Education News Roundup: July 15, 2015

Students Gunnison Valley High school. Photo by Deena Loyola.

Students Gunnison Valley High school. Photo by Deena Loyola.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

The Charter School Funding Task Force takes up the funding formula for charter schools that will sunset this year unless acted upon by the Legislature.

http://go.uen.org/4aH (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/4aI (DN)

or source documents:

http://go.uen.org/42G (Utah Legislature)

 

Senate turns down Sen. Mike Lee’s ESEA amendment that would have allowed parents to opt their students out of statewide tests.

http://go.uen.org/4aL (WaPo)

and http://go.uen.org/4aM (Ed Week)

and http://go.uen.org/4b4 (AP)

and http://go.uen.org/4bd (Parenting)

 

Senate committee recommends approval of Stan Lockhart nomination for the Utah State Board of Education. The full Senate will take up the matter at 4 p.m. today.

http://go.uen.org/4aJ (SLT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah lawmaker: Solve charter funding issues by ending charter schools Charters » Funding formula due to sunset, but advocates want it to continue.

 

Senate rejects plan to allow parents to opt out of standardized tests

 

Less Testing for K-12 Students in Utah?

 

Senate committee OKs Stan Lockhart for open school board seat

 

The School-Lunch Dilemma

Disputes over nutrition standards—and the difficulty of challenging a top priority of the first lady—have stalled efforts for a new bill.

 

Construction camp offers new views on an old trade

 

New documentary honors Washington County School District’s 100 years

 

Trial begins for Utah bus driver accused of molesting girls

 

Mom turns in teens accused of breaking into Bear River school

 

How property taxes are keeping poor students from going to good schools

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Did Altice case disprove the need for cameras in courts? No

 

In teacher sex case, blame the boys, too

 

Three Utah cases show unequal justice

 

Education by the people

 

No Child Left Behind Gave Us One Indisputably Good Thing—and Congress Just Tried to Gut It

 

What Happens When Struggling High-Schoolers Take College Classes Encouraging teens to complete higher-ed credits gives them a better shot at getting a degree.

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

Senate votes down federal protections for K-12 LGBT students

 

New STEM Professional Development Program Is Launched in Dallas

 

Kansas Board of Education approves teacher licensing change

 

Cyberbullying: Tweaks to Colorado law can impose fines, jail

 

Letter shows Otter knew of broadband money woes

 

Beyond bake sales: New National PTA president wants to make organization more inclusive Poulsbo resident Laura Bay was installed as president of the National PTA earlier this month. She says early learning, health and safety, and family engagement are top priorities for her two-year tenure.

 

Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad At least 28 students have been seriously injured—and one killed—in the past 5 years.

 

High-school football | New contact rules seek to reduce concussions

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah lawmaker: Solve charter funding issues by ending charter schools Charters » Funding formula due to sunset, but advocates want it to continue.

 

If charter school students were counted the same as district school students, charters would lose roughly $6 million in state per-pupil funding.

And if district school enrollment were counted the same as charter schools, Utah’s school districts would see a funding bump of roughly $65 million.

That disparity, among other charter budgeting eccentricities, prompted lawmakers to create a monthly task force this year to research new funding options.

But during the task force’s second meeting on Tuesday, the job of reconciling charter and district budgets led to four hours of occasionally heated debate, including the tongue-in-cheek suggestion by a Democratic representative that charters be shuttered altogether.

“Here’s a solution to the funding formula: get rid of charter schools,” Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, said.

Charter enrollment is based on a student head count taken in October, while district enrollment is based on average attendance through the year.

That means charters continue to receive funding for students who leave their schools after October, and they are counted again for partial funding if they transfer to district schools.

The snapshot method is scheduled to sunset next year, resulting in a uniform average attendance calculation for all schools.

But charter advocates want the deadline to be extended indefinitely to protect their schools’ revenue.

http://go.uen.org/4aH (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/4aI (DN)

 

Source documents:

http://go.uen.org/42G (Utah Legislature)

 

 


 

 

 

Senate rejects plan to allow parents to opt out of standardized tests

 

The Senate on Tuesday defeated an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act that would have allowed parents nationwide to opt out of federally-mandated state standardized tests without putting school districts at risk of federal sanctions.

The chamber voted 64 to 32 against the amendment, proposed by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) amid a backlash against mandated standardized tests. “Parents, not politicians or bureaucrats, will have the final say over whether individual children take tests,” he said.

But Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — the Republican co-sponsor of the carefully crafted bipartisan bill — spoke forcefully against the proposal, saying it would strip states of the right to decide whether to allow parents to opt out.

