Education News Roundup: Dec. 9, 2013

School Buses at Capitol

School Buses at Capitol

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Congratulations to new Utah State Board of Education Chair Tami Pyfer and Vice Chairs David Crandall and David Thomas.
http://goo.gl/334k8B  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/lqOjif  (LHJ)

State Board continues its conversation on educator misconduct.
http://goo.gl/EwvoVp  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/WSngFh  (DN)
and http://goo.gl/ApWsQa  (KSL)

Trib talks about merit pay.
http://goo.gl/o1tKJq  (SLT)

Sen. Osmond discusses his proposed education bills.
http://goo.gl/2P5WCY  (UPC)

Teachers unions plan rallies today across the country.
http://goo.gl/p3ZJK0 (Politico)
and http://goo.gl/mMHqUW  (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah Ed board elects new chair
Education » USU instructor to stress communication.

Utah delays new guidelines for punishing bad teachers Education » Final report still months away.

Trib Talk: Performance-based pay for teachers

UPC Episode 54! Special Guest: Senator Aaron Osmond

Legal analysis supports Utah’s law on getting federal land

Children practice strategy in chess tournament

NAACP says first-graders in Layton play wore blackface

School district examines safety of walking, biking routes

‘Deseret News Sunday Edition’ looks at Sharia law, women in computer science, football and faith’s influence on education

MLMS students win $10,000 in Thermo Fisher science fair

West High senior named Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year

Tooele students represent Utah in Pearl Harbor Parade

Lego competition tests youths’ skills

Scholarship gala held to help young African American males

Bonneville High works on ‘Shop with a Hero’ for needy children

Teacher directs her last Christmas choir at Mapleton celebration

Students read ‘A Christmas Carol’ to see musical for free

Boiler unit freezes at Highland Junior High; classes canceled

St. George high school team stranded overnight in Arizona road closure

Washington County Schools, Dixie State, will be in session

Alpine School District announces Advanced Learner Lab testing

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Education funding needs governor’s leadership Herbert’s school funding inadequate

Prepare for the ACT by taking it

Time to reclaim the promise of education

Performance pay

School district now owns us

Some parents too involved with their kids

Emphasis on financial education helps Utah teens

Students disappointed when sports trump arts

Who Says Math Has to Be Boring?

Pre-K Education Is a Long-Term Winner
At $10,000 per child yearly, high-quality early education is a bargain.

Common Core is dead, but common sense shouldn’t be

Building pathways: How to develop the next generation of transformational school leaders

NATION

Teachers unions face moment of truth

O.E.C.D. Warns West on Education Gaps

Easton Area School District files arguments for U.S. Supreme Court review in ‘boobies’ case Easton district argues appeals court misapplied landmark rulings on student speech.

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah Ed board elects new chair
Education » USU instructor to stress communication.

Tami Pyfer, of Logan, a special education instructor at Utah State University and former Logan City Council member, is the new chairwoman of the Utah Board of Education
Pyfer was elected on the second ballot, defeating two colleagues who will be the board’s new vice chairmen, Dave Crandall, of Draper, and David L. Thomas, of South Weber.
Pyfer replaces Debra Roberts, of Beaver, who has been chairwoman for the past five years.
One of Pyfer’s key goals, she said, is communication. Board members need a greater presence at the Capitol and in their local school districts, she said. It can’t be left to the Utah Office of Education to represent education, she said.
http://goo.gl/334k8B  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/lqOjif (LHJ)

Utah delays new guidelines for punishing bad teachers Education » Final report still months away.

