Education News Roundup: August 16, 2016

 

Backpack Front by Max California/CC/flickr https://flic.kr/p/boErgA

Backpack Front by Max California/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

It appears Jordan School District will vote for tax breaks for the Facebook development.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mr (SLT)

 

There is some national (and local) follow up to the new APT license.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M2 (WaPo)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mp (Education Dive) and http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mt (Daily Kos) and http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mq (UPR)

 

What does a $60 million football stadium do for a high school football team … or a high school for that matter?

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M6 (District Administration)

 

AP puts some national back-to-school numbers together.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mi (AP)

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Jordan School Board will vote ‘yes’ on Facebook data center deal

 

$240 million tax break deal for Facebook appears to lack support as entities prepare their votes

 

In Utah, schools can now hire teachers with no training whatsoever

 

State Office of Rehabilitation Opens Waiting List to Serve More than 2,300 Utahns with Disabilities

 

Utah school trusts shows record gains of $2 billion

 

25 beautiful photos of the first day of school

 

United Way Needs Your Help to ‘Stuff the Bus’

 

School Choice ESA vouchers gain support, disdain from Nevada politicians

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Who should be teaching Utah kids? An S-E reader conversation

 

Teaching? Hey, it’s not rocket science

 

Funding education is an ounce of prevention

 

Differences on balance: National comparisons of charter and traditional public schools

 


 

 

NATION

 

Cleveland schools were “stupid,” not criminal, with $8 million rebate failures, state Auditor David Yost says

 

No decision from judge on barring transgender student from locker room

 

Appeals court deals setback to opponents of Florida’s voucher-like program for schools

 

Schools say test scores show funding in Kansas is inadequate

 

Amid school funding woes, more teachers seek state office in Kansas

 

Why more black parents are home-schooling their kids While some parents cite religious and moral reasons, others say they are keeping their kids out of public schools to protect them from school-related racism.

 

Petition protests new state superintendent selection

 

CliffsNotes Goes Digital, Personalized…For Some Products

 

Man at Center of School Desegregation Lawsuit Dies at 75

 

FBI Program to Stop Violent Extremism in Schools Blasted by Ed. Advocacy Groups

 

West Texas school sign warns that staff is ‘armed and may use whatever force necessary to protect our students’

 

On A Mission To Race The Middle School Brain

 

School stadium stimulus

Pro-style football facilities bring in revenue, boost district pride

 

Back to School: Enrollment Up a Bit as Kids Return to School

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Jordan School Board will vote ‘yes’ on Facebook data center deal

 

Facebook could be a friend to 52,000 Utah schoolchildren, the Jordan School District Board of Education decided Tuesday.

Board members, saying K-12 students in the bustling high-tech corridor south of Salt Lake City would benefit from the proposed server farm operated by the social media network, voted 5-1 in favor of up to $260 million in tax breaks for Facebook.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mr (SLT)

 


 

 

$240 million tax break deal for Facebook appears to lack support as entities prepare their votes

 

WEST JORDAN — A $240 million tax break deal meant to lure Facebook to build a massive data center in West Jordan may be on the brink of failure.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and County Council members made it clear last week that they won’t support the plan. That puts the data center’s fate in the hands of school board officials, and Utah State Board of Education Chairman David Crandall said they’re leaning toward voting against the plan.

“It’s hard to predict what the board will actually do, but my sense is that, by and large, we’re not supportive at this point,” Crandall said Monday.

Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove spoke against the project last week to the State School Board, calling the deal “corporate welfare for a very rich company.” McAdams said Monday little has been done to quell his concerns.

While West Jordan City Manager Mark Palesh said negotiations are still underway to gain county support, he fears the deal — lacking State School Board support — could be on shaky ground.

That’s despite Palesh’s anticipation that the Jordan School Board will support the deal because it would garner the most new tax revenue form the project — $17 million over 20 years on property that currently only generates $100 per year.

“I worry the State School Board is not looking at it in a cerebral way. They’re looking at it more politically than anything else,” Palesh said. “They really shouldn’t be standing in (Jordan School District’s) way, but right now I fear that might happen.”

http://gousoe.uen.org/7LT (DN)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Ms (KSL)

 


 

 

In Utah, schools can now hire teachers with no training whatsoever

 

Utah has a severe teacher shortage, so it decided to do something about it. Under a new rule, schools can now hire people to teach who have no training in the profession. None whatsoever.