“I say to my Republican friends, do we only agree with local control when we agree with the local policy?” said Alexander, who has framed the bill as an effort to transfer power over education from the federal government to the states.

The vote sets up an important difference to reconcile between the House and Senate bills to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the nation’s main federal education law.

http://go.uen.org/4aL (WaPo)

 

http://go.uen.org/4aM (Ed Week)

 

http://go.uen.org/4b4 (AP)

 

http://go.uen.org/4bd (Parenting)

 

 


 

 

 

Less Testing for K-12 Students in Utah?

 

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill moving through Congress could dramatically reduce standardized testing for kindergarten-through-12th-grade students in Utah and around the nation.

The Every Child Achieves Act would stop much of the testing linked to the No Child Left Behind law, said Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association. In her view, the testing – which takes several weeks of the school year – has done more harm than good, for students and teachers.

http://go.uen.org/4bf (Public Service News)

 

 


 

 

Senate committee OKs Stan Lockhart for open school board seat

 

Would-be state school board member Stan Lockhart easily cleared his first legislative hurdle on Tuesday, earning a unanimous recommendation from the Senate Education Confirmation Committee.

The full Senate is expected to consider Lockhart’s appointment on Wednesday and if confirmed, Lockhart would fill the school board seat left vacant by Mark Openshaw. He was killed last month along with his wife and two of his children in a plane crash in Missouri.

Lockhart, a lobbyist for the memory-chip manufacturer IM Flash, is also widower of Becky Lockhart, the former House Speaker who died in January.

http://go.uen.org/4aJ (SLT)

 

 


 

 

 

The School-Lunch Dilemma

Disputes over nutrition standards—and the difficulty of challenging a top priority of the first lady—have stalled efforts for a new bill.

 

SALT LAKE CITY—As the nation’s school food-service directors and executives from the companies that sell food to the schools gathered here this week under the banner of the School Nutrition Association, the prospect that Congress will force the Obama administration to roll back major provisions of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act appeared to be waning.

Nutritionists, health care experts, and the Obama administration consider the school meal rules from that bill—lower sodium, fat, and sweetener levels, as well as more lean meat, dairy products, and fruits and vegetables—to be a great accomplishment. First lady Michelle Obama made healthier school meals a key part of her Let’s Move! campaign against childhood obesity. But SNA says that so many students don’t like foods such as whole-grain tortillas, biscuits, and bagels that 1 million students have stopped eating school meals. The decreased revenue and increased cost of healthier foods is wreaking havoc with school food budgets, SNA adds. Some Republicans have said USDA is trying to impose a “nanny state.”

SNA has asked Congress to provide schools more flexibility in the five-year reauthorization of child nutrition programs scheduled this year. But neither the House Education and the Workforce Committee nor the Senate Agriculture Committee has even come up with a draft of the bill. The programs’ authorization expires September 30, although appropriations would continue them.

http://go.uen.org/4be (National Journal)

 

 


 

 

Construction camp offers new views on an old trade

 

OGDEN — Local teens tried their hand at construction at a trade camp at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College, and they liked what they did.

Every day the 13- to 18-year-old campers tried a different element of construction, from cabinetry to electrical work to basics like how to lay blocks. Different area construction companies also came in and taught in the camp different elements of construction. Campers spent the whole day, starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. at the camp July 6-10, but for the students it was nothing like school, because they were using their hands all day.

This is the first year the OWATC has done the camp, but it plans to continue it http://go.uen.org/4aY (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

New documentary honors Washington County School District’s 100 years

 

  1. GEORGE, Utah — Iron Spyke Pictures has signed a promotion and distribution agreement with Washington County School District for the new documentary film, “On Dreams of Dixie.” On Aug. 1, the film’s world premier will take place at a private screening at Desert Hills High School, followed by a screening open to the public at 8:45 p.m.

Established in 1915, Washington County School District celebrates 100-years of public education in southern Utah this fall. “On Dreams of Dixie” commemorates the anniversary and offers a heartfelt look at the history of the people and events of a district established by dedicated pioneers in a once harsh and barren red desert.

http://go.uen.org/4b3 (KCSG)

 

 


 

 

Trial begins for Utah bus driver accused of molesting girls

 

Jury selection was underway Wednesday in the trial for a 62-year-old former school bus driver accused of molesting two 5-year-old girls from Sandy.

John Martin Carrell, who drove a bus for the Canyons School District, is accused of touching the girls inappropriately while buckling and unbuckling their seat belts on his bus route to and from Sandy’s Altara Elementary School last year.

