Education News for 04-04-2012

Statewide Education News

  • Could student loans fuel the next crisis? (Dispatch)
  • WASHINGTON — The federal student-loan program seemed like a great idea back in 1965: Borrow to go to college now, pay it back later when you have a job. But many borrowers these days are close to flunking out, tripped up by painful real-life lessons in math and economics. Surging above $1trillion, U.S. student-loan debt has surpassed credit-card and auto-loan debt. This debt explosion jeopardizes the fragile recovery, increases the burden on taxpayers and possibly sets the stage for a new economic crisis. Read More…

  • Special ed spending triples in some districts (Dayton Daily News)
  • Special education spending for public school districts has increased dramatically in the past decade, with local suburban districts spending double, triple and even quadruple the amount they spent just nine years ago, despite only a marginal increase in the number of students. Local educators say the more severe needs of these students, state and federal mandates requiring this care and advances in related technology are at the heart of the increase in costs, although inflation and the rising cost of educating all students also play a role. Read More…

  • Cleveland Teachers Union and Mayor Frank Jackson make progress on schools plan compromise, but still no agreement on 'fresh start' (Plain Dealer)
  • CLEVELAND - Mayor Frank Jackson and the Cleveland Teachers Union could not reach agreement on two disputed parts of the mayor's schools plan Tuesday, but state legislators plan to introduce the measure today in Columbus anyway. The mayor and union met for three hours at City Hall Tuesday and left with each side saying they made substantial progress on one of the final sticking points – how to fix failing schools – but had little discussion on the other – Jackson's desire to throw out all previous contracts and negotiate a new one with a so-called "fresh start" provision. Read More…

  • Profane tweet puts student in legal no man’s land (Dispatch)
  • INDIANAPOLIS — Austin Carroll, 17, was fighting insomnia in the middle of the night when he turned to Twitter for relief and casually dropped the F-word multiple times, apparently to demonstrate to his followers that the expletive would fit almost anywhere in a sentence. But a few days later, the Indiana teen was expelled from high school over his foul-mouthed lapse, even though the word wasn’t directed at anyone, and he says the tweet didn’t involve his school. Read More…

Local Issues

  • $6 million in goofs cost Columbus schools (Dispatch)
  • The Columbus school district owes a total of almost $6 million to six suburban districts for billing errors it made on the Win-Win agreement, a problem that a consultant figured out in 2010 but that the districts have never publicly discussed. Last fall, Columbus apparently pleaded for leniency in secret negotiations, while the suburban districts demanded full payment, documents show. The suburban districts threatened to sue in January and halted new payments to the Columbus district, suggesting instead that the money be put in a “settlement account.” Read More…

  • Mathews schools chief urges caution on drilling funds (Vindicator)
  • VIENNA - The Mathews schools superintendent warned that the district’s decision to sign oil-and-gas drilling leases on nearly 90 acres of its property does not mean the schools are about to get a financial windfall. “There is no guarantee anyone is getting anything yet,” Superintendent Lewis Lowery cautioned board members Tuesday shortly before their unanimous vote to authorize the lease signatures. Read More…

  • Young Audiences' arts-based, job-training program popular with Cleveland-area teens (Plain Dealer)
  • CLEVELAND - Teenage business partners sat around a long folding table in the Halle Building, rolling brightly colored polymer clay into beads and exchanging ideas about their project -- an upcoming show to sell and display uniquely designed jewelry and mosaics. Brittany Nemitz, 17, of Cleveland, gingerly tried on an edgy green necklace and earrings crafted with beads handmade by her cohorts. "I think it works because the colors look really cool together," the online high school student said. Read More…

  • City schools ban tobacco in all forms in all places (Dispatch)
  • The Columbus Board of Education banned any use of tobacco on district property — including in its vehicles — at last night’s meeting. The seven-member school board voted unanimously to expand its ban on smoking to include an outright ban on all tobacco use, adding smokeless products such as “dip,” “chew” and “snuff” to its previous ban on cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Superintendent Gene Harris said she will implement the change starting with the next school year, to give everyone time to understand the new policy and its implications. Read More…

  • Mayor's school plan rollout Wednesday (WKYC 3 NBC)
  • CLEVELAND - A three-hour session that ended about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday failed to resolve two remaining issues in Mayor Frank Jackson's transformation plan for Cleveland schools. That means the plan will be introduced Wednesday to state lawmakers containing provisions the teacher's union opposes. CTU President David Quolke said some progress had been made on how to deal with teachers in failing schools that had closed but no progress was made on Mayor Jackson's wish to make over the current contract. The latter proposal is called "Fresh Start." Read More…

  • Changes needed to stave off deficits, West Muskingum superintendent says (Times Recorder)
  • ZANESVILLE - The West Muskingum Local School District is facing budget deficits in each of the next five years because of rising costs and shrinking state funding and enrollments. With levies not an option after six consecutive failures at the ballot box, officials are considering several proposed strategies -- from redistricting students to make better use of staff and classroom space to rolling out a virtual school to keep more students in the district. Read More…

  • Richmond Heights School Board considering cutting positions (News-Herald)
  • The Richmond Heights School Board will look to make cuts to overcome a projected deficit of nearly $900,000 in fiscal year 2013. The board currently has almost a $210,000 deficit for fiscal 2012, which ends June 30. In order to balance the year-end budget, Treasurer Brenda Brcak will request an advance distribution from the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer, effectively borrowing a minimum of $300,000 from the district’s fiscal 2013 revenue. Read More…

  • School officials take new tack on tax plea (Blade)
  • In what became a fiercely contested election, voters in the Rossford school district rejected a bond levy two years ago to build new middle and high schools. An opposition group arose to rally against the tax, and ultimately, the $50 million proposal was rejected by 65 percent of the voters. Now, as the district is preparing to ask voters a second time, school officials say they have learned a lesson from the defeat and are taking a different approach. Read More…

  • Gay student sues Ohio school over right to wear T-shirt (Dispatch)
  • CINCINNATI — A gay student whose high school prohibited him from wearing a T-shirt designed to urge tolerance of gays is suing the school, saying it’s violating his rights to freedom of expression. The mother of 16-year-old Maverick Couch filed the federal lawsuit on his behalf against Wayne Local School District and its Waynesville High School principal. Couch, a junior at the southwestern Ohio high school, has been threatened by school officials with suspension if he wears the shirt, which bears the message “Jesus is not a homophobe,” the lawsuit says. Read More…

Editorial

  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's school reform plan just another battle in war on public education (Plain Dealer)
  • Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's recent school reform plan, when taken in a larger context, is really just the latest chapter in what we in the education profession have been fighting for several years now -- a nationwide War on Public Education. Although the battles in this war have been fought on different terrain, the elements of each are always the same -- money, the elimination of political opposition and, like any good witch hunt, scapegoats. Read More…

  • Bus fare (Beacon Journal)
  • Gov. John Kasich and many state lawmakers often claim that Ohio’s public schools spend too little on classroom instruction compared to non-instructional services. The point is used to press school officials to seek cost-effective practices outside the classroom. Efficiency is a worthy goal, no question. The Statehouse would do well, in that light, to examine mandates that put heavy strains, financial and otherwise, on school districts. Transportation is one such factor, as John Higgins, a Beacon Journal staff writer, explained Sunday in relation to the Akron Public Schools. Read More…