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Wednesday, June 01, 2011 From the Coeur d’Alene Press Falling stock delays new UI campus District meeting focuses on funds From the Idaho Spokesman-Review Sandpoint UI branch campus on hold From the Moscow Daily News (password required) Lincoln Middle School students excel at SATs, stretch their minds OUR VIEW: Hard sell works for the Palouse School District (Editorial) From the Lewiston Tribune (password required) County fills vacancy on Culdesac School Board Two incumbents face challengers for Colfax School Board From the Idaho-Press Tribune, Nampa Students react to Boise State professor‟s firing EDUCATION: Efforts to strengthen legislation have run into opposition Report: College prices up again this year Party affiliation can help Luna get things done (Editorial) From the Idaho Statesman Boise trustees approve Latin, Greek program Tuscany subdivision may get a larger school Boise advisory group helps parents have a say From the Twin Falls Times-News Mothers Against Meth director motivates local students Do ask, do tell: Lifting the curtain on teacher sex abuse (Editorial) From the Idaho State Journal Research funds ok‟d Pocatello reminds Pakistani of home Utah shouldn‟t give tax money to private schools (Editorial) From the Idaho Falls Post Register (password required) District asking for $11.5 million FROM THE COEUR D‟ALENE PRESS Falling stock delays new UI campus Posted: Monday, Oct 22, 2007 - 09:56:35 pm PDT By MARLISA KEYES Hagadone News Network SANDPOINT -- The Wild Rose Foundation's plans to build a University of Idaho campus in Sandpoint are being held indefinitely following a steady decline in Coldwater Creek's stock price. "We just need to wait for the stars to line up for that all to happen," said Wild Rose Foundation founder Dennis Pence on Monday, calling the setback "personally disappointing." "I look forward to having that happen one day," he said. Pence signed an agreement with UI in February for plans to purchase the 77-acre Sandpoint Research and Extension Center, move the existing research facility to an 18-acre off-site location he owns, construct several campus buildings and gift everything back to the university. Financing for those plans was tied to Coldwater Creek stock. Campus construction was expected to begin next spring, and classes were projected to begin in fall 2009. "We're disappointed by this delay," said Tim White, UI president. "This is definitely a pause," in what has been a generous proposal by Pence, he said. However, the foundation's request to delay the project is understandable given Coldwater's current reversal of fortune, he added. White remains optimistic that the project will go forward. "The dream remains alive and well," he said. It is unknown how much Coldwater Creek's stock will have to increase before the project can restart, said Wild Rose Foundation counsel Ford Elsaesser. "I know there's a lot of commitment on all sides to continue when it becomes feasible again," he said. Coldwater stock has declined for the past 50 weeks, according to market reports. When the Wild Rose Foundation and UI signed a memorandum of understanding in late February, the company's stock was $18.81 a share. It has dropped 45 percent since then, ending at $8.43 a share Monday. Pence recently announced plans to step down as Coldwater Creek's CEO as of Oct. 30 after suffering a heart attack. Dan Griesmer, the company's president and CEO, will take over for Pence, who will continue to serve as board chairman. Other retailers have had financial problems in recent months. One of Coldwater's competitors, Chico's FAS Inc., has felt a decline in its stock price, dropping from $22.29 to $11.91 a share. Although the Idaho State Board of Education gave its approval for UI to go forward with the project in August, sale of the property to the foundation has not taken place, White said. The university is out little money other than staff time and travel-related expenses, he said. White added the agreement included a transparent business plan with a number of checks and balances designed to protect UI in the event of the proposal's collapse. The Sandpoint campus proposal still has a lot of backing, Pence said. "Everyone is totally in support of this," he said. "That's what we've heard from the university. That's the sense from the Wild Rose Foundation, unequivocally." In a press release issued Monday, Pence said he continues to give his unqualified support to the project. That statement was echoed by White. "Dennis Pence's vision for creating educational opportunities in northern Idaho resonates with the university's mission and we look forward to resuming the project at the appropriate time." "We look forward to getting it done someday," he said. District meeting focuses on funds Posted: Monday, Oct 22, 2007 - 09:56:36 pm PDT By MAUREEN DOLAN Staff writer COEUR d'ALENE -- The conversation at Monday's long-range planning committee meeting was not about whether to ask Coeur d'Alene School District voters to approve funding for school building projects; it was about how funding should be structured to give patrons the most bang for their buck while best meeting the building needs of the growing district. At the committee's second meeting of the 2007-2008 school year, superintendent Harry Amend explained the funding options available to the district, the two- or four-year school plant facility levy and the bond. The levy is spread out over a number of years, Amend said. With a $20 million levy, the district would receive $5 million each year for four years. "The good news is when the four years or two years is up, the building is paid for and you open the door," Amend said. The bond, Amend said, is different in that the funds are given to the school up front, and the payments are spread out over, in most cases, 20 years. "You do your projects, and in the end, you do have payments on the principal and interest," Amend said. Steve Briggs, chief financial officer for the district, presented the committee with funding models for a $100 million bond, with the payments and interest spread over 20 years, 15 years and 10 years. Total interest on a 20-year bond for that amount would be $58 million, with the average levy per $1,000 assessed at 0.60. "It does, over time, burden the district quite significantly," Briggs said. The shorter bonds have increased levy rates. There is some benefit to the bond versus the school plant facility levy, Briggs said. If the district gets all its money at once, he said, it can prioritize it and spend it in an agreed-upon fashion. "The benefit of the SPFL is more flexibility and you pay as you go," Briggs said. For example, Briggs said, if it takes two years to complete the SPFL, the district can then re-evaluate its situation and consider new issues that may come up during that time. Assistant superintendent Hazel Bauman suggested the committee decide which projects it would be initiating before deciding on the method of funding. "If the district wants to take on multiple projects at the same time, then a bond might be the way to go," Bauman said. "If we agree that we're going to do a small project, then the SPFL might be the way to go." The committee is reviewing a 2006 priority list developed in 2005 to decide whether the district's needs have changed since research for the list was completed. "What we have sensed is that many of you feel that Lakes should be the next project," Amend said. The replacement of Lakes Middle School tops the list, with the replacement or renovation of Winton Elementary School second. Amend opened the floor for discussion, asking committee members if there are schools other than Lakes they feel should take high priority. "While Lakes for me is the No. 1 priority, right next to that is the need to have more capacity for students to the north," Bauman said. Bauman said growth in the northern and western parts of the district has put a strain on existing schools, creating a need for a new elementary school in the north or the expansion of Winton Elementary to the west. The next committee meeting is scheduled for November 12 at 4:30 p.m. at the Midtown Meeting Center at 1505 N. Fifth St. FROM THE IDAHO SPOKESMAN-REVIEW Sandpoint UI branch campus on hold Coldwater Creek's Pence postpones plan Meghann M. Cuniff Staff writer October 23, 2007 A financial setback for a philanthropic organization run by Coldwater Creek co-founder Dennis Pence has indefinitely shelved plans for a University of Idaho campus in Sandpoint. The Wild Rose