Carrell is charged in 3rd District Court with 33 counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child, relying on surveillance video to support their claim that the bus driver touched the two girls inappropriately.

http://go.uen.org/4b0 (SLT)

 

 


 

 

Mom turns in teens accused of breaking into Bear River school

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Police say they nabbed two teenagers accused of breaking into a middle school when one boy’s mother turned them in.

The woman brought the boys to the police station Monday after seeing footage of the Garland burglary on the news, police said.

Surveillance video shows two young men breaking into Bear River Middle School by smashing a skylight with a golf club. Police say they tried to cover their faces with T-shirts to hide their identities on camera, but that didn’t fool one teen’s mother.

Garland Police Chief Chad Soffe says the pair got away with candy and a toy. He declined to say what charges they may be facing.

http://go.uen.org/4aW (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/4b1 (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/4b2 (CVD)

 

 


 

 

How property taxes are keeping poor students from going to good schools

 

Since the Great Depression, the number of communities in concentrated poverty has doubled, and the public school funding system’s reliance on property taxes is partly to blame, according to an education nonprofit.

http://go.uen.org/4aT (DN)

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Did Altice case disprove the need for cameras in courts? No Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

 

It’s a sad truth — perhaps one of the saddest of all the truths of modern life — that teachers having sex with their students is not an uncommon story. All it takes is a simple Google search to verify this in graphic detail. You can even find stories recalling the 50 most notorious female-teacher sex scandals.

Notice the operative word there — female. Search for the most notorious male teacher scandals and you find not so much.

And if a segment of society judges the offending female teacher as good-looking, the attention can become unbearable. There are websites ranking these teachers by looks. This may be worse news than the crime itself because of what it says about the true nature of a culture that feigns devotion to dignity, equality and basic rights, while sanctimoniously chiding sexism.

http://go.uen.org/4aU

 

 


 

 

In teacher sex case, blame the boys, too Salt Lake Tribune letter from Sharon Teal Coray

 

What is wrong with this picture?

I am 72 years old, and I have seen a lot of things in my lifetime, but this really takes the cake. A beautiful woman “rapes” teenage boys! Now, please, can someone who knows more about this explain this to me? As I remember, boys that age are always ready for sex. That is what is going on in their heads most of the time.

So along comes a teacher who is pretty, and they start flirting and before long she has raped them! Oh no. That is not the way it works because if a man or boy is scared or nervous he is not going to be able to perform, period!

No one was raped here! It was all just about conquest.

http://go.uen.org/4aR

 

 


 

 

 

Three Utah cases show unequal justice

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Leonard Stephenson

 

During the past month we have read of the sentences given two women and one man convicted of criminal acts.

One, a teenage girl who was victimized by her parents and her adult criminal boyfriend, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for being with her boyfriend when he committed murder and attempted murder. The other, a school teacher who added sex education to her English instruction, was also sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Then we have a doctor who was convicted of premeditated murder in the death of his wife. He gets 15 years and has the money to appeal.

Something is wrong with this!

http://go.uen.org/4aS

 

 


 

 

 

Education by the people

Deseret News letter from DeAnna Hardy

 

Government was never to be involved in the education of our children. The socialist leader Karl Marx wanted free public education so that the government could control the curriculum as to what our children are being taught. It is a very dangerous path that we are on.

Our leaders at the federal, state and local levels will not listen to “We the People,” as I found out in attending my local school board meeting to oppose Common Core, where I was told that the school board has a policy stating that you cannot speak on the same subject consecutively, which I was attempting. Instead, you have to wait three months in between. Is our local school board violating our First Amendment-protected freedom of speech?

It’s time for parents to wake up and consider removing their children from the government-controlled school system.

http://go.uen.org/4aV

 

http://go.uen.org/4aZ (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

No Child Left Behind Gave Us One Indisputably Good Thing—and Congress Just Tried to Gut It Slate commentary by columnist Laura Moser

 

Should annual standardized testing be required—or as required as No Child Left Behind made it—or should parents be allowed to keep their kids at home on testing days? As both houses of Congress attempt to rewrite the controversial bill and update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, that was one of the bigger questions being lobbed around the two chambers recently.

Current federal law mandates that at least 95 percent of students at every school participate in the controversial standardized assessments. Schools that receive federal Title I funds can (at least in theory) be dinged if they fail to meet this threshold; for other schools, there are no such hard-and-fast consequences. So what happens if, say, an eye-popping 1 in 6 eligible kids opts out of the testing, as they did in New York state this year? Pretty much nothing—for all the threats, there is no real mechanism in place to enforce the 95 percent participation rate. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a very legitimate reason for encouraging it, or for administering the tests in the first place.

