Education News Roundup: June 6, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Our Schools Now files to put tax increases for schools on the ballot.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaR (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abt (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abp (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abu (AP via PDH)

Secretary DeVos was back on the Hill today discussing the federal education budget, vouchers, and civil rights.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab2 (USAT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/ab7 (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abh (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abn ([Washington, DC] The Hill)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/ab4 (AP)
or a copy of Secretary DeVos’s opening statement
http://gousoe.uen.org/abl (ED)

Ed Week also looks further into the vouchers/civil rights issues.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab8 (Ed Week)

New York Times looks at education philanthropy.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abg (NYT)

Google announces an education campaign on internet safety and etiquette.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaZ (AP)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Supporters of income, sales tax increase for schools file ballot initiative

Nebo School District hires architect for high school rebuilds

Former Woodruff Elementary students recall old times as school’s demolition nears

Remembering West Jordan Middle School’s history

Jordan High School graduation location moved due to high temperatures
The ceremony will be held at the Maverik Center at 6:30 p.m.

Landmark High School teacher jailed for having sex with students strikes plea deal

Fire causes up to $300K worth of damage to Utah school

Always by her side: Diabetic high school student’s Golden Retriever named Katie earns her spot in the yearbook after coming to class with her owner every day for two years
The junior at North Summit High School in Utah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2014 and got Katie the golden retriever shortly after

St. George BYU Management Society Honors HS Grads with Scholarships

Teen Writing Workshop at SUU

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Ending school ‘lunch shaming’ is long overdue

Spin job

The Cynical Dishonesty of Anti-Choice ‘Education Reformers’
Far too often, those who claim to fight for the interests of low-income students are actually doing the opposite.

NATION

DeVos ‘not going to be issuing decrees’ on civil rights protections

DeVos Revisits Proficiency vs. Growth on Tests, But Does She Clarify Her Views?

The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools

Best State-Level Practices for Teacher Leadership Outlined in Report

In States’ Private-School Vouchers, Few Safeguards Against Discrimination
Concerns over how a federal program would protect students

Lawmakers vote to abolish State Board of Education

Supreme Court Backs Church Hospitals, Schools in Case on Pension Rules

Trump and DeVos Announce New Hires at Education Department

Google to teach school kids about online safety, etiquette

Bill banning use of Native American mascots in public schools subject of Beacon Hill hearing

Two honor roll students fatally shot in Maryland on eve of high school graduation

Georgetown middle school girl called an ape, slave by fellow students
School issued a report saying the girl “was a victim of more than one incident of racially harassing conduct.”

Serb president bans teaching about Sarajevo siege, Srebrenica genocide

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Supporters of income, sales tax increase for schools file ballot initiative

SALT LAKE CITY – The Our Schools Now initiative to raise both income and sales taxes to bring in some $700 million for education was filed Tuesday with the lieutenant governor’s office, the first step to getting on the 2018 ballot.
“This is such an important issue the people in the state of Utah deserve a voice in the decision whether we should fund eduction more,” Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson said at a news conference at the state Capitol.
Anderson said he is convinced that voters “will overwhelmingly say yes” to the initiative, which would boost the state income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.5 percent and the state sales tax rate from 4.7 percent to 5.2 percent by 2021.
Information provided by initiative supporters said the increase would mean a median household in Utah would see a $416 tax increase annually – $102 in additional sales taxes and $314 more in income taxes.
The money raised is estimated to be about $450 million from income taxes and $250 million from sales taxes. The bulk of the new revenue, 85 percent, would go to K-12 public schools, and 15 percent to higher education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaR (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abt (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abp (AP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abu (AP via PDH)

 

Nebo School District hires architect for high school rebuilds

Payson, Spanish Fork and Springville will have to wait a bit longer for a new high school.
The Nebo School District Board of Education voted in May to approve the hiring of KMA Architects, Inc., of Provo, to make conceptual designs for onsite rebuilds of Payson High School, Spanish Fork High School and Springville High School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaW (PDH)

 

Former Woodruff Elementary students recall old times as school’s demolition nears

The old Woodruff Elementary building at Logan High has the same domed ceiling, brick walls and tiled bathrooms as it did in the ’60s, but the rules were different back then.
Today, students casually throw away leftover food without a second thought. But Norma Olsen recalled a time when the principal’s wife would strictly monitor every lunch tray to make sure every student finished their lunch. Olsen said she would try to sneak leftovers into her milk carton.
“It was just the rule: You had to eat everything,” she said.
Former students of Woodruff Elementary, which was open for 94 years from 1891 to 1985, wandered through the halls lined with old furniture and classrooms full of construction debris Monday night for one final look before the building will be demolished later this month as Logan High is remodeled. The building’s footprint will become a parking lot for the high school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaX (LHJ)

 

Remembering West Jordan Middle School’s history

The community came together to celebrate the history and the future of West Jordan Middle School at the May 1 groundbreaking of its new school building.
“We see this school as being a community center, and by that I mean memories are made in our schools,” said Principal Dixie Garrison.
The school has been a key feature of the south valley for 59 years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abr (West Jordan Journal)

 

Jordan High School graduation location moved due to high temperatures
The ceremony will be held at the Maverik Center at 6:30 p.m.