Foundation was expected to spend at least $36 million to build the campus on a 77-acre site owned by UI. Officials hoped classes could be offered as soon as fall 2009, but the foundation announced Monday the project was on hold. "As a large percentage of the assets of the Foundation reside in equities, and the value of the portfolio has declined substantially over the last six months, Wild Rose has requested to the University of Idaho that the planned development be delayed until such time as the condition of the investment portfolio of the Foundation improves," Pence said in a statement. Stock in Coldwater Creek makes up a "substantial portion" of the Wild Rose Foundation's portfolio, said Ford Elsaesser, a Sandpoint attorney serving as the foundation's spokesman. The value of the Coldwater Creek's stock has tumbled 70 percent in the past 12 months. On Friday, the stock closed at $7.82 per share, and financial Web site The Motley Fool listed Coldwater Creek among the worst performers of the day. The company, which sells women's apparel and accessories, announced last week that it would post a third-quarter loss. The news came amid sluggish clothing sales. Sandpoint Mayor Ray Miller said the indefinite delay of the UI campus is disappointing but understandable given the state of the stock market. He's confident the project will eventually move forward. "I talked to Mr. Pence today and he's fairly optimistic it won't be too long," Miller said. "We're still behind the project all the way." Coeur d'Alene resident Sue Thilo, a member of the state Board of Education, said the board looks forward to one day seeing the project to fruition. "All parties want it to happen," Thilo said. "The timing just needs to change." In August, Thilo and the rest of the board voted to sell 77 acres owned by the UI just north of downtown Sandpoint to the Wild Rose Foundation for $6.25 million. Most of that money would have gone into a trust for educational programs at the site, and the foundation agreed to spend at least $30 million to build the first four buildings, which were to be given to the UI, according to the agreement. Classes were tentatively scheduled to start in fall 2009. A variety of offerings would have been available, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary programs focusing on the liberal arts, natural resources and food science. Other programs would have included the UI's executive MBA program, already available in Sandpoint, as well as offerings from North Idaho College. The decision isn't unexpected given the state of the stock market, Miller and Thilo agreed. "I think everyone's that looking at the stock market is taking a second look at major decisions such as this. We want this project to be fiscally sound," Thilo said. The delay has no affect on the MBA program or other existing UI programs in Sandpoint. In his statement, Pence said that he will continue "unqualified support" for the campus. He called the delay "personally disappointing" and praised UI for its support of the project. FROM THE MOSCOW DAILY NEWS (PASSWORD REQUIRED) Lincoln Middle School students excel at SATs, stretch their minds Program for talented youths allows local students to take college-type courses By Amy Gray, Daily News staff writer Monday, October 22, 2007 - Page Updated at 12:00:00 AM Berit Paxson-Tarnai remembers feeling very small when she first took the Standardized Achievement Test at the University of Idaho at the age of 12. Three and a half years later, the Lincoln Middle School eighth-grader has taken the test three times and tested better than most college-bound high school students in the country. She and five fellow Lincoln students took the test in March and recently learned they all received state honors on the math part of the test and two received the same honors in reading. Such high scores on the test, which was designed for high school juniors, allows the middle schoolers to participate in academic summer courses offered by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth. The courses take place at colleges and universities around the country and the world, and courses range from biology to robotics to inductive reasoning. The course catalog reads like a college catalog, but the courses are geared for students as young as those in the second grade. Students wishing to establish eligibility for CTY Young Students courses take the School and College Ability Test - the SCAT. "The parents register their children online and then they get invitations and they take it, just to see how they do," said LMS counselor Paula Cartwright. There are state awards for high honors and also "distinction awards" - if the students exceed the average score of college-bound students who took the test. "In reading, we had two students out of five that qualified for state and four qualified for distinction," she said. All five received both state and distinction in math. "I think these parents were pretty proud," she said. Chris Paxson is extremely positive about her daughter's experiences with CTY. "Her first year, we were a little concerned about sending her for three weeks on her own, but we figured that one of the things you have to do as a parent is ready them for life after high school, so we thought we'd give it a try," she said. So off Paxson-Tarnai went as a 12-year-old to take a statistics course at Stanford University. "She loved it. She loved Palo Alto; they were cared for and were safe. They made origami frogs and jumped them and then graphed the distribution. They were learning statistics in a way that sticks with you. For a 12-year-old, what an adventure. They went out for ice cream and for pizza and had to manage their little amount of money they took with them," Paxson said. A professor in the College of Business at Washington State University, Paxson understands the importance of independent and experiential learning. The next year, Paxson-Tarnai again qualified and this time the family selected a completely different type of course and setting. "This time, it was cryptology at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania - completely different. It's an old university founded in the 1700s in the middle of Appalachia," Paxson said. Her daughter took a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. and "it was just cool," her mother said. This past summer, Paxson-Tarnai took a course in essay writing. "At first, she was reluctant, but now she's a freshman and taking an honors literature course and she said it has changed her writing," Paxson said. Juan Du said her daughter, Natasha Wollkind, heard about the tests when she was in fifth grade at Franklin Elementary School. "I said I didn't think she was ready," Du said. "But she said she wanted to see what the test was like. There was no preparatory work; she just registered and tried it - and she did well." Wollkind took the test as a sixth-grader and then again this spring as an eighth-grader. Her motivation was the summer academic program, Du said. After she qualified with high SAT scores, Wollkind selected a logic course at Loyola Marymount University this summer. "It was about paradoxes, thinking about things differently," she said. The three-week course was different from any course she has taken in Pullman schools. Jack Qiu also did very well on the tests. His father, Hanxue Qiu said he encouraged his son to take the test. "There's lots of opportunities if you qualify for various academic levels, so that caught his interest." OUR VIEW: Hard sell works for the Palouse School District (Editorial) Murf Raquet, for the editorial board Monday, October 22, 2007 - Page Updated at 12:00:00 AM Sometimes you have to hunker down and sell yourself. People do it all the time in job interviews, and businesses capture customers with advertising campaigns. Even the Palouse School District has seemingly reaped the benefits of self-promotion. The district has found itself with about 23 more students than expected. That's a significant amount when the total number of students is 203. Each of those students represents thousands of state dollars that go toward teachers and basic education costs. The district is in a difficult position. The city of Palouse has become a bedroom community for many faculty and staff at Washington State University. Some parents who make the daily commute enroll their children in Pullman schools for a variety of reasons. That's caused a drain, not only of students but of state dollars as well. This year, 17 students from Palouse and five from Garfield transferred