It will be spring 2014 before Utahns get a look at new disciplinary guidelines being proposed for teachers who get into trouble.
In the latest twist in a lengthy and divisive debate, the state Board of Education learned Friday that a task force it created in January to examine teacher-misconduct issues has gathered bids from outside lawyers for a $15,000 contract to write the new guidelines.
Task force chairman Dave Crandall said the bids will be screened next week in hopes of awarding the contract, which gives the winner three months to do its review and report back. The lawyers chosen will also study procedures used by the state licensing panel that investigates teacher misconduct, the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission, or UPPAC.
Key board members have been at odds with UPPAC and its staff for months, repeatedly questioning licensing sanctions that the panel has recommended against teachers accused of a range of misconduct, including sexual improprieties, student boundary violations, fiscal mismanagement and inappropriate drug and alcohol use on school grounds.
http://goo.gl/EwvoVp  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/WSngFh  (DN)

http://goo.gl/ApWsQa  (KSL)

Trib Talk: Performance-based pay for teachers

Northwest Middle School had a problem.
Students at the Salt Lake City school consistently scored abysmally in math, science and writing and students were, on average, only reading at a fourth-grade level.
So three years ago, school administrators at this public school made a course correction. They instituted performance pay based on student test scores. Last week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to town to applaud the results.
On Monday at 12:15 p.m., assistant principal Rachel Nance, teacher Javier Viana and Salt Lake Tribune reporter Kristen Moulton join Jennifer Napier-Pearce to examine the Northwest model and if bonus pay is financially sustainable in a cash-strapped state with a lot of kids like Utah.
http://goo.gl/o1tKJq  (SLT)

UPC Episode 54! Special Guest: Senator Aaron Osmond

Welcome to this week’s episode of the UPC show!
This week, Curtis welcomes UPC researcher, Dave McGee into the studio along with special guest: Senator Aaron Osmond (Republican – South Jordan).
The pair interviewed Osmond for the full hour as the senator expanded on his ideas surrounding compulsory education, a topic which came back into focus Tuesday when Osmond released the details of three bills Osmond intends to run during the upcoming legislative session.
Are private/homeschooled students given advantages under Osmond’s proposal? Are the poor placed at a disadvantage thanks to proposed contractual agreements? Is his legislation simply rhetoric from conservative organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? Do public schools even have the resources necessary to achieve these goals? Osmond answers all of these questions and more during the frank discussion.
http://goo.gl/2P5WCY  (UPC)

Legal analysis supports Utah’s law on getting federal land

SALT LAKE CITY — A new analysis says Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act is a viable and defensible way for the state to control more of the land within its borders by rightfully getting that land from the federal government, despite critics who assert the law is blatantly unconstitutional.
Commissioned by the Sutherland Institute’s Center for Self Government in the West, the analysis by attorney and constitutional scholar Carrie Ann Donnell lays out the legal case for HB148, which was signed into law in 2012.
http://goo.gl/ufmxiy  (DN)

Children practice strategy in chess tournament

SPRINGVILLE — Ethan Mageno was warming up on a chessboard outside the school gym on Saturday morning. He and hundreds of other elementary age kids from Nebo School District were there to play in the Art City Invitational Chess Tournament in Springville.
http://goo.gl/GY5HiL  (PDH)

NAACP says first-graders in Layton play wore blackface

LAYTON — The NAACP has charged a Christmas play performed Thursday at a Layton charter school was racist in nature because students were made up in blackface during the performance.
But the school’s top administrator said Friday the performance was never intended to offend, but rather to celebrate a Spanish tradition.
The charge by the NAACP was made against the North Davis Preparatory Academy, a private K-9 charter school in Layton. The school is not part of the Davis School District, which means it is not governed by the Davis school board, but rather by a group of parent volunteers.
http://goo.gl/lQJCHR  (OSE)

School district examines safety of walking, biking routes

SALT LAKE CITY — Are the walking and biking routes to schools in the Canyons School District safe? District officials are asking the schools to look over their routes to see if there are any problems.
At the beginning of last school year, there were dozens of boundary changes in the district, which had a big effect on walking routes. So, it’s important that staffers in each school see if there are any safety concerns.
http://goo.gl/seRv2T  (KSL)

‘Deseret News Sunday Edition’ looks at Sharia law, women in computer science, football and faith’s influence on education


