Education

Utah State Office of Education

Public schools in Utah are getting fewer federal education dollars this year than last;  due in part to federal budget cuts, but also because there are more low-income students nationwide who are in need. 

A projected nine percent reduction in Title 1 funding nationally will mean cutbacks in summer school programs, teachers and technology in many school districts and charter schools locally.

Bob Nelson

The Salt Lake County Council Tuesday unanimously approved a $350,000 expansion of voluntary preschool for at-risk children. It’s a public-private partnership between the County and Goldman Sachs, along with help from philanthropist J.B. Pritzker. Brenda Van Gorder is the Granite School District Preschool Services Director. She says kids who started as at-risk youth in district pre-school are entering 6th grade in the fall and are turning out to be great kids.

Utah schools will be getting a little extra boost from the School LAND Trust Program.  The state treasurer announced Friday that school trust fund investments received record earnings, pushing the total value over 1.6 billion dollars at the end of the state’s fiscal year in June.

Hill Air Force Base Motorcycle Safety Program

Drivers from Layton to Ogden including West Haven and South Weber may be affected by the 4th Annual “See Me Save Me” Motorcycle Ride from the Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum Thursday morning. Alan Woods is the motorcycle safety program manager at Hill Air Force Base. He says he’s expecting about 500 motorcycle riders to gather for the event tomorrow beginning at 10:30.

Bob Nelson

A legislative audit released today accuses the University of Utah of competing with private businesses by selling U of U merchandise at its off-campus “Red Zone” stores. The audit says the university needs to change the way it does business or state lawmakers should step in.

Republican State Representative Johnny Anderson says he first became concerned about Higher Education competing with the private sector last year when employees of the Dixie State College- run television station were under fire for leasing its broadcast vehicle out for non-university purposes.

Investigators have released a summary of their investigation into the University of Utah swim team and its embattled former coach.  The team was hired by the University’s Board of Trustees to research and review evidence linked to ousted coach Greg Winslow’s alleged misconduct and the University’s response to those allegations.

Student loan interest rates are set to double on Monday after members of Congress failed to agree on how to keep costs down before a July 1 deadline. 

Next week, interest rates on Federal Subsidized Stafford loans will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.John Curl is director of financial aid and scholarships at the University of Utah, where he says student’s take out between 9 and 10,000 individual subsidized loans each year. But he says they won’t feel the sting of higher interest rates until after graduation.

Many students who are enrolled in charter schools across the nation are gaining on their traditional public school peers in some academic areas. But according to a new independent study out of Stanford University, Utah charter Schools are lagging behind. 

The conservative Sutherland Institute released a report today weighing Utah’s current method for selecting candidates to the state school board against possible alternatives. Some with the think tank say that despite widespread dissatisfaction with the current process, Utah lawmakers have been slow to agree on a new one. 

The University of Utah has named a new dean and director of the J. Willard Marriott Library. Alberta Comer will replace Joyce Ogburn as dean and University Librarian.

It’s quite a job overseeing the Marriott Library. It’s the largest state-funded academic library in the Intermountain West and it holds more than three million books and thousands of digital books, articles, photographs and recordings. Michael Hardman is the Interim Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Utah. He says that Comer is already skilled and experienced in leading libraries.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the county can strengthen its supportive role in education by first investing in early intervention and afterschool programs. McAdams was speaking at the county’s first annual Education Summit at the Granite School District headquarters. 

McAdams is looking for ways to double the number of after school programs in the county.

Granite and Park City School Districts are getting a funding boost for their pre-school programs, thanks to an investment deal with Goldman Sachs and Chicago investor J.B. Pritzker. The money will provide hundreds of low-income kids in those districts access to pre-school programs for which they might otherwise be wait-listed.

New U Grad School Dean

Jun 7, 2013
University of Utah Department of Physics and Astronomy

  The head of the University of Utah’s Physics and Astronomy Department has been named Dean of the Graduate School.

Dave Kieda helped to build the U’s astronomy faculty by recruiting new talent from across the country.  He also has research projects underway with observatories across the country.

But he says he’ll have important responsibilities for other non-science disciplines in his new job, especially in making up for cuts in federal funding.

Salt Lake City residents will see an increase in their property taxes next year to help pay for area public schools. The Salt Lake City School Board approved the hike on Tuesday, saying the additional revenues will fill a gap in the statewide education budget lawmakers passed this year. 

Despite a 2 percent increase in per pupil spending by the state for the 2013-2014 school year, members of the Salt Lake City School Board say it’s not enough to pay the bills.

File: S.J. Quinney College of Law

Officials and alumni from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law celebrated the groundbreaking of the new building on the southwest corner of the campus Tuesday morning. Dignitaries who spoke on the occasion included University President David Pershing and Hiram Chodosh, the Dean of the Law College. Chodosh says when they started this centennial project 7 years ago many close friends questioned whether he was being realistic about its completion at such an economically challenging time. 

http://www.naperville-lib.org/

The Salt Lake City Public Library named an Illinois native John Spears as its new executive director on Thursday. The selection follows a year-long, nationwide recruitment process that began after the library’s former executive director stepped down. 

