scholarship endowments to various Texas universities since its formation last year.
Kronkosky Foundation awards $2.2 million in grants - The Kronkosky Charitable Foundation announced Thursday that it was giving $2.2 million in grants to 32 nonprofit programs in San Antonio and surrounding counties. The grants address a range of needs, from preventing child abuse and serving the disabled to helping the elderly and combating such problems as autism and drug abuse. Grants also went to public museums, arts programs, youth character-development programs and public parks. Palmer Moe, managing director of the foundation, said the grants represented the last distribution to come out of the roughly $10 million awarded this year. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Kronkosky-Foundation-awards-2-2-million-in-grants-872186.php
San Antonio nonprofits benefit from Fulbright & Jaworski contribution - The San Antonio office of Fulbright & Jaworski has donated a total of $30,000 to three area nonprofit organizations: Alamo Area Boy Scouts, SAMMinistries and San Antonio Children’s Shelter. The three nonprofits each received $10,000. Fulbright & Jaworski donated the money as part of the international law firm’s 30th anniversary.
TEXAS GRANTS/GRANTMAKER NEWS
Hogg Foundation gives $1.5M for bilingual program - The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has donated $1.5 million in scholarships for students wanting to provide bilingual mental health services. The funding will pay tuition and fees for new bilingual students entering graduate social work programs in Texas. In return, students agree to provide mental health services in Texas for a period equal to the extent of the scholarship. http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2010/12/07/hogg-foundation-gives-15m-for.html
SolarWinds employees give to food bank - Employees of SolarWinds Inc. donated more than $13,000 in cash and food to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. The company is underwriting the food bank's holiday food drive. The food bank distributed more than 23 million pounds of food in 2009.
RAISEup Texas receives $1 Million Grant from Dell Foundation - An estimated 15,000 local students will benefit from a one-time $1,000,000 grant to The Blueprint for Educational Change and RAISEup Texas partners from the Dell Foundation. The goal of RAISEup Texas is to build college and career readiness in all students through the transformation of teaching and learning in eight middle schools across the Central Texas region. This grant will help implement the Strategic Instruction Model/Content Literacy Continuum from the University of Kansas-Center for Research on Learning as the basis for whole-school reform in eight middle schools including; Burnet, Dobie & Kealing (Austin ISD), Hill Country (Eanes ISD), Simon (Hays CISD), Wiley (Leander ISD), Hernandez (Round Rock ISD) and Goodnight (San Marcos CISD). http://austin.dbusinessnews.com/shownews.php?articletitle=RAISEup%20Texas%20receives%20$1%20Million%20Grant%20from%20Dell%20Foundation&newsid=224052&type_news=latest&s=sbcn
Sul Ross awarded grant for tuition aid to Mexican national students - Sul Ross State University was recently awarded a $20,000 grant to assist qualifying Mexican national students with paying in-state tuition costs in 2011. The grant, awarded through the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME-Becas) at the University of California-Berkeley, will remain in effect through June 30, 2011. The award will provide $4,000 each to five qualified Mexican nationals for in-state tuition, $3,000 for spring semester and $1,000 for the first summer session. The scholarship recipients will also be required to successfully complete COMM 1101: IME-Becas leadership class during spring semester. http://www.alpineavalanche.com/news/article_5113477c-03b1-11e0-a63b-001cc4c002e0.html
UT Arlington planetarium to premiere NASA funded show - The Planetarium at The University of Texas at Arlington is using NASA funding to explore the mysteries of Earth’s closest and most important star in Magnificent Sun, an original feature film set to premier Thursday (Dec 9). The 45-minute planetarium show is the third in a series developed by Manfred Cuntz, a UT Arlington associate professor of physics, and the planetarium staff over the past three years. Funding for Magnificent Sun came from a $30,000 public outreach supplemental grant from NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Physics program. Cuntz’s research, conducted with solar physicist David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., focuses on the structure of the solar surface, particularly convective patterns. http://www.pegasusnews.com/news/2010/dec/07/ut-arlington-planetarium-premier-nasa-funded-show/
First Choice Power Awards Grants to Fund Energy-Related Projects for Texas Students - Students in 13 schools across the state will be learning about the important topic of energy in exciting ways next semester, thanks to grants provided by retail electric provider First Choice Power. The allocation of funds is a result of the company's Classroom Energy Innovation Grant(TM) program for which teachers submit proposals for special energy-related projects. http://www.hispanicprwire.com/News/in/18611/6/first-choice-power-awards-grants-to-fund-energy-related-projects-for-texas
HBU gets $1.5M for tech upgrade grant - Houston Baptist University said Thursday that it has received a $1.5 million grant from Houston Endowment Inc. to upgrade its technology and communications. The grant will allow the university to install a state-of-the-art computer network and communication system and will allow HBU to protect its existing information assets while expanding the capacity and reach of its technological infrastructure. The improvements were recommended in a civil engineering infrastructure study of the campus in 2009, which was also funded by the Houston Endowment. The Houston Endowment, founded by Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones in 1937, supports education, health services, art and culture in the Houston area. It has contributed more than $2.5 billion to the community.