to Pullman. The loss wasn't as great as anticipated due to some proactive activity to entice parents to keep their children in the Palouse School District. The district advertised students' success in local newspapers this summer. Board members and concerned parents talked up the district's virtues to anyone who would listen. "There's a misconception that just because we're smaller, we're not as good. But we have a lot of bragging rights," school board member Darin Watkins said. Watkins cited small class sizes, high scores on standardized tests, availability of computers and the high number of high school seniors who receive scholarships as reasons to stay in the district. It's not certain whether the promotion had a direct effect on the enrollment increase, but it didn't hurt. Small school districts can't afford to see enrollment drop, even by a handful of students. School boards are forced to fight hard for every dollar they receive. Informing the community about a district's strengths is a good way to sell the education value to parents. It is one of those "above and beyond" efforts that, if it pays off, everyone in the district wins. It seems the scrappy Palouse School District is winning. FROM THE LEWISTON TRIBUNE (PASSWORD REQUIRED) County fills vacancy on Culdesac School Board Nez Perce County commissioners seek changes in state law By Sandra L. Lee October 23, 2007 Nez Perce County Commissioner Douglas Zenner asked area legislators for a change in how school board members are appointed after the Culdesac School District had difficulty filling a vacancy. Idaho law gives a school district 90 days to fill a vacancy. It if is unable to do so, responsibility falls on the county commission. The commissioners named Rick Milionis to the school board Monday after a personal search by Zenner. Clerk-Auditor Patty Weeks first worked with the county mapping department to get details of the school district's zone 4. That was compared with registered voters to come up with a list of potential board members, and Zenner started making calls. Many of the residents in that area are older and don't have a connection with the school, Zenner said. His suggestion, e-mailed to the three state legislators who represent Nez Perce County, is that after a certain length of time, the commission be allowed to appoint an at-large member to the school board who could live anywhere in the district. In any event, the appointee, including Milionis, will serve only until the next annual meeting of the board, usually in July, or until the next election, Weeks said. The school board always had a quorum and was able to conduct business, she said. In other business: l A $4,000 juvenile accountability block grant was accepted for about the 10th year. The grant has to be applied for annually and is used to pay license fees for software. l A 1.86 percent cost of living increase in the county's contract with Latah Sanitation/Moscow Recycling was approved. Two other provisions change this year, Commissioner J.R. Van Tassel said. One adds the collection of tires and the other eliminates a one-year increase for "extraordinary fuel costs." The contract allows that to be paid for only a year, he said. l A representative of Northwest MedStar Critical Care Transport Service made a pitch to sell annual family memberships for $59 for emergency helicopter or airplane transportation. Flights from Lewiston to Spokane can cost as much as $10,000 because of the capital and maintenance costs of the aircraft plus the medical and flight personnel, said Mary K. Gilmore of Spokane. MedStar also works with businesses and residential areas to set up coordinates for landing sites to improve response time, she said. MedStar is a nonprofit agency that bills members' insurance companies, including Medicare, so that patients never see a bill, she said. Two incumbents face challengers for Colfax School Board By Jodi Walker October 23, 2007 Political newcomers are taking on longtime incumbents in a race for two Colfax School Board seats. Laura Johnson is challenging longtime board member Alan L. Morgan and Chad Maki is challenging incumbent Cary D. Hall. Maki said he was encouraged to run by some people in the community. "They want some new blood," said Maki, 36. He is challenging Hall, a local farmer, who was first appointed to the board in 1986 and has been re-elected in subsequent elections. Hall did not return calls from the Tribune. Maki is the branch supervisor of the Colfax McGregor branch and has lived in Colfax for five years, having grown up in Moscow. He said his goal is to make the school board a friendlier body; more open to its constituents. "I think people want it a little bit more open," he said. The board seems to make decisions without talking to anyone, he said. Maki is married and has two daughters in Jennings Elementary School at Colfax. Johnson, too, said it is time for some change. "I have heard a lot of things," she said, although declined to elaborate saying she wants to get in and get answers instead of assigning blame. Johnson, 46, runs an area farm with her husband and also is a radiology technician at Gritman Medical Center. She raised three children in the school district; the youngest is a sophomore. "I have not had any problems," she said of the school district." She simply decided it was time to give back to the community. "Things have slowed down a little bit in my life and I thought it would be good to get more involved." Johnson is running against Morgan, who was first elected in 1991. Morgan said his tenure on the board has had both ups and downs. "There is more positive than negative." Morgan, 55, is a local wheat farmer and with his wife has raised three children in the school district. He said his youngest just graduated and he is looking forward to his grandchildren starting in the school in another year. "I love kids. I enjoy (being on the board). It is an opportunity for me to serve the community." Morgan said being on the board means "being able to stand out there and take bullets." Morgan said he appreciates the efforts of his challenger and said no matter which way the election goes, the district will win. FROM THE IDAHO-PRESS TRIBUNE, NAMPA Students react to Boise State professor’s firing EDUCATION: BSU professor terminated for alleged unprofessional conduct By Tovah Johnson The Arbiter NAMPA — Students handed out copies of professor Linda Emery‟s Notice of Termination of Employment at West Campus. Boise State fired professor Linda Emery on Sept. 13 due to her reported teaching methods and alleged lack of professionalism. Nampa Police physically removed her from a classroom at the West Campus, moments before she was to teach a class. The Notice of Termination of Employment, written by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Martin Schimpf, reads, “This notice is to inform you that Boise State University is terminating your employment as an adjunct faculty member. While State Board of Education policy, Boise State University policy and State of Idaho law provide that you are an at-will employee of the University and may be dismissed at any time, with or without cause, below you will find the basis and reasons for this action.” These reasons given included allegedly using profane language in the classroom, failure to prepare a proper syllabus, failure to teach the course material, student complaints, unprofessional behavior, not taking attendance, dismissing classes early, prior infractions and finally for confronting students to discover the source of a complaint filed against her Sept. 11. Emery was fired two days later. Students in her class denied many of the claims, and some seemed to admire Emery for her teaching style. “This is wrong. She has been here for 15 years and for her to get fired this way is wrong,” student Tonya Harris said. She was teaching at least two courses in the English Department this fall. “I would understand if this was happening after a year or two, but after 15 years and my methods have not changed? Come on,” Emery said. The English Department felt differently. “The University has received several complaints about your unprofessional conduct in your classes this semester,” the dismissal letter read. “Dr. [Michelle] Payne called you to address these issues with you and you admitted to some, but not all, of the complaints about conduct. While you attempted to characterize the activity in an academic context, the reality is that you have been engaging in unprofessional conduct, much of which you have admitted.” Emery‟s