Last week, the House approved an amendment that would allow kids to sit out of tests without any even theoretical penalty, a measure that civil rights groups vigorously oppose. As a press release opposing the House amendment put out by an advocacy group for students with disabilities put it, letting kids opt out

“would gut one of the most meaningful provisions in all of the ESEA—the current requirement that states assess at least 95 percent of all students using the same, objective measuring stick. Adoption of this amendment would send the signal that Congress is perfectly fine with actions to systemically discriminate, and coordinated efforts to counsel certain kids out of the state accountability system.”

That’s the basic problem with the whole feel-good opt-out movement. If only a random fraction of the students supposed to take the tests do so, many of the kids most at risk—and those tend not to be the ones whose outraged parents are staging rallies and writing letters to the editor—will be encouraged to stay home. And, for all its considerable flaws, No Child Left Behind was remarkably effective at gathering data about the current student population in the U.S. and measuring where the achievement gap yawned the widest. Make the tests optional and you lose that transparency.

http://go.uen.org/4bb

 

 


 

 

What Happens When Struggling High-Schoolers Take College Classes Encouraging teens to complete higher-ed credits gives them a better shot at getting a degree.

Atlantic commentary by EMILY DERUY

 

High schools across the country are taking what might seem like a counterintuitive approach to educating some of their most at-risk students.

They’re enrolling them in college before they even graduate from high school.

A new report from the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy suggests that dual-enrollment programs, where students take classes simultaneously in high school and at a local college, have proven especially successful at getting less-affluent and first-generation students into college—and through it.

http://go.uen.org/4b8

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/4b9 (Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Senate votes down federal protections for K-12 LGBT students Washington Post

 

In its first vote affecting gay people since the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, the Senate Tuesday rejected a federal prohibition against discrimination and bullying in K-12 public schools based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Fifty-two Senators voted for such a provision, while 45 opposed it. But Senate rules required 60 votes, and the measure fell short.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the sponsor of the amendment, had made an impassioned argument that gay and transgendered students needed the same federal protections as other historically persecuted groups.

“If a black child was referred to by a racial slur at school, would we say kids will be kids?” Franken said on the Senate floor as debate began Monday. “If a Jewish student got beat up because he wore a yarmulke to school, would we wave it off and say boys will be boys? If a shop teacher told a female student she didn’t belong in his class, would we be fine if the school just looked the other way? No, we would not. In fact, there are federal civil rights laws that are specifically designed to stop this kind of conduct.”

http://go.uen.org/4aK

 

 


 

 

 

New STEM Professional Development Program Is Launched in Dallas THE Journal

 

A new program to equip North Texas K-12 teachers with the skills to instruct their students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) has been launched in Dallas. By the end of the year, more than 160 teachers will be involved in the hands-on professional development program, the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute, organized by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Nearly 130 teachers at every stage of their careers will attend a four-day Summer Academy held at a school in the Dallas area. That will be followed up by five weekend sessions throughout the school year. The teachers involved will get free educational materials from the museum, the chance to be involved in special events and mentorship opportunities and continuing professional credit for the work.

Unlike most professional development programs that typically divide teachers up by grade level, the Kosmos Energy STEM Teacher Institute is organized by the experience level of the teachers and their comfort with science subjects — pre-service teachers (those who are still in training and have no classroom experience yet), novice teachers, advanced teachers and mentor teachers.

The three-year program organized by the museum is funded in part by a $450,000 grant from Kosmos Energy, an oil and gas company, and $150,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Science.

http://go.uen.org/4aN

 

 


 

 

 

Kansas Board of Education approves teacher licensing change Wichita (KS) Eagle

 

The state’s six innovative school districts will be able to hire unlicensed teachers for hard-to-fill positions under a proposal approved Tuesday by the Kansas Board of Education.

Those districts will be able to hire unlicensed teachers and issue them special certificates, which will be valid for one year, whenever they cannot find a suitable candidate who holds a teaching license.

The candidates must hold either a relevant college degree or professional certification for the position.

The proposal, which passed by a vote of 6-4, looked as though it would fail until Ken Willard, whose district includes parts of Sedgwick and surrounding counties, offered a few tweaks that were enough to entice Wichita’s Kathy Busch to cast the deciding vote in its favor.

The changes Busch needed to vote for the policy were a more explicit degree requirement and greater oversight for the state board of education. The license waivers will go before a district’s local school board and then to the state board for final approval.

http://go.uen.org/4aO

 

 


 

 

 

Cyberbullying: Tweaks to Colorado law can impose fines, jail Denver Post

 

In the often inhospitable realm of cyberspace, there’s a new sheriff in town — in the form of a revised Colorado’s harassment statute that backers hope will keep the most vicious electronic communications from inflicting tragic damage.