Thirty-nine-year-old John Spears comes to Salt Lake City after leading a public library system in the Chicago suburb of Naperville for about two years. Library Board President Kevin Werner says he was looking for an effective collaborator, communicator and manager who can think strategically about the future.

File: Alma Allred

The electric shuttle bus project that would move through the middle of the University of Utah campus is another step closer to reality following a public open house Thursday on campus. Alma Allred, the director of the University’s Commuter Services says this shuttle will cut the commute time from the South Campus TRAX station to the north side of campus to 7 minutes, down from a maximum of 25 minutes. He says a major portion of the students come through that station.

Dan Bammes

  A crowd cheered Wednesday as volunteer Rin Harris started up a bulldozer to break ground for new athletic fields for Rowland Hall - St. Mark's School in Salt Lake City.  It took years of work and an act of Congress for the school to buy the 13-acre property between Guardsman Way and the Mount Olivet cemetery.  The initial plan calls for soccer fields and restrooms that will be used by both the younger students who go to school next door and older students who currently attend classes down the hill on Lincoln Street.

Utah philanthropist and arts education advocate Beverley Taylor Sorenson has died at the age of 89. Beverley and her late husband James LeVoy Sorenson devoted millions of dollars to cultural, educational, and scientific projects in the state.

The Salt Lake City School Board discussed the possibility of a property tax increase last night. District officials say a 3.47 percent increase is needed to sustain current programs and provide a salary increase for teachers. 

The property tax increase amounts to an additional $12.65 a year for a taxpayer who owns a $100,000 home. 

Governor Gary Herbert ceremonially signed a package of student safety bills this morning at Cyprus High School in Magna. He also spoke to students about preventing suicide among kids in Utah. 

The new laws are aimed at preventing youth suicide, bullying and teen traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. But the occasion was mostly focused on suicide, which according to the Utah Department of Health is the second leading cause of death among Utah youth and young adults.

Utah State Office of Education

Delegates to the Utah Republican Party Convention will consider a resolution this weekend calling for the state's withdrawal from the Common Core academic standards. The resolution comes on the heels of the Republican National Committee’s decision to take a stand against the initiative as well. But education officials say the statements within the resolution are “less-than-accurate”.

A new charter school in Utah wants to equip students in kindergarten through ninth grade with a solid foundation in business.

Students' daily lessons are peppered with concepts like sales and marketing, finance and entrepreneurship, says first-grade teacher Tammy Hill. "And that plays into leadership and improved math skills. And finance plays into every part of their lives."

The exhibit called Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times is coming to The Leonardo in Salt Lake City this November. In making the announcement Wednesday, the museum’s director Alexandra Hesse  says it’s the largest collection of ancient artifacts ever displayed outside of Israel. She says Brigham Young University as well as the city’s Interfaith Roundtable will be adding expertise and dialogue to the exhibit.

Bob Nelson

As the National Day of Silence approaches this Friday the 19th, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center is honoring allies who reach out to people who are marginalized to give mutual respect and inclusion. Kai Martinez is the director of the center located on the campus of the University of Utah. He says Ally Awareness Week puts the focus on the support system.

Bob Nelson

University of Utah College of Pharmacy today dedicated the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute. The Dean of the school, Dr. Chris Ireland, says the 150-thousand square foot expansion honors Sam Skaggs by striving to be the top pharmacy school in the nation.

“My message is really a very simple one and that’s that without Sam’s vision and Sam’s generosity, says Ireland, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah as we know it today, would not exist.” Utah Senator Evan Vickers of Cedar City is a graduate of the U’s School of Pharmacy. He recalled a lesson his father taught him.

The Navajo Nation now has the authority to access the assessment data of Navajo students throughout Utah.  Navajo representatives joined state education officials this morning to sign a memorandum of understanding that will help the two entities cooperate in sharing the data. 

For years federal privacy laws barred Navajo Nation education officials from accessing student-specific achievement data because it wasn’t considered a state agency. But recent changes to the law have made tribal education agencies eligible.  

The Utah State Office of Education is seeking the Attorney General’s opinion on what type of student data should be published. The board is asking the Attorney General to reconcile two state statutes they say cause the confusion. But not everyone believes a conflict exists.

Some argue classroom-level testing data allows the public to see how teachers perform. While others say the numbers could be read out of context. 

The Utah board of regents today approved some of the lowest tuition increases in a decade. 

Bob Nelson

The Utah Foundation’s annual meeting Thursday deals with two traditionally conflicting issues facing Utahns, education and transportation. The foundation organizes the Utah Priorities Project along with the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. Stephen Kroes , the president of the Utah Foundation says conflicts between education and transportation going forward need to end.

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