The second segment of the show focuses on education and the need for more women in computer science fields. Kirk Love explains why women are often discouraged from entering the field and offers ideas to parents on how to engage your girls in computer science.
Two Texas students who want to be on the vanguard in making the digital universe more welcoming to women also shared their experiences.
http://goo.gl/WKG6kY  (DN)

MLMS students win $10,000 in Thermo Fisher science fair

Students from Mount Logan Middle School walked away with a check for $10,000 after clinching first place in the Thermo Fisher Scientific Applied Science Solutions Program Finals. The team bested five others on Saturday after presenting their project on water for developing nations.
The six finalists were chosen to present their projects in more depth after being selected from a group of semifinalists that presented their work to Thermo Fisher judges back in November.
http://goo.gl/5N37E2  (LHJ)

West High senior named Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year

SALT LAKE CITY — Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake has announced that Evelyn Salazar has been named Youth of the Year for 2014.
Evelyn, a 17-year-old senior at West High School, competed for the honor among candidates from other Boys & Girls Clubs in the area.
http://goo.gl/9KUMVZ  (DN)

Tooele students represent Utah in Pearl Harbor Parade

TOOELE — Lots of ceremonies and events took place in Hawaii Saturday, as the nation remembered the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Tooele High School’s marching band was among those invited to participate in the commemoration events.
Every year, marching bands from states that had a battleship lost in the 1941 attack are chosen to participate in the Pearl Harbor Parade. Tooele students found out in January they’d be marching in Saturday’s parade.
http://goo.gl/wWEsnS  (KSL)

Lego competition tests youths’ skills

ST. GEORGE — Children between the ages of 9 and 14 put computer programming and strategy-forming skills to the test Saturday to turn technology into a means of helping people get through ‘Nature’s Fury,’ the theme of this year’s Utah FIRST Lego League competition.
http://goo.gl/yvrTRa  (SGS)

Scholarship gala held to help young African American males

SALT LAKE CITY – A scholarship gala with a goal of helping young African American males transition to college and find success was held in Salt Lake City Sunday.
The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity hosted their first Alpha Beautillion Scholarship Gala at the Grand America Hotel.
The fraternity, along with groups like Jack & Jill, The Urban League, the NAACP and 100 Black Men, works to instill a belief in African culture, scholastic advancement and individual self-efficacy, according to a press release from event organizers.
http://goo.gl/m3a2pr  (KSTU)

Bonneville High works on ‘Shop with a Hero’ for needy children

WASHINGTON TERRACE — Students at Bonneville High School have been busy showing off their talents, selling pizza, pancakes and hot chocolate, auctioning off dates and playing the part of Santa’s elves in the parking lot — all to raise money so children can have a Merry Christmas.
http://goo.gl/xMfUtu  (OSE)

Teacher directs her last Christmas choir at Mapleton celebration

It’s a tradition going back almost two decades for the first grade children at Mapleton Elementary to sing at the annual Christmas lighting ceremony at the park. This is the last year teacher Ginnie Snyder is conducting the choir as she is retiring at the end of the school year.
http://goo.gl/u1DCrQ  (PDH)

Students read ‘A Christmas Carol’ to see musical for free

Students in Cache County can go see the Four Seasons Theatre Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol” for free this year. All they have to do is read the original book by Charles Dickens.
http://goo.gl/ifqq77  (LHJ)

Boiler unit freezes at Highland Junior High; classes canceled

OGDEN — All classes were canceled today at Highland Junior High School due to a heating problem.
Extreme low temperatures overnight resulted in a frozen boiler coil impacting the building heating system, accordig to the Ogden School District. Highland Junior High, 325 Gramercy, serves 864 students.
http://goo.gl/YSSTkF  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/lRJqWv  (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/4eiWwD  (KSTU)

