Archive for February, 2013
On Monday, I posted some information about possible local cuts to Head Start that came from the Washington Association of Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs.
Included in that blog was the possibility that if the automatic cuts known as the sequester go through on March 1, that could cause the Opportunity Council to cut about 18 slots from its Head Start program.
Whatcom County Councilman Ken Mann, who has a blog on The Herald’s website, posted a message from Opportunity Council executive director Dave Finet calling those numbers inaccurate. Finet said the nonprofit will “look at a number of other options before cutting slots for children.” He said that he has not received any guidance from Head Start about how the reduction would be administered or a time frame.
The local numbers that I posted came from the Washington Association of Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs, a statewide organization composed of representatives from Head Start, Early Head Start, Migrant Head Start, Native American Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.
Here is Finet’s full message, as posted on Mann’s blog:
I just wanted to let you all know the Herald Blog this morning that states 18 children would be cut from Opportunity Council’s Head Start program as a result of sequestration is misleading.
If sequestration does occur it would be about a 5.3% reduction in funding. At this time we have not received any guidance from Head Start or any of our other federal funding sources regarding how this reduction would be administered and the timeframe.
Last night I accompanied David Webster and ELAFS staff to the Head Start/Early Head Start/ECEAP policy council meeting where we encaged in a good discussion with parent representatives regarding options when and if there is sequestration and our funding is reduced. A reduction in funding does not necessarily mean we would be reducing the number of children served, we would look at a number of other options before cutting slots for children.
David has developed a thoughtful process that will be discussed by agency management, our funders, our Board of Directors, Early Learning Committee and Policy Council.
As things develop we will keep you posted. There will probably be a number of other inaccuracies in the news that sensationalize or misrepresent how we might handle reductions in funding here at the agency. If you have questions please feel free to direct them to me or one of our department directors to get the real scoop.
As with any reduction in funding there are tough choices but we don’t have enough information yet to make any firm decisions. We are used to reductions in funding, we are a resilient bunch and you can rest assured we will get through this with minimum impact to the people we serve and our employees.
Thanks and have a good day.
Construction at Meridian High School is plugging along, with teachers set to move into a new building after spring break.
Check out The Herald’s photo gallery of the demolition of the school’s old gym, shot by photographer Phil Dwyer.
Western Washington University students receiving federal financial aid will be able to receive the same amount of aid if the sequester occurs, as the school has pledged to use reserve funds to offset any possible cuts.
The automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester could go into effect Friday, March 1. For college students using federal financial aid, that could mean less money for school.
The school will draw on its reserves to keep students at their current aid levels through the end of this year and for 2013-14.
Here’s what WWU President Bruce Shepard had to say in a news release:
“The increasing likelihood of federal budget cuts is occurring at a time critical to our students and their families. Western students – those continuing and those anticipating coming — and their families are making financial plans for the next academic year. Western is also in the midst of awarding financial aid. Western is acting today to seek to lessen some of the uncertainty students and families may be feeling,” Shepard said. “This is the right thing to do. The university is strongly committed to our students’ success, and is constantly looking for ways to enhance access and affordability.”
I’m working on a more detailed story about this issue and whether other local colleges will be doing the same for their students.
Dozens of Whatcom County children could be cut from local Head Start and Early Head Start programs if the automatic, across-the-board cuts known as the sequester are allowed to occur.
Those cuts are set to go into effect March 1, with impacts for education, public health, federal jobs and more.
In Washington state, more than 1,000 children could be cut from Head Start, a federal program that provides education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.
In Whatcom County, about 18 children would be cut from the Opportunity Council’s Head Start program, nearly 12 from the Lummi Indian Business Council program and more than three from the Nooksack Indian Tribe’s program.
Do you think the automatic spending cuts should be allowed to go through, or should Congress avoid them by any means necessary?
Washington voters approved $1.7 billion in taxes, passing 49 of 50 school levies in special elections this month, according to the League of Education Voters.