syllabi were a cause of concern. The following is an excerpt from her ENGL 268 course syllabus. “Please be aware that I like to argue, that I am sometimes abrasive and possibly offensive, that my favorite topics are God, sex, and Death and that if any of this really bothers you, you probably should take this course from another instructor.” Emery later changed the number of the syllabus to ENGL 258 (which is Western World Literature, not British Literature) and used the same document for that course as well. “You have failed to prepare a proper syllabus with proper course material,” the dismissal notice read. “In fact, you made a hand-written change to a course number on the syllabus from your [ENGL] 268 British Literature class and gave that out as a syllabus for your 258 class. The syllabus makes several references to British Literature. You were hired for the 258 class to teach Western World Literature. It is not your prerogative to simply ignore the course material in favor of subject matter you would prefer to teach. Student complaints have noted that students were looking forward to the study of Western World Literature and were disappointed that you made it clear (verbally and in writing) that you did not intend to teach the subject.” Emery said she mistakenly brought the wrong syllabus. “That syllabus is a mess, but I was sick and was going to go home and work on it this weekend,” Emery said. “Students told me it wasn‟t a big deal because other professors have made a mistake before.” The dismissal letter brought up a large number of other issues, a few of which are unsubstantiated. “Students have complained that you regularly dismiss a 3-hour class after only one-half hour, that because you do not take attendance, students can choose not to attend, and that the only assignment they will be graded on is a two-page paper due at the end of the semester. One-half hour classes do not meet the 3-credit class requisites, and having no other graded work falls below the expectations of collegelevel course work.” “That is not true,” Emery‟s western world literature student Angie Wood said. The syllabus states that the course will be graded on a 3-10 page paper on an aspect of one or more works that were read in class, and whoever presents it to the class can receive extra credit. The syllabus requires a creative project to be presented to the class integrating the literary works read in class with student life. Random impromptu responses on discussions were also required. The class midterm and final essays were to be based on a personal question. Despite all these allegations and the firing of Emery, many of her students stand by her side. Some have decided to drop the course. Others are filing a petition to have her re- instated and distributing the dismissal letter around campus. “I‟m a fan of Linda‟s,” Emery‟s British literature student Pamela (Sue) Sykes said. “I took every class she taught. I‟m 59 and I‟ve learned more in her four classes than any other class on campus. She made me love English.” “I signed up for Linda and will only take it from her because she makes English fun, and this new guy is boring,” Harris said. “She made me feel comfortable, able to speak my mind, and I didn‟t like talking in groups,” British literature student Victoria Lee said. One of the lynchpins for Emery‟s dismissal was her repeated alleged profanity. The dismissal letter focused on this topic. “Student complaints also noted that you regularly use foul language in class. While profane language can be appropriate in the proper context, its use should not simply be a part of the classroom when it is not connected to the instructional goals of the course.” Emery had previously been reprimanded for her language. A number of her students didn‟t care. “When you are old enough to rent a (pornographic movie), it shouldn‟t be a big deal to have profane language in the classroom,” student Crystal Gedney said. “We are all adults here.” BSU does not rent out pornography. Despite the support from some students, at least one complained to the chair of the English Department. “Students feel you are rude to them in class and display a lack of respect for them,” the unnamed student‟s letter said. “Challenging students to think, encouraging them to broaden their minds and forcing them to reevaluate long held beliefs is, of course, a fine goal for college level courses. However, belittling students, being rude to students, and discussing topics wholly unrelated to the course are not acceptable methods of achieving those goals.” EDUCATION: Efforts to strengthen legislation have run into opposition By Robert Tanner The Associated Press Every school has rules governing teacher behavior. Every state has laws against child abuse, and many specifically outlaw teachers taking sexual liberties with students. Every district has administrators who watch out for sexual misconduct by teachers. Yet people like Chad Maughan stay in the classroom. Maughan got in trouble twice for viewing pornography at schools in Washington state but was allowed to keep teaching. Within two years, he was convicted of raping a 14- year-old girl in his school. Legal loopholes, fear of lawsuits and inattention all have weakened the safeguards that are supposed to protect children in school. The system fails hundreds of kids each year, an AP investigation found. It undoubtedly fails many more whose offenders go free. State efforts to strengthen laws against sex abuse by teachers have run into opposition from school boards and teachers unions. In Congress, a measure that would train investigators and create a national registry of offenders hasn‟t even gotten a hearing. An Associated Press investigation identified 2,570 cases from 2001 to 2005 in which teachers were punished or removed from the classroom for sexual misconduct. The allegations ranged from fondling to rape. Reporters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia gathered the cases from state agencies with responsibility for teacher licensing. Even accounting for population differences, states vary widely on how many teachers they discipline and how rigorously, the investigation showed. That reflects the patchwork nature of the laws and rules that aim to protect schoolchildren. Each state takes its own approach to background checks, fingerprinting and reporting abuse. While states have taken halting steps toward accountability in recent years after decades of widespread neglect, there are still many gaps. Some states check fingerprints against records only in their own states, not the FBI databases, so they miss offenders from other states. Others only check for violations when teachers are newly hired, missing veteran teachers who have run afoul of the law since they were first hired. School systems also have made an attempt at weeding out wrongdoers. For the past 20 years, educators have shared information with other states about teachers who‟ve run into administrative trouble. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification created the list. But it has its flaws. It only provides identifying information such as names, birth dates and Social Security numbers, nothing describing a teacher‟s past problems, leaving it up to a state agency or a hiring school district to dig deeper. Also, the list is not publicly available. “There are some liability issues involved there,” Einreinhofer says. “It just serves as a flag saying you need to check this person further.” Created in 1987, the list contains names of some 37,000 teachers who have had license problems, which includes all misbehavior, not just sexual. Similar piecemeal efforts have often run into resistance, from lawmakers reluctant to tackle the subject, from teacher unions concerned with privacy and due process, and from school boards worried about court fights. In Washington state, Maughan‟s case led to a law that clarified the definition of sexual misconduct and required school districts to share information. Maughan was suspended from one job for looking at pornography on school computers, but the district said only that he had used “poor judgment.” At the second job, he was reprimanded for viewing pornography, and told administrators he had an addiction and was getting counseling. State Sen. Don Benton, who fought for the law that followed, said “we had tremendous resistance from the teachers union when it came to personnel files.” In Minnesota, the state school board association — allied with two church groups — has lobbied against a bill that would give victims of child sex abuse more time to bring civil claims. Schools, like churches, could be held liable if they failed to stop abuse that they should have known about. Some union officials argue that the dangers are overstated. “We‟re turning some of this now into a modern-day witch hunt and making it very difficult for teachers to have to say, ‟I‟m not one of those.