St. George high school team stranded overnight in Arizona road closure

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A bus full of about 50 Desert Hills High School students on their way back from a cross country track meet in California became among hundreds of others stranded overnight after icy conditions on Interstate 15 along Arizona’s Virgin River Gorge caused the highway to shut down Saturday night.
http://goo.gl/mzUjvW  (KTVX)

Washington County Schools, Dixie State, will be in session

WASHINGTON COUNTY – There will be no “snow day” for Washington County students Monday. It’s back to school as usual despite the countywide public safety alert from Saturday urging people to avoid driving in light of the heavy snow storm and icy conditions impacting the region.
Washington County School District and Dixie State University will be in session.
http://goo.gl/nOpIRJ  (SGN)

Alpine School District announces Advanced Learner Lab testing

AMERICAN FORK — Testing for the 2014-15 Alpine School District Advanced Learner Lab program will be held on Saturdays from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1, 2014.
http://goo.gl/EQdDn4  (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Education funding needs governor’s leadership Herbert’s school funding inadequate Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Gov. Gary Herbert and his budget-building staff have sliced the revenue pie appropriately, for the most part, in the chief executive’s budget proposal for 2015.
The weakness in Herbert’s recommendations isn’t in how he would allocate existing revenue — the largest portions of the pie are pretty much already promised — but in how much revenue there is to allocate.
Following a strict no-new-tax-is-a-good-tax ideology, Herbert has tied his own hands when it comes to improving the academic success of Utah’s schoolchildren, which the governor says is his top priority. Herbert says he can only budget the revenue figures he’s agreed to with the Legislature, but that says he won’t provide the leadership needed to push for more.
The quality of public education in Utah is sliding downward, and it’s time for a serious discussion about how to boost revenue and not simply provide the mere basics for a population of children that grows larger every year.
http://goo.gl/yJybcK

Prepare for the ACT by taking it
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by Brigham Flint, a junior at Fremont High School

Since elementary school, I have taken standardized tests that were used to determine placement and test proficiency on various subjects. Just last year, I took the CRT — or Criterion-Referenced Test — in several classes.
However, taking the ACT was a completely new and eye-opening experience that I had not fully anticipated. As my junior year rolled around, I was advised to take the ACT as soon as I could. While I had a general idea of what the ACT test was from previous standardized tests, I still had a lot of questions, the first of which was what ACT even stood for — which is simply American College Testing.
http://goo.gl/6WcLA9

Time to reclaim the promise of education
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Brad Asay, president of AFT Utah

Monday December 9 has been declared a Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education. This movement, initiated by AFT (American Federation of Teachers), is designed to oppose those who demand and pursue austerity, polarization, privatization and de-professionalization of our public schools. In Utah, AFT hosted two Reclaiming the Promise of Education town hall meetings in October and November. These meetings brought educational leaders, civic leaders, legislators, and the community together to discuss the importance of supporting our public schools.
Several clear messages emerged from the dialog at these meetings. First, public school teachers and support staff are working tirelessly to make sure students succeed and are supported. Second, public school students appreciate their teachers. Third, if public schools are failing in Utah, it’s not the fault of the students or their teachers, it’s a lack of support for our public schools.
http://goo.gl/G0aQje

Performance pay
Deseret News letter from Ken Curtis

The middle-school improvements cited (“U.S. education secretary praises school improvement efforts at Northwest Middle,” Dec. 5) do not certify that emphasis on performance pay is beneficial. If a similar grant were given to a similar school situation elsewhere in Utah or in the country and given with the direction that administration and staff agree on how to spend that grant, it would result in a far more accurate portrayal of results.
In the instance of the middle school cited, it proves nothing.
http://goo.gl/3xnvGr

School district now owns us
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ralph Call

My prayers went unanswered on Nov. 5. I had prayed that the citizens of Cache County would have been wise enough to soundly turn down the enormous building slush fund proposed by the Cache County School District to construct unneeded and unwise building complexes and to spend money on existing buildings to quote, “earthquake proof them.” We have again proven in this little community that we are not adverse to gigantic debt nor have a problem with placing large amounts of money in the hands of men who have proven over the years to be dishonest and unwise.
For instance, the new bond debt was sold as costing an average household $12/month. First of all there aren’t any “average” households.
http://goo.gl/wSjHm3