This is just the newest piece of evidence that the supposed national initiative started by the 2001 No Child Left Behind law to ensure “highly qualified” teachers in every classroom is at best unsuccessful and at worst a sham.

In June, the Utah Board of Education approved a new rule that would make it easier for schools to fill teaching vacancies by allowing them to hire people who can meet some minimum criteria, including having a bachelor’s degree, paying the applicable licensing fee and passing a test. Veteran teachers are supposed to mentor the new teachers for a few years, though how many will want to take on that responsibility is unclear.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M2 (WaPo)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mp (Education Dive)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mt (Daily Kos)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mq (UPR)

 


 

 

Utah school trusts shows record gains of $2 billion

 

SALT LAKE CITY— Utah’s Permanent State School Fund has posted record earnings, with a balance exceeding $2 billion in fiscal year 2016.

The Deseret News reports that state Treasurer David Damschen says the fund grew by $43.9 million, or nearly 8 percent, from last year.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M9 (OSE)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mu (PDH)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mc (KUTV)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Md (KSL)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mg (KUER)

 


 

 

State Office of Rehabilitation Opens Waiting List to Serve More than 2,300 Utahns with Disabilities

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Starting immediately, the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation’s (USOR) Vocational Rehabilitation Program will open its waiting list in order to begin providing services to 2,353 additional Utahns with disabilities, with the goal of achieving successful employment for each client.

While USOR has opened its waiting list twice in the past year, inviting this many clients to be served is unprecedented and will be accomplished over the course of the next five months.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Me (KCSG)

 


 

 

25 beautiful photos of the first day of school

 

Daily Herald photographers capture life every day in Utah County. Each week we feature 25 of their best photos on a particular subject.

As August comes around each year, children’s hearts are filled with dread, and their parent’s hearts are filled with excitement as they anticipate a new school year. With fresh backpacks and empty binders, students make their way to a new class and teacher, eager to learn. Even university students have a little bit of eager anticipation for the new year.

Here are 25 beautiful photos of students on the first day of school in Utah County.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Ma (PDH)

 


 

 

United Way Needs Your Help to ‘Stuff the Bus’

 

Every years at the end of the summer, most kids go back-to-school shopping for all of their school supplies. Unfortunately, not every has that luxury.

The people of the United Way of Salt Lake want to help. Stephanie Rokich from the United Way of Salt Lake talks more about the “Stuff the Bus.”

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mo (KTVX)

 


 

 

School Choice ESA vouchers gain support, disdain from Nevada politicians

 

The controversial senate bill that allows parents the choice to remove their children from public school and access their public education funding to pay for private or religiously-affiliated school tuition continues to stir Nevada’s political pot.

After a period of silence on the topic, U.S. Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, the former state attorney general, told the Associated Press last week that she opposes ESAs, saying they “take money away from public schools.”

However, thousands of applications for ESA enrollment have been filed by Nevada families, and 61 percent of Nevada residents support the legislation, including Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who signed SB 302 into law last year.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M3 (SGS)

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Who should be teaching Utah kids? An S-E reader conversation

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary

 

Utah public schools can now hire teachers without licenses or teaching experience.

The State Board of Education unanimously approved the policy Friday.

Utah previously allowed people with bachelor’s degrees to teach before securing licenses. As of Monday, teachers can immediately obtain licenses by passing a subject test.

The policy also says unlicensed teachers no longer need to take teacher education courses, although they must be mentors for three years by licensed teachers.

Supporters say the policy will allow Utah to address a severe teacher shortage. Teachers say it takes training and experience to teach effectively.

Here’s how readers reacted when we shared the story on Facebook. All quotes are verbatim:

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M7

 


 

 

Teaching? Hey, it’s not rocket science

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist Mark Saal

 

Aside from an astronaut, a rock star, and a professional athlete, there were only two things I ever wanted to do when I grew up.

Write, or teach.

I weighed both options back in college (the ships having long since set sail on those first three career choices) before deciding on a journalism degree. And while I don’t regret that decision, there have been times I’ve wondered about the road not taken.

When my children were young, I was a regular volunteer at their elementary school. I got to know the principal and teachers quite well, and frequently heard the comment, “You would make an amazing teacher.” The principal, in particular, would try on an almost-weekly basis to get me to go back to school and get a license to teach.