‟ It‟s the wrong signal to send,” says Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. His state this spring declared it a crime punishable by up to six months imprisonment for a teacher to have sex with a student even if he or she is above the age of consent. Report: College prices up again this year The Associated Press Average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 6.6 percent this year, again outstripping increases in financial aid and pushing students into more borrowing. Community colleges once again did the best job keeping the lid on prices. In-state students at four-year public schools are paying $6,185 this year, up $381 from last year, according to the nonprofit College Board‟s annual survey of college costs, released Monday. At four-year private colleges, tuition and fees rose 6.3 percent to $23,712. The published price is not the real price for many students. On average, accounting for grants and tax breaks, full-time students are actually paying $2,577 this year to attend four-year public universities. That‟s $209 more than last year. However, even the net price is still rising much faster than overall inflation. The net price at public universities is $560 higher, in 2007 dollars, than a decade ago. The last five years have seen prices rise 31 percent above and beyond the general inflation rate for other goods and services — the worst record on college prices of any five-year period covered by the survey dating back 30 years. Prices at two-year colleges, which educate about half of American college students, rose 4.2 percent to $2,361. Accounting for aid, their average net cost is only $320 per year. A companion report released on trends in student aid shows that over the last decade, increases in grant aid — money students don‟t have to pay back — have covered only about one-third of the increases in private college tuition and half the increases at public four-year schools. While borrowing from the government is still far bigger, students are footing more and more of the bill with private loans from banks and student loan companies. Undergraduate private borrowing grew 12 percent to $14.5 billion in 2006-2007. The rate of increase in total private borrowing for education has slowed, but borrowing has increased tenfold over the last decade. Including room and board for students living on campus, charges for public four-year colleges were $13,589, or 5.9 percent higher than last year. Party affiliation can help Luna get things done (Editorial) This view is from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News editorial board in Moscow. By Craig Staszkow, for the editorial board Former Idaho public schools chief Marilyn Howard often argued that the position of state schools superintendent should be nonpartisan — that the fight for good teachers, adequate facilities and fiscal responsibility should supersede political party affiliation. In a perfect world, Howard is right. But this is Idaho. It‟s a state that — at least politically — bleeds the brightest of red. With the election of Tom Luna to Howard‟s old gig, the state added a fourth R to its education arsenal: Readin‟, „ritin‟, ‟rithmetic and Republican. Howard, a Democrat from Moscow, never had it easy working with the Republican- controlled Legislature. Granted, she served during an eight-year stretch — 1999-2006 — marked by some tough economic times and the dark cloud of pending facilities lawsuits. It was tough all over, but to her credit, Howard was dogged. She scratched and clawed for every penny. We expect Luna to do some similar scratching and clawing. A man with business experience and savvy, Luna brings some new ideas and perspective to the job. His latest budget request — a healthy 8 percent above last year‟s — coupled with his prickly suggestion that teachers should be given hefty bonuses if they outperform their peers, give early evidence of Luna‟s optimism and brashness. Luna‟s budget proposal also includes money for more programs that give high school juniors and seniors college credit and money for math programs aimed at improving lagging scores. Will Luna‟s budget — and ideas for merit-pay, college credit and math programs — fly? That‟s the big question. The Legislature will pick up the debate in January. Several years ago, Howard asked for a similar 8 percent increase in her schools budget. The Legislature balked, settling on somewhat less. Soon after, Howard worried aloud that public education was not a priority for the state‟s lawmakers. That still may be the case, but Luna, by virtue of his party, might have an easier time convincing lawmakers it should be. FROM THE IDAHO STATESMAN Boise trustees approve Latin, Greek program The curriculum is available for kids through the second grade at Shadow Hills Elementary. By Anne Wallace Allen - email@example.com Edition Date: 10/23/07 Boise School Trustees voted Monday night to approve a new program that will offer Greek and Latin to children from kindergarten through second grade. The program, which will use one classroom at Shadow Hills Elementary School, is based on the curriculum of the private Arrowrock International School, which closed at the beginning of the school year because of financial problems. Superintendent Stan Olson started working with Arrowrock parents in September to find a way for the district to absorb the school. The result, this year at least, is one classroom of 14 children - five of them former Arrowrock students - whose class will be part of the district's gifted and talented programs and will offer Arrowrock's rigorous classical education model. In his proposal to trustees, Olson said the program would be based on early formal education that uses a systematic, three-stage approach to training the mind known as the trivium. "Each stage of the trivium lays the groundwork for the next stage and corresponds to the developmental progression of children," Olson said. The district will pay up to $8,000 to acquire supplies and materials from the Arrowrock program, Olson said. Most of the district's kindergartners only go to school for half a day; kindergartners in the all-day classical program will pay some tuition. Classes are due to start Wednesday. The program will run this year as an experiment, Olson said. Officials will evaluate it at the end of the school year and see whether to continue it. "I see this as a window of opportunity for the district," said Nancy Gregory, one of the trustees who voted for the program Monday night. "We had parents come to us who were ready to step in immediately; potentially, more than we have room for." The class can accommodate up to 16 students, said Gregory. If there are more, the district might hire an aide. But that's unlikely to happen this year, Gregory added, because the program will be an experiment this year while district officials assess how much interest there is in classical education. Olson said he sees the classical education experiment as one more way to attract parents who are faced with the choice of public, private and charter schools. Boise's classical education program will be "unique to Idaho and somewhat unique nationally," he said. "The ultimate advantage is it creates more options for students, and creates a greater level of competitiveness in the general k-12 educational market." Tuscany subdivision may get a larger school By Bill Roberts - firstname.lastname@example.org Edition Date: 10/23/07 Tuscany subdivision residents could get a new school by next fall, with the capacity to hold nearly 200 students more than Meridian school district first anticipated. Administrators will ask the district's trustees Tuesday to approve $12.9 million in bids for construction of a school that would house 650 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the District Service Center, 1303 E. Central Drive, Meridian. Bids for construction of the smaller school, called Sienna, total $11.8 million. School officials had first thought Sienna would be a smaller-scale school for about 450 students and the district would add on about 10 classrooms at a later time. District officials say they need the additional room to accommodate continued growth in the region around Victory