Some parents too involved with their kids Salt Lake Tribune letter from Daylor Youngblood

I am an 18-year-old student at Bingham High School. I believe strongly that parents are way too involved with their students’ lives. These kids are becoming adults who need to have more responsibility. Some kids’ parents wake them up for school every morning, clean their rooms and make the beds. Students need to start doing more for themselves and stop being so dependent on their parents.
Parents also get too involved with sports.
http://goo.gl/QsH41U

Emphasis on financial education helps Utah teens Salt Lake Tribune letter from Amanda Lockhart

Stressing financial stability and know-how in Utah high schools may be the best idea the Utah Legislature has had yet.
Most college students graduate with an average of $26,000 in student loans and yet there is still almost a 9 percent unemployment rate among young college grads.
Teaching Utah students how to budget and save money, handle loans and mortgages, stay out of debt and intelligently invest could make all the difference in the way students handle money after high school.
http://goo.gl/CzAKjK

Students disappointed when sports trump arts Salt Lake Tribune letter from Madison Whitaker

As the Drama Club president of Bingham High School, I have spent many hours planning and preparing for different activities throughout the year. After spending so much time on one activity, it is very disheartening to see it canceled due to a sports event.
Every year, the officers of the Drama Club meet and plan the year’s activities around all the scheduled activities of the other departments at our school.
In November, we were forced by our administration to cancel a show by our Improv Team (a comedy theater group) due to the football semi-finals, an unforeseen event.
http://goo.gl/gEZL1y

Who Says Math Has to Be Boring?
New York Times editorial

American students are bored by math, science and engineering. They buy smartphones and tablets by the millions but don’t pursue the skills necessary to build them. Engineers and physicists are often portrayed as clueless geeks on television, and despite the high pay and the importance of such jobs to the country’s future, the vast majority of high school graduates don’t want to go after them.
Nearly 90 percent of high school graduates say they’re not interested in a career or a college major involving science, technology, engineering or math, known collectively as STEM, according to a survey of more than a million students who take the ACT test. The number of students who want to pursue engineering or computer science jobs is actually falling, precipitously, at just the moment when the need for those workers is soaring. (Within five years, there will be 2.4 million STEM job openings.)
One of the biggest reasons for that lack of interest is that students have been turned off to the subjects as they move from kindergarten to high school. Many are being taught by teachers who have no particular expertise in the subjects. They are following outdated curriculums and textbooks. They become convinced they’re “no good at math,” that math and science are only for nerds, and fall behind.
That’s because the American system of teaching these subjects is broken.
http://goo.gl/SygN9b

Pre-K Education Is a Long-Term Winner
At $10,000 per child yearly, high-quality early education is a bargain.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business

Most of us watching the looming budget showdown do so with a sense of dread. The last one left congressional approval at 9%, the president’s popularity at a new low, and consumer confidence at levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. The trouble, of course, is finding common ground on a 10-year budget framework or even on a six-week punt. Hopefully, they will find common ground.
If we are committed to evidence, though, there’s one area where we ought to be able to agree: early-childhood education. Investments in pre-kindergarten education have among the highest payoffs of any government policy, and whatever budget agreement emerges should restore the country’s long-standing commitment to early education.
The budget-sequester cuts agreed to in 2011, under the guise of saving money, have knocked as many as 70,000 kids out of such programs. How myopic. It doesn’t save money beyond the narrowest definition of the immediate term. Incarceration, special education, teen pregnancy, low earnings—avoiding these outcomes will actually save money, and early education helps achieve that.
http://goo.gl/veEhf7

Common Core is dead, but common sense shouldn’t be Fox commentary by columnist Mike Huckabee