Those levies can support construction, maintenance and operation costs at districts throughout the state. Bellingham School District likely will put out a bond to voters this year to pay for construction and updating at its facilities.
Here’s what the League of Education Voters had to say about these levies and how they push education costs from the state to local districts:
Although a frequent theme of last year’s governor’s race and this year’s legislative session is that voters will not support revenue to pay for education, local election results stand in stark contrast to that narrative.
In many districts, local levies make up 25 percent or more of the total operating costs of their schools. These local dollars often pay for necessary school costs like staff salaries, textbooks, or a sixth period in school—a far cry from the “extras” they were originally intended to provide.
In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in McCleary v. Washington that the state was not meeting its constitutionally mandated duty to fully fund basic education. The court ordered the Legislature to overhaul how education is funded in the state by 2018.
Do you think that levies are a good way to supplement falling state funding? If taxpayers are paying for schools whether it’s through levies at the district level or through state funding, should Congress increase its funding for education?
More Washington students took Advanced Placement tests in 2012, and scores on those tests increased as well, according to the College Board’s “AP Report to the Nation.”
Nearly 33 percent of students in the class of 2012 took at least one AP exam, up 6.6 from the year before and up 62.5 percent from 2002.
Twenty percent of 12th-graders got a 3 or better on the test last year, compared to 9.6 percent in 2002. A score of 3 or better can usually qualify for college credit.
Washington ranked 15th in the country for its percentage of 12th-graders scoring 3 or higher on the test.
Police were called to Blaine High School Wednesday, Feb. 13, after a Rollerblading man interrupted a class full of students, according to the Blaine Police Department.
The 32-year-old man told police he had entered the campus via a back driveway and was hoping to take a shortcut across the school grounds. He got lost amid the buildings and accidentally skated into the classroom while trying to find his way off of the campus, Blaine Police Chief Mike Haslip said.
There were about 30 students in the class who stared at him as he stood there for a couple seconds before skating back out of the room and off campus.
Faculty at the school called police as soon as they found out he was on the campus. A few minutes later, police got a tip that the man was at Ace Hardware, where they found him looking at merchandise.
His behavior at the school gave police cause to cite him for disorderly conduct and trespassing. An officer found a 2-inch pocket knife in the man’s pocket, though he never referred to it or made threats at the school or the store.
Teachers and administrators could carry concealed weapons at schools if the Safer Schools Act of 2013 makes it through the state House and Senate.
Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, introduced a bill earlier this month that would allow qualified school personnel to undergo training to be able to conceal carry firearms in Washington schools pursuant to an adopted school safety plan.
Here’s what Pike had to say about the bill:
“In many of our public places, we have an armed security presence. In many of our schools, we do not. Those who want to harm our children know they can walk into some of our schools and meet little resistance. This makes our students and teachers vulnerable. The Safe Schools Act would provide an option to school boards to improve the safety of their children while they are in school – based on the desires of their communities. It would also empower teachers and supplement local law enforcement in the event of a school shooting.”
The bill hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing in the House.
What do you think of the idea of teachers and staff carrying concealed weapons in schools?
A young teenage girl in Blaine reported that a suspicious man asked her if she wanted a ride while she was walking Friday, Feb. 8, according to the Blaine Police Department.
The girl told police she was walking downtown on H Street between Harrison Avenue and 4th Street at 5:30 p.m. when a van quickly came to a stop alongside her. The vehicle and driver were unfamiliar to her. The man driving asked her if he could give her a ride home and she ran away to the Blaine Public Library, where she called her parents for a ride. The man didn’t follow her when she ran.
Blaine police would like to interview the driver, described as a thin, balding man with patchy facial hair and dark circles under his eyes, estimated to be 30 to 40 years old. The van was older and light brown with tinted windows.
People with information can call 360-332-6769.
Sounds like someone swiped the “no trespassing” sign that made indirect gun threats across from Fairhaven Middle School.
Read here to find out more.
What are your thoughts on someone stealing the sign?