It was tempting. I can think of few things more rewarding in life than helping young students develop a lifelong love of learning. But there was no way a young father who had already gone to college for one low-paying job (writing for a newspaper) was going to give up all that to spend a bunch more money on college for another low-paying job (teaching school).

Since then, I’ve flirted with the idea a time or two.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M8

 


 

 

Funding education is an ounce of prevention

(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by Matthew Jelalian

 

The Provo City School District successfully approved a tax increase to boost its budget revenue 14 percent more than current revenue.

According to the meeting notice issued, the tax increase includes two aspects.

First, the annual tax on residences valued at $198,500 will increase from $565.20 to $642.82. That’s a $77.62 increase. Second, the tax on businesses at that valuation will increase from $1,027.63 to $1,168.77, and that’s a $141.14 bump per year.

According to the Daily Herald’s Braley Dodson, this is the first time in seven years Provo City School District has increased taxes.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mb

 


 

 

Differences on balance: National comparisons of charter and traditional public schools American Enterprise Institute analysis

 

Key Points

* Many average enrollment differences between charters and all traditional public schools (TPSs) disappear when charters are compared to just the subset of TPSs located near charter schools.

* Although similar on average, charters often differ substantially from their neighbors in opposite extremes; many serve more students with a given characteristic, while many others serve fewer.

* Compared to their neighboring TPSs, charter schools serve disproportionately more black students, fewer Hispanic students, and both more and fewer white students.

* Charter schools serve smaller proportions of special education students than neighboring TPSs, as is often claimed, but they serve even smaller proportions of limited English proficient students, which is not well documented.

* Contrary to the conventional wisdom on charter school discipline, many more charters report lower suspension rates compared to neighboring TPSs than report higher rates.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7LW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Cleveland schools were “stupid,” not criminal, with $8 million rebate failures, state Auditor David Yost says Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland school district is guilty of poor management for failing to collect more than $8 million in federal technology rebates, State Auditor David Yost said today, but he found no evidence of criminal behavior.

Yost today released his audit today of the district’s botched rebates from the federal E-Rate technology program, coming up with essentially the same findings that the district’s watchdog panel, the Bond Accountability Commission, announced in 2015.

A $500,000 investigation by lawyers hired by the district confirmed the same basic findings in January – that the district and its consultants squandered millions by not documenting or applying for more than $8 million in rebates that the district had already pre-qualified for.

The majority of the mistakes occurred before district CEO Eric Gordon took office in 2011, though the district missed some application deadlines and did not respond to warnings raised by the BAC under Gordon’s watch.

“This is a unique case where a school district lost out on nearly $8.4 million because of a number of factors, none of which are fraudulent or intentional activity,” Yost said as he announced his findings. “This was a combination of poor management, weak policies and a lack of communications that resulted in huge losses. It’s not criminal, it’s stupid – a very big ‘stupid.”

http://gousoe.uen.org/7LU

 


 

 

No decision from judge on barring transgender student from locker room Chicago Tribune

 

A federal judge on Monday said he’s holding off on deciding whether to temporarily ban a transgender student from using the girls’ locker room and restroom at a suburban high school.

A group of students and parents, who sued the federal government and Palatine-based Township High School District 211, had hoped the judge would halt the student’s access to the locker room and restroom until a final decision on the lawsuit has been reached. The new school year opened Monday in District 211.

Students and Parents for Privacy, which brought the suit in May, argued that the school district trampled students’ privacy rights when it allowed a transgender student to use the girls’ locker room.

Some female students “live in constant anxiety, fear and apprehension that a biological boy will walk in at any time while they use the locker rooms and showers and see them in a state of undress or naked,” according to the lawsuit.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7LV

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mh (Reuters)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mj (AP)

 


 

 

Appeals court deals setback to opponents of Florida’s voucher-like program for schools Tampa Bay (FL) Times

 

TALLAHASSEE — An appeals court says Florida’s teacher union has no legal right to challenge the state’s largest private school voucher program.

The 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday sided with a lower judge’s decision to throw out the lawsuit filed by the Florida Education Association and others.