and Eagle roads and to ease overcrowding at Mary McPherson and Lake Hazel elementaries. Lake Hazel Elementary is about 160 over capacity, and Mary McPherson has about 130 more students than the school was built to hold. Money for the school will come from funds not spent on the $140 million bond approved by voters in 2005 and from a plant facilities levy approved by voters earlier this year. District officials also decided not to seek a construction bond for Sienna this fall after voters approved a $20 million plant facilities levy that can be used to improve buildings along with remaining bond funds. Boise advisory group helps parents have a say The Boise School District's volunteer community council will focus on class sizes and curriculum. PCAC is holding a Boise mayoral candidate forum from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at Timberline High School auditorium, 701 E. Boise Ave. By Anne Wallace Allen - email@example.com Edition Date: 10/23/07 With the school year well under way, Boise School District's Parent-Community Advisory Council is busy setting its policy agenda and mustering parent representatives from the city's 52 elementary, junior high and high schools. PCAC was formed in 2003 by Boise Superintendent Stan Olson. It has its own bylaws, but the school district supports the group by providing space and lunch for its monthly meetings. PCAC enables parents and other community members to gather information from school district officials and trustees and bring that information back to their schools and to groups like the Parent Teacher Association. PCAC members also advocate to policymakers; in 2005 a legislative committee from PCAC helped lobby lawmakers change an aspect of the way Idaho distributes federal money to schools. "Our intent with PCAC is to create a learned, communicative parent network in this district," Olson said. "The second issue is to create a representative body who can be used as parental representatives who can do key work for the district such as strategic planning, facility improvements, and the future and present of the district." The group includes up to three representatives from each school. It holds monthly meetings where members hear from speakers like Olson, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and experts on education policy from outside Boise. This year, PCAC has a new president, Tani Theiler, a mother of two at Longfellow Elementary School who has a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from Stanford University. Theiler came into the job with a few years of experience working in PCAC and with lawmakers to change the state's education funding law. PCAC set a tentative policy agenda in the spring by polling community members and its own committees. Theiler said the group will likely focus this year on middle school curriculum, reducing class sizes, increasing the number of aides available in classrooms, health and nutrition in the schools, and encouraging junior high parents to be more engaged with their schools. This agenda might change as other issues develop, she said. Becky Young, who was president of PCAC last year and is now vice president, said the group is not set up to represent individual schools or teachers or administrators. "We represent the school community," Young said. PCAC's October meeting focused on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test, and the district's curriculum director, Don Coberly, took detailed questions on the new ISAT and the reauthorization of the federal education funding law No Child Left Behind. "We're not just about what's happening in the Boise School District," said Kay Brassey, PCAC's secretary. "Anything that affects children, we take back to our schools." PCAC meets at 11:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of every month at the district's headquarters, 8169 W. Victory Road. The public is welcome to attend. PCAC also is hoping to attract representatives from a dozen schools that now have none. PCAC members really can change policy and make a difference to kids' education, said Theiler. "We're at an advantage here in Boise because we're near the Legislature," she said. "Our group of parents, in conjunction with the school district, can go down there and actually be a force. It's right there in our backyard." FROM THE TWIN FALLS TIMES-NEWS Mothers Against Meth director motivates local students By Andrea Gates Times-News writer Signing on the dotted line wasn't just a formality Monday at Twin Falls High School. It could also be a life-saver. Hundreds of students pledged to never do meth, signing their names to a promise and proudly displaying their intent on walls at the school. The signature came after the director of Mothers Against Methamphetamine briefed them on dangers behind the synthetic narcotic. With a quick, deep, Alabama drawl, former obstetrician and Mothers Against Meth Director Dr. Mary Holley, kept the student body of 1,378 teenagers enthralled for an hour, during two talks she gave Monday at the school. "The kids were quiet and paid attention. I thought she (Holley) did a nice job," said Twin Falls High School Principal Ben Allen. Holley spoke from personal experience - she lost her brother to a meth addiction - and she spared no dirty details about what the drug can do to people. Students gasped when they saw portraits illuminated on a large screen in the auditorium of meth users, who were caught in their addiction. Picture after picture, the people were different but their look was the same - missing teeth, sunken cheeks, white skin, pus- filled sores and sunken eyes. "This one didn't survive," Holley said about one the addicts, pictured on the big screen. Another woman's face illuminated with an air of lifelessness to it, but she was actually alive and in the middle of a meth "crash" - which is a multi-day long period of rest after a long bender. "This is day two … After I got the tube out her throat," Holley said. "Why does it have to be so ugly," she asked, before explaining that addicts have "chains" around their "veins." Different rhymes peppered Holley's anti-meth points. "The high is a lie," she told the students, because meth gives people a feeling of power and control, even though addicts lack those virtues, she said. The percentage of high school-aged people using methamphetamine has dropped every year for 10 years, Holley told her audience. But meth customers die, and their pushers move on to look for new clientele - like the students in Monday's audience, Holley said. A picture of strawberry meth, that looked like candy - illuminated the screen in Roper Auditorium. Students at Twin Falls High School, though, were eager to show they will not be the next meth customer. Twin Falls High School Senior Amber Petersen, sat Monday afternoon beside her graphing calculator under a wall of anti-meth pledges. Petersen, 18, is a student body officer, and she helped decorate the school with information about the dangers of drugs. "We really wanted to make it a bigger deal this year," Petersen said. Holley's address coincided with this week's Red Ribbon Week, which has been lauded as the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. Petersen, who said she does not "party" hasn't heard much about her peers using meth. "I'm guessing it's out there," and students talk about other drugs and alcohol, she said. A faith-based version of the seminar was presented Monday night at the College of Southern Idaho, and additional speeches will be made this week. Holley's appearance was sponsored by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Regional Advisory Committee, Miracle Valley Ministry Center, Southern Idaho Partners Against Drugs and the District 5 Juvenile Justice Council in Idaho. It was her first presentation at Twin Falls High School. Do ask, do tell: Lifting the curtain on teacher sex abuse (Editorial) Let's say you're a ninth-grader living in an Idaho community of 2,000 or 3,000 people, and the unthinkable happens. Your teacher sexually abuses you, and then says no one will believe you if you report him. He may be right: Your parents, perhaps, went to high school with this man, who's twice been named the school district's teacher of the year. Maybe he's the coach of the high school football team, or a leader in his local church. What would you do? Could you do anything? That was the crux of a recent Associated Press series of articles about teachers who sexually abuse students. The wire service's investigation found more than 2,500 cases nationwide over