Those changes now expose “cyberbullies” to a misdemeanor charge that carries a possible fine of up to $750 and up to six months in jail. Lawmakers sought a response to a problem that has taken a particular toll among kids and young adults.

http://go.uen.org/4aP

 

 


 

 

 

Letter shows Otter knew of broadband money woes Associated Press via (Boise) Idaho Statesman

 

BOISE — Gov. Butch Otter knew for months that the federal government had withheld funding for Idaho’s now-failed school broadband program, but lawmakers remained in the dark until much later.

According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Otter wrote to one of the program’s contractors on Nov. 4, 2013, that federal funding — known as “e-rate” dollars, which come from monthly fees on landline and cellphone bills — had stopped because of a recent whistleblower complaint regarding the state’s $60 million broadband contract. However, state lawmakers weren’t informed until near or after the start of the 2014 legislative session in January.

“As you know a recent ‘whistleblower’ complaint was filed with the (Federal Communications Commission) concerning the use of E-Rate funds,” Otter wrote to Education Networks of America. “The result is a disruption in federal funds that satisfy the state’s obligations related to the network during the course of the review.”

Many were later upset by the news of the withheld funds and criticized then-Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna for not letting them know sooner.

http://go.uen.org/4aQ

 

 


 

 

 

Beyond bake sales: New National PTA president wants to make organization more inclusive Poulsbo resident Laura Bay was installed as president of the National PTA earlier this month. She says early learning, health and safety, and family engagement are top priorities for her two-year tenure.

Seattle (WA) Times

 

These days, parent-teacher associations are about more than bake sales and art projects. Individual regions and councils tackle concerns that range from cyber-bullying to achievement gaps and from the importance of early reading skills to including families that speak a language other than English at home.

Laura Bay says she’s ready to take on all of those issues in her new role as president of National PTA, the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the country. Bay, who lives in Poulsbo, first got involved in the PTA in the early 1990s when her oldest son, Andrew, started kindergarten at Bremerton’s View Ridge Elementary School.

Bay recently spoke with Education Lab from Tulsa, Okla., where she was participating in a state PTA convention. What follows are excerpts of our conversation.

http://go.uen.org/4b7

 

 


 

 

Chokeholds, Brain Injuries, Beatings: When School Cops Go Bad At least 28 students have been seriously injured—and one killed—in the past 5 years.

Mother Jones

 

Over the past year, video footage from around the country of law enforcement officers killing citizens, many of them black, has brought scrutiny on policing in the streets. Yet, another disturbing police problem has drawn far less attention: Use of force by cops in schools. According to news reports and data collected by advocacy groups, over the past five years at least 28 students have been seriously injured, and in one case shot to death, by so-called school resource officers—sworn, uniformed police assigned to provide security on K-12 campuses.

As with the officer-involved killings that have been thrust into the national spotlight, government data on police conduct in schools is lacking. And while serious use of force by officers against school kids appears to be rare, experts also point to a troubling lack of training and oversight, and a disproportionate impact on minority and disabled students.

http://go.uen.org/4b6

 

 


 

 

High-school football | New contact rules seek to reduce concussions Columbus (OH) Dispatch

 

In hopes of reducing the risk of concussions, the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Monday adopted measures placing limits on full-contact drills when preseason football practices begin on Aug. 1.

The OHSAA Board of Directors unanimously approved the changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations Concussion Summit Task Force.

“With the support and leadership from the football coaches’ association, we have been out in front of concussion awareness and education, and these changes will now bring Ohio up to a place as a national leader in this area,” OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross said.

“Like many of our regulations, these guidelines are to be followed and monitored by member schools and coaches, but we are fortunate in Ohio that many coaches have already been following these safety measures. There will always be a risk for concussion, but football is safer now than it has ever been, and these guidelines will make it even safer.”

After a five-day adjustment period, full contact is permitted on the sixth day of preseason practice. To minimize concussion risk and allow recovery time, full contact is limited to just one practice during two-a-days.

In the regular season, players are limited to 30 minutes of full contact in practice per day and 60 minutes per week.

http://go.uen.org/4b5

 

 

 

 

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CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

July 15:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003190.htm

 

Government Operations Interim Committee meeting

9:12 a.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003198.htm

 

 

August 6-7:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

 

 

August 13:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://go.uen.org/1pn

 

 

August 18:

Senate Education Confirmation Committee meeting

2 p.m., 450 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=APPEXE

 

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