The legal battle has been closely watched as supporters have mounted a public relations campaign to get the union and others to drop the lawsuit. The program currently serves low-income families but the program is expanding to middle-income families this fall.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7LZ

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M0 (Orlando [FL] Sentinel)

 


 

 

Schools say test scores show funding in Kansas is inadequate Lawrence (KS) Journal-World

 

TOPEKA — Plaintiffs in the ongoing school finance lawsuit are telling the Kansas Supreme Court that student test scores in reading and math prove Kansas is failing to fund its public schools adequately and that schools need roughly half a billion dollars a year in additional funding.

But attorneys for the state counter that funding is at record levels and all schools are meeting state accreditation standards, and they say a court order for additional funding would be “a flagrant violation of the separation of powers.”

Those are some of the central arguments that both parties made in briefs filed with the court on Friday.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M1

 


 

 

Amid school funding woes, more teachers seek state office in Kansas Kansas City Star

 

Grade-school teacher Brett Parker now is a pupil of campaign politics, gleaning lessons as he knocks on doors in Overland Park, Kansas House District 29.

He is among dozens of current or retired educators across Kansas seeking legislative seats in Topeka.

The curriculum can be tough. On one recent outing, sweat soaked through Parker’s polo shirt. At 6 p.m. the heat index was up around 103, and few residents were answering.

Parker, a Democrat, figured: A.) They’re still at work. B.) They don’t want air conditioning to escape from their homes. C.) They aren’t interested in hearing out a politician.

Probably C, he said.

“I’m a public schoolteacher in the area,” Parker told one who cracked open the door. “This is my last week of summer break.”

Canvassing while he can, Parker, 31, knows that the tedious task of rounding up votes soon will give way to grading papers at night.

Other Kansas educators-turned-politicians face the same. But many are willing to put in the hours in hopes of repairing public schools from blows they say the statehouse has delivered in recent years.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7LY

 


 

 

Why more black parents are home-schooling their kids While some parents cite religious and moral reasons, others say they are keeping their kids out of public schools to protect them from school-related racism.

Christian Science Monitor

 

ATLANTA AND BOSTON — Nikita Bush comes from a family of public school teachers: Her mom, aunts, uncles – nearly all of them have been involved in public education at some level.

But her own teaching career ended, she says, “in heartbreak” when she had to make a decision about where her own child would go to school.

After being reprimanded repeatedly for folding Afro-centric education into her Atlanta classroom, she left. Fifteen years and six children later, Ms. Bush leads a growing homeschooling co-op near Atlanta’s historic West End neighborhood.

Despite the promises of the civil rights movement, “people are starting to realize that public education in America was designed for the masses of poor, and its intent has been to trap poor people into being workers and servants. If you don’t want that for your children, then you look for something else,” she says. To her, the biggest flaw in public education is a lack of character education, an “absence of a moral binding,” that contributes to low expectations – and lower outcomes for children of color.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7LX

 


 

 

Petition protests new state superintendent selection Decatur (AL) Daily

 

MONTGOMERY — An online petition asking the State Board of Education to rescind its selection of a new state superintendent from Massachusetts had more than 2,700 signatures this morning.

Education advocate and blogger Larry Lee created the petition on the website change.org over the weekend. He called Michael Sentance a “non-educator.”

“You bypassed four very qualified in-state applicants to hire someone who has zero administrative experience to look out for 136 school systems and 740,000 students,” Lee wrote of the board in the petition.

Sentance was one of six finalists for the job on Thursday and the first to receive a majority five votes. The board had voted on each candidate once before Sentance was nominated a second time on the seventh vote.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M4

 


 

 

CliffsNotes Goes Digital, Personalized…For Some Products Education Week

 

The digital and personalized-learning revolutions have started to catch up with even last-minute study sessions.

CliffsNotes, the yellow-cover study guide series familiar to generations of students, announced this week the release of a new digital-subscription service promising students customized supports and progress tracking.

The new approach, however, will apply to the company’s test-prep and subject-review offerings, but not its more well-known literature review guides, highlighting the developing contours and nuance of the exploding personalized-learning market.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mn

 


 

 

Man at Center of School Desegregation Lawsuit Dies at 75 Associated Press

 

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A man at the center of a lawsuit that culminated with the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing segregated public schools has died. Harry Briggs Jr. was 75.

According to Samuels Funeral Home in Manning, Briggs died Aug. 9 at his New York City home. A funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Briggs’ parents, Harry and Eliza Briggs, were the first signers of a 1949 petition seeking equal treatment for black students. Harry Jr.’s signature was third.