States should demand achievement in education http://goo.gl/wij2WP

Building pathways: How to develop the next generation of transformational school leaders Bain & Company commentary by Chris Bierly, who leads Bain’s K–12 Education practice in the US, and Eileen Shy, a core leader of Bain’s K–12 Education practice

“If I were named superintendent tomorrow, my No. 1 priority would be an outstanding principal in every school. Everything else would be secondary.”
Education experts across the ideological spectrum agree that we can and must do a far better job of educating our nation’s youth. Too many students leave our public schools unqualified to compete for jobs in an increasingly global workforce. The result is slipping US competitiveness and a perpetuating cycle of poverty.
Less obvious is how to make breakthrough progress at the system level. Reformers and their opponents are engaged in ideological debates across a range of competing policy prescriptions to shape the future of school districts. Despite great progress in many districts across the country, there is a persistent lack of consensus around what works.
http://goo.gl/iA0n2f

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Teachers unions face moment of truth
Politico

It’s designed to be an impressive show of force: Thousands of unionized teachers plan to rally Monday in cities from New York to San Francisco to “reclaim the promise of public education.”
Behind the scenes, however, teachers unions are facing tumultuous times. Long among the wealthiest and most powerful interest groups in American politics, the unions are grappling with financial, legal and public-relations challenges as they fight to retain their clout and build alliances with a public increasingly skeptical of big labor.
“I do think it’s a moment of truth,” said Lance Alldrin, a veteran high-school teacher in Corning, Calif., who has split from his longtime union after serving for a decade as the local president.
http://goo.gl/p3ZJK0

http://goo.gl/mMHqUW  (Ed Week)

O.E.C.D. Warns West on Education Gaps
New York Times

LONDON — Like a school principal handing out a clutch of C grades, Andreas Schleicher unveiled the results from the latest round of the Program for International Student Assessment tests last week.
For Britain, the United States and most of Western Europe, the results ranged from “average” to “poor.” British students, for example, scored exactly average in mathematics and slightly above average in reading and science. French students were slightly below average in science and slightly above in reading and mathematics. The United States were below average in mathematics and science but slightly above in reading.
For Asian countries, the news was much more encouraging, with students from Shanghai topping the chart by a considerable margin, but with students from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea all closely bunched at the high end.
Mr. Schleicher, the head of education at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the tests every three years to about half a million 15-year-olds in 65 countries around the world, also noted significant improvement in Vietnam. He described it as a poor country whose students outperformed peers from many wealthier nations — and did even better once differences in income were taken into account.
“On a level playing field, the British look even worse,” he said at a press conference here.
Western countries, Mr. Schleicher warned, should not to comfort themselves with the myth that Asian high performance is the result of education systems that favor memorization over creativity.
http://goo.gl/Xll2kL

Easton Area School District files arguments for U.S. Supreme Court review in ‘boobies’ case Easton district argues appeals court misapplied landmark rulings on student speech.
Allentown (PA) Morning Call

The Easton Area School District on Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether a ban on the phrase “I ♥ boobies!” violates the First Amendment.
In a 217-page filing, district solicitor John E. Freund contends a federal appeals court overstepped its bounds in deciding that the popular rubber wristbands worn by two middle-school girls are appropriate for school.
“Because lewdness is a value judgment, based on the morals of the community … the determination of lewdness is best left to the reasonable judgment of elected school boards and school officials,” the district says in its petition asking the high court to hear its appeal.
In August, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 9-5 that the “I boobies!” slogan is protected by the First Amendment even though it might be regarded as vulgar because it conveys a socially valuable message of breast cancer awareness.
http://goo.gl/3aK2CR

http://goo.gl/ug0BmD (Ed Week)

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CALENDAR
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USOE Calendar
http://tinyurl.com/5x9oh9

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

December 10:
Education Task Force meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00004257.htm

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1:30 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00004246.htm

December 12:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

January 9:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

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