five years. There are 3 million public school teachers in America, most devoted to their work. Yet statistically there are three instances of sexual abuse by teachers of students every single school day. And it can happen here. Not often, says Tama Bergstrand, chairwoman of the Professional Standards Commission and ethics committee that is charged with disciplining teachers who cross the line. But when it does happen, the results are tragic. "We had one taped interview with a little girl, where the interviewer asked why she didn't tell anyone that she was being abused," Bergstrand said. "She said, 'Well, he was a teacher and teachers aren't supposed to do bad things.' It broke my heart." Out of 14,800 teachers in grades kindergarten through 12th in Idaho, nine had their teaching licenses revoked, suspended or denied in 2005, according to the Idaho Department of Education. Between 2001 and 2005, the state averaged about seven such discipline cases a year, according to state records, though some years had as many as 13 cases and some years had as few as four. Nationally, nine out of 10 of abusive educators are male. And at least 446 had multiple victims. The worst case in Idaho happened nearly two decades ago in Boise, where CentennialHigh School science teacher Dan Campbell - who had previously taught many of a same students in middle school - pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct for having sex with at least three students. Three of the victims ended up pregnant, and all were pressured by Campbell into having abortions, according to court records. The ex-teacher is now serving a life sentence. The upper-middle class area of west Boise where Centennial is located is among the safest neighborhoods in the state, but Campbell's abuse went on for years. Training teachers is critical in preventing such crimes, but that's only a first step. Idaho's code of ethics for teachers is already quite specific about what's appropriate and what isn't. Yet because of the stigma involved, many teachers who commit sexual abuse never even face criminal charges. What Idaho needs is better education of youngsters about what constitutes sexual abuse and how they can respond to it. That instruction should be done by someone who isn't a teacher - an administrator or a member of the community - and it should be frank. Kids should clearly know there's someone they can call who will take them seriously. And Idaho needs an unambiguous, uniform protocol for investigating allegations of sex abuse, used by every school district in the state. In the private sector, many employers have a clear, universal standard for looking into allegations of sexual harassment. They do that, in part, to protect themselves from legal liability, but also to insure that they have healthy - and hence productive - workplaces. Idaho schools should emulate those processes, which emphasize isolating the victim from the abuser and preventing retaliation against the accuser. Only the Department of Education with the backing of the State Board of Education, the Legislature and the governor could implement such a system. It should be a priority. In excess of 99 percent of teachers would never do anything inappropriate to a student. But there are a few who would. Such people, by and large, are predators first and teachers second, not folks who made a single error of judgment. Because of that, Idaho's kids are always at risk. FROM THE IDAHO STATE JOURNAL Research funds ok’d Senate approves money for ISU rangeland study BY CHRIS MERRILL firstname.lastname@example.org POCATELLO - A $500,000 earmark for an Idaho State University rangeland research program was approved by the full Senate Friday for fiscal year 2008. ISU‟s research into Idaho rangelands has received ongoing federal funding for the past few years, including $1 million in 2004 and 2005, and half a million dollars in 2007. Scientists with the program have been exploring three major questions, which have environmental and economic implications for the state of Idaho: How healthy are our rangelands? How sustainable are they? How have they changed over time? So far scientists have learned that rangeland health is, to a large degree, a function of bare ground exposure. The higher the amount of bare ground exposed, the less healthy the rangeland, said Keith Weber, director of geographic information system training at ISU. In a semiarid climate like Southeast Idaho, when too much bare ground becomes exposed - because of wildfires, overgrazing, weed invasion and land mismanagement - we run the risk of inducing desertification, Weber said. In Idaho, desertification is when grasslands previously dominated by perennial grasses become overrun by invasive weeds and perennial shrubs. Globally, desertification is usually human-caused, Weber said. It‟s no different in Southeast Idaho. When rangeland is covered with vegetation here, the root systems of the plants help draw down the precipitation and store the water in the soil. When the rangeland vegetation is healthy, less water is lost to evaporation and runoff, and less erosion takes place. “We live in what we might call a very brittle environment,” Weber said. “It‟s driven by the amount of water we get from year to year. And if the water is lost to the air, we‟re not storing the water inside the soil anymore.” The Bureau of Land Management has been working in conjunction ISU‟s research team - using some of the findings of its rangeland research - to come up with ways to better manage public lands, to predict wildfire problem areas and to counteract the spread of invasive cheatgrass. ISU scientists and BLM authorities are researching the possibility of prescriptive grazing of forested areas that have fire fuel loads that are deemed to be too high. ISU researchers are also working on developing models to help ranchers better develop sustainable approaches to grazing their livestock. “The idea is to employ grazing management proactively to help reduce the amount of bare soil,” Weber said. “We can, in the long-term, make the rangelands healthier, and the economy as well. “The cattle industry in Idaho is an important part of the economy. We have lots of ranching and agricultural communities, so having healthy rangeland and a healthy environment helps everybody.” Researchers at ISU have learned that fires can alter rangeland for decades and perhaps permanently, Weber said. For example, wildfires can help to propagate invasive weeds, which are often the first thing to move into an area after devastating wildfires. “We‟re seeing an awful lot of increase in the amount of cheatgrass on the range,” he said. Once the weeds move in, they tend to push other types of vegetation out. It‟s important to get a handle on all of the factors that impact rangelands in Idaho, Weber said, so people in the state can make land management decisions that will help sustain Idaho‟s agricultural economy and quality of life for the foreseeable future. “Most recently we‟ve seen some effects of drought and we‟re starting to feel the effects of global climate change here in Idaho,” Weber said. “So we‟re looking at long-term sustainablity of the rangeland, the environment, as well as the economy of Idaho. Maintaining and keeping our rural communities alive and vibrant is important stuff.” Part of ISU‟s rangeland program is a collaboration with researchers in Zimbabwe, Africa, where livestock owners face similar climate conditions to those seen in Southeast Idaho, but where the rangeland is generally healthier. “We‟re learning (from the collaboration) about the important impact of time - how long livestock grazes a particular portion of land,” Weber said. “Time is probably more important than the number of animals.” Researchers in Zimbabwe are finding that the local rangelands are in good shape because a large number of animals will be on a given pasture area for only a short period of time. Even though ranchers there have increased the number of animals they‟re grazing, the pastures haven‟t seen ill-effects from the increase, he said, because the animals are moved from pasture to pasture almost daily. “They keep moving these animals over and over again,” Weber said. “It‟s not too different from what the bison did themselves in this region (before the westward expansion of European immigrants).” Weber said the jury is still out on whether or not permanent desertification is happening here. ISU researchers have seen some damaged Idaho rangelands recover with improved management, he said. Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo championed inclusion of funding for the ISU rangeland project in the Senate‟s Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which now goes to conference with the House. Congressman Mike Simpson has been an advocate for the funding in the House. After the bill clears both the House and the Senate it will go to the president‟s desk for approval. People interested in learning more about ISU‟s research into rangeland health can attend the Geospacial Range Sciences Conference, Nov. 14, at the ISU Student Union Building. It will be an all-day event, free and open to everybody. Allan Savory, one of the scientists working in Zimbabwe, will be the keynote speaker. He‟ll be discussing how ranchers there are increasing the numbers of cattle, while decreasing the amount of time where they‟re grazing given pastures. Pocatello reminds Pakistani of home ISU student from Northwest Frontier Province says Gate City is very welcoming BY BROOKE ANDERSON For the Journal POCATELLO — Ali Safdar loves Pocatello because, he says, “It gave me my mother back.” Last year, when his mother was visiting his cousins, the Rahim brothers, doctors at the Idaho Kidney Institute in Pocatello, she experienced heart problems. She was then admitted to the Portneuf Medical Center, where Dr. Jacob DeLaRosa performed open- heart surgery on her. That‟s when Safdar decided to transfer from Liverpool John Moores University in England to Idaho State University. He was studying robotics in Liverpool, and was able to get all of his credits transferred to ISU, where he now studies electrical engineering as a sophomore. Even though the Pakistani community in Idaho is small compared to that of England, Safdar says, “It was never that difficult to me to get adjusted here, because I had a lot of family support, which I didn‟t have in England.” In fact, Safdar sees a lot of similarities between Pocatello and his home in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghanistan border. “In England, people keep to themselves,” recalls Safdar. “Here in Pocatello, everyone seems to know each other — which is the same as back home.” Safdar‟s home, Pakistan‟s Northwest Frontier Province, is probably known to most Westerners as an inhospitable and remote place where Osama Bin Laden is likely hiding. But to him, and others from that area, it is a booming metropolitan area with new factories, a thriving independent media, good schools — and possibly most importantly a tight-knit community that welcomes newcomers. “The Northwest Frontier Province is one of Pakistan‟s most beautiful areas. It‟s cool in the winter, and attracts visitors from around the world. Pakistan has everything — from the Himalayas and deep waters to the world‟s most fertile lands and deserts. I think it‟s heaven on Earth,” says Safdar. Even though Safdar acknowledges there are times when he misses Pakistan, he says he is grateful for the chance to live in Pocatello. “The best part about being here are the people. Everyone is very welcoming. I like the social interaction.” For example, he says, “I‟d never met Mormons before.” As for sharing his own cultural experiences, he admits that he didn‟t get involved in the International Student Association when he first arrived in Pocatello five months ago. But now, he is an active member in two newly formed groups: the Muslim Student Association and Pakistani Student Association. He says he joined these organizations to show his appreciation of the diversity of ISU‟s student body as well as to give back to a city that he credits for saving his mother‟s life. “There are 73 countries represented at ISU. It is one of the best examples from different cultures getting along. Why can‟t we have this in the rest of the world?” he wonders. As for giving back to Pocatello, the city that he says saved his mother‟s life, he believes the best way to do so is to “build bridges, bring cultures together and educate people.” He will get his chance in late November, when the Muslim Student Association will hold a seminar of people from different faiths who will discuss similarities of the world‟s major religions. Even with all of his plans to bring about more cultural dialogue to this area, he still appears to feel indebted to the Gate City. He says, “I wish there were a way I could pay back Pocatello.” Utah shouldn’t give tax money to private schools (Editorial) Plenty of other states will have a stake in the outcome of Utah‟s vote Nov. 6 on whether that state will start handing out money to parents who enroll their kids in private schools. Conservative state lawmakers and some parents are on one side of Utah‟s referendum question, and public school supporters other. Both sides have been pouring millions of dollars into the debate. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the voucher program earlier this year that gives parents $500 to $3,000 per child, depending on income, to spend on tuition at a private school — read that religious school, in many cases. Unlike voucher programs in other states, even affluent families in well-performing districts qualify for the handouts. Apart from the dubious question of using tax dollars to help fund religious education, there are other matters involved. Utah spends less per student on public schools than any other state, and has the nation‟s largest class sizes. That is why teacher unions in Arizona, Wyoming, Ohio and Maine, among other states, are donating money to fight the Utah voucher program. The National Education Association leads the way with a donation of about $1.2 million. Voucher proponents say the program gives parents, particularly the poor, a choice in which schools their children can attend. They also say it will reduce class sizes in public schools and leave more money to spend on remaining students — a doubtful premise. Opponents offer their own arguments: n Public schools would lose federal money if enrollment falls. n The Legislature does not spend the same amount for the same programs every year. n The cost of paying building debt and many staff salaries would remain the same regardless of how many students are in public school. n Kids with special needs cost more to educate, and private schools do not have to accept them. Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman says, tepidly, that he supports the vouchers, but he has been skittish, avoiding public appearances in support of the plan and most recently limiting his public remarks to telling voters to become informed on the issue. Huntsman can read the poll numbers, which show most of the voters opposing vouchers. Utah could do plenty for education without a voucher program. The state is sitting on a budget surplus of more than half a billion dollars, which suggests lawmakers could be more generous to public schools if they choose. Private schools certainly have a place in education, but not at taxpayers‟ expense. FROM THE IDAHO FALLS POST REGISTER (PASSWORD REQUIRED) District asking for $11.5 million By SONJA DECATO email@example.com Fremont County school officials say they need the money for new classrooms and facility upgrades. Fremont School District officials are asking voters to approve an $11.5 million bond to make room at Central Elementary School for all of its students. Trustees say the money will be used to add classrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and multipurpose room and remodel the 33-year-old school. The bond election is Dec. 4. "Conditions at the school are entirely inadequate for the number of students at that school," said James Newbauer, a school board member. The past few years, the school has overflowed with students, forcing administrators to divvy up the library to create more classrooms and the students to share one set of bathrooms. The school was built for 265 students but is housing 400. And the growth does not appear to be slowing down. Last year, it had 50 more kindergarten students than the year before, and this year's enrollment is up 20 students from last year. "It's too small," Principal Delray Davenport said. Fremont officials asked voters to approve a $19.2 million bond earlier this year to build a new elementary school, a new auditorium, renovate Central and add on to Ashton Elementary School, but it failed. Officials said they believe this scaled-back bond request has a better chance of passing. "The feedback we got was that we spread ourselves too thin," said Craig Summers, the district's business manager. "This bond is just for improving Central."
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