The case began in 1947 with black parents seeking a bus for their children. When that was thrown out, parents filed a bolder lawsuit challenging segregation.

Briggs v. Elliott was the first of five cases that were eventually combined and led to the high court’s landmark 1954 decision.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mk

 


 

 

FBI Program to Stop Violent Extremism in Schools Blasted by Ed. Advocacy Groups Education Week

 

Several education advocacy groups have harshly criticized a Federal Bureau of Investigation program designed to prevent the spread of “violent extremism” in American schools, saying it will harm the schools and students it’s targeting.

The American Federation of Teachers, AASA (the School Superintendents Association), the League of United Latin American Citizens, and other organizations expressed their concerns to FBI Director James Comey in an Aug. 9 letter. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. was also copied on the letter. They expressed specific concerns about Muslim students and those with Middle Eastern backgrounds.

The issue of discrimination against those students in particular, and more generally how they are viewed and treated in schools, is a growing issue.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Ml

 

The FBI “Don’t Be A Puppet” website:

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mm (FBI)

 


 

 

West Texas school sign warns that staff is ‘armed and may use whatever force necessary to protect our students’

Dallas Morning News

 

A school district outside Amarillo recently installed signs warning people that its staff is armed.

At least one of the signs outside the schools says in all caps, “Attention: Please be aware that the staff at Claude ISD is armed and may use whatever force necessary to protect our students.”

Employees started carrying guns in November, MyHighPlains.com reports. Claude doesn’t have a traditional police department so the armed staff factors into a security plan that includes looping in the Armstrong County Sheriff’s Department and state troopers in the case of an emergency.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M5

 


 

 

On A Mission To Race The Middle School Brain NPR

 

When things heat up, they expand. And when that thing is the axle shaft to your drive train, you’re going to have to make adjustments, or else.

Michael Guarraia kneels down next to a metal part that just popped off the rear axle. “OK guys, listen up,” he tells his team. “The drive train broke again and we need to find a sustainable solution. This can’t happen during the race.”

The team members nod and furrow their brows. Some scratch their heads.

Welcome to Kinetic Sculpture Race Club at Arbutus Middle School. Guarraia is a science teacher at the suburban Maryland school, about a 20-minute drive from Baltimore.

He and two dozen students are on an eight-month mission to design and build a human-powered kinetic sculpture that they’re going to race on a 15-mile obstacle course around Baltimore Harbor.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mf

 


 

 

School stadium stimulus

Pro-style football facilities bring in revenue, boost district pride District Administration

 

Big high school football stadiums in Texas have come under scrutiny from local fiscal watchdogs, but pushback is just part of the story about sports facility finance—where expenditures and potential revenue sources have grown more complex and potentially lucrative.

Critics say palatial athletic facilities prioritize sports over the classroom and waste taxpayer money. But supporters say they are a source of pride and promotional value for a region, and an important resource that can be used for school and community activities. Stadiums also generate revenue from advertising, naming rights, booster fundraising and television deals.

The most publicized—the $60 million Eagle Stadium at Allen High School in Allen ISD near Dallas—earns about $1.5 million each year from its consistently undefeated team, which packs all 18,000 seats for most games.

And at many stadiums nationwide, most of the money generated from sports goes back into the school’s general fund or supports other extracurricular activities, says Tom Canby, associate executive director of government relations for the Texas Association of School Business Officials.

“Districts are looking for any funding source possible,” Canby says. “There are very few districts where sports pay for themselves, but today they can create more revenue.”

http://gousoe.uen.org/7M6

 

 


 

 

Back to School: Enrollment Up a Bit as Kids Return to School Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — No more staying up late during the week. Farewell to sleeping in. And, hello homework!

The lazy days of summer are ending for millions of children as they grab their backpacks, pencils and notebooks and return to the classroom for a new school year.

Some facts and figures to know as the new school year begins:

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Mi

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

September 8:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://go.uen.org/62M

 

Utah State Board of Education study session, USDB and committee meetings

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

September 9:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

September 13:

Joint Education Conference

8 a.m., 800 W University Parkway, Orem

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=SPEJEC

 

 

September 20:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=APPEXE

 

 

September 21:

Education Interim Committee meeting

1:15 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=INTEDU

 

 

September 22:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

9 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=APPPED

 

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