NATIONAL GRANTS/GRANTMAKER NEWS
Facebook's Zuckerberg pledges to give away wealth - Another 17 of America's richest people, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, junk bond pioneer Michael Milken and AOL co-founder Steve Case, have promised to give away most of their wealth. At 26, Zuckerberg has put himself on the map not only as one of the world's youngest billionaires, but also as a prominent newcomer to the world of philanthropy. Earlier this year, he pledged $100 million over five years to the Newark, N.J. school system. Now, he's in the company of media titans Carl Icahn, 74, Barry Diller, 68, and others who have joined Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to commit the country's wealthiest people to step up their charitable donations. The group has signed up 57 people and their families since launching the campaign in June. The list also includes New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CNN founder Ted Turner and film director George Lucas. But Zuckerberg and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskowitz, 26, are the two youngest. http://ap.amarillonet.com/pstories/us/20101210/754015650.shtml
GE constructs US $1 million first training laboratory for Vietnamese students - GE inaugurated its first training laboratory at University of Technical Education (UTE) in Ho Chi Minh City on December 9 in response to a growing demand for the education of Vietnam students to the power industry. The training center contributes to GE’s efforts in improving education opportunities for Vietnamese students. In addition the long established program ‘Scholar-Leader Scholarship’ as well as Vietnam – US Education Task Force were sponsored by GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company. The new laboratory is a high-tech facility for students, which they will be trained on the most advanced and ‘up to date’ Electrical Distribution and Control Equipment. http://www.saigon-gpdaily.com.vn/Education/2010/12/87919/
Broad Foundation Awards $1 Million to Rocketship Education - The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has awarded $1 million to Rocketship Education, a leading network of innovative K-5 public charter schools, the foundation announced today. The investment will support the first national expansion of a “hybrid school” model – which combines classroom instruction with online learning – helping Rocketship develop the
infrastructure necessary to open 30 new hybrid charter schools nationwide by 2015. http://www.rsed.org/downloads/rocketship-broad_release_101203_final.pdf
NanoBio Awarded $6 Million by Gates Foundation - Ann Arbor-based NanoBio Corporation has announced a $6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of a safe and effective intranasal vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). The highly contagious viral disease, for which there is no approved vaccine, is a significant global health problem that results in 900,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States and Europe and is one of the most common causes of bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Indeed, nearly all children are infected with the virus at least once by the age of three. http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=316500007
Ford Foundation Awards $4.1 Million for Innovative Research on Youth Sexuality - The New York City-based Ford Foundation has announced grants totaling $4.1 million to six organizations to conduct research on the social, economic, and cultural factors that affect the sexual understanding and behavior of American youth. The organizations will use the funds to conduct rigorous social science research, support graduate students working to develop the next generation of expertise and knowledge, and make the findings accessible in ways that deepen public understanding of youth sexuality and inform public discussions, policies, and community-based programs. Recipients include the Oakland-based Public Health Institute and its Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development, which will use the grant to explore the sexual and reproductive health and rights of foster youth and parent-adolescent communication; the University of Illinois, which will use its grant to examine how adolescents think about harassment and bullying related to gender, sex, and sexuality; the Face Value Project, which, in collaboration with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and New York University, will examine public attitudes and stereotypes about LGBT sexuality; and the University of Michigan, which will use its grant to explore the sexual health outcomes of economically vulnerable youth in Detroit, including African-American girls, transgendered youth, and Latinos involved in gangs. http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=316500002
Researcher, UTSA Advancement Services
The University of Texas at San Antonio
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