SANDY, Utah – Heads up to those attending the Jordan High graduation ceremony Tuesday-the location and time has changed.
Officials have changed the venue from an outside location to an inside location due to high temperatures and the ceremony will now be 30 minutes earlier than originally planned.
Monday the principal of the school tested the temperature of the field. It was a whopping 161 degrees and temperatures were 10 degrees cooler outside than forecasted for Tuesday.
“We recognize this is a departure from tradition, and we thank students for being so understanding. After all, we want families to comfortably and safely enjoy this can’t-miss event,” Canyons School District said.
Commencement will begin June 6th at 6:30 p.m. at the Maverik Center located at 3200 Decker Lake Drive in West Valley.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaY (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ab0 (KSL)

 

Landmark High School teacher jailed for having sex with students strikes plea deal

A former Landmark High School teacher has entered a plea deal after two male students came forward and told police she had sexual intercourse with them during the last winter break.
The defendant, Sarah Lewis, appeared before Judge Samuel McVey on Monday in Provo’s Fourth District Court and entered a guilty plea to one second-degree felony of forcible sexual abuse.
Lewis, 28, was previously charged with two first-degree felonies of rape, one third-degree felony of tampering with a witness and seven class A misdemeanors of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaV (PDH)

 

Fire causes up to $300K worth of damage to Utah school

HIGHLAND, Utah- Investigators say a Sunday fire caused up to $300,000 worth of damage to a Utah elementary school.
Reports say the firefighters found flames up to 10 feet high coming from part of Ridgeline Elementary School’s roof. A firefighter says there was no smoke inside the building which meant the fire was confined to the roof.
According to reports, no one was injured in the incident.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaT (AP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aaU (AP via OSE)

 

Always by her side: Diabetic high school student’s Golden Retriever named Katie earns her spot in the yearbook after coming to class with her owner every day for two years
The junior at North Summit High School in Utah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2014 and got Katie the golden retriever shortly after

In a Utah high school’s yearbook, one photo among rows of smiling students stands out: ‘Katie Blonquist,’ a serious-looking golden retriever.
Katie is a service dog for Hailee Blonquist, a 17-year-old junior who is pictured to the left of her faithful companion.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abv ([London] Daily Mail)

 

St. George BYU Management Society Honors HS Grads with Scholarships

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The St. George Chapter of BYU Management Society recently honored 15 area graduating High School Seniors and one BYU Management student with cash scholarships to help them continue their education. The scholarships were based on a weighted scale that included academic record, community service, written essay, need based, and extra curricular activities. Not all the recipients are headed to Brigham Young University, nor is it a requirement, as some will enroll at Dixie State University, Utah State University, and Southern Utah University. Over the past nine years the St. George Chapter has given out over $70,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors and BYU Marriott School of Management students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab1 (KCSG)

 

Teen Writing Workshop at SUU

CEDAR CITY, Utah – In connection with the WriteOut Foundation, Southern Utah University presents the inaugural WriteOut Camp, a writing workshop experience for teenagers 13-18. The camp will take place on June 28th-30th, 2017. Students will learn from published authors in classroom-sized settings, hike and write in Bryce Canyon National Park, attend a performance of As You Like It at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and enjoy other activities such as a closing gala, author panels and signings, and on-campus activities and tours. Camp attendance requires registration; evening events are open to the public.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abs (KCSG)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Ending school ‘lunch shaming’ is long overdue
Deseret News editorial

So-called “lunch shaming” – the practice of taking away a student’s school lunch when they can’t pay for it – has been a surprisingly common tactic for school districts across the nation.
We applaud actions currently underway to find new ways to reconcile with students and parents who don’t pay their school lunch balance.
School districts have been instructed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees school lunch programs, to adopt policies this year that use tactics other than “shaming” to get families to pay meal bills. It’s unfortunate that a mandate from a federal agency is necessary to cause schools to stop doing something that common decency suggests shouldn’t be done in the first place.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaS

 

Spin job
(St. George) Spectrum letter from Beth McAffee

The Spectrum & Daily News published the AP article, “Report: Utah schools more likely to punish students of color.” It said an analysis showed Native American students were disciplined more, but all it showed was numbers.
It begs the question: Why is any student disciplined? Is it because they are listening, considerate, controlling their mouth, following rules? Nope.
The article infers Utah teachers unfairly punish Native American students. Yet, I doubt it. Most teachers became educators because they want to teach AND they like kids.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abq

 

The Cynical Dishonesty of Anti-Choice ‘Education Reformers’
Far too often, those who claim to fight for the interests of low-income students are actually doing the opposite.
National Review commentary by ALEXANDRA DESANCTIS, William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute

Donald Trump’s first budget proposal would allocate $1.4 billion for school-choice programs over the coming fiscal year, and many supposed education-reform advocates are not happy about it.
In a Los Angeles Times op-ed last week, two prominent leaders in the field – Jonah Edelman, the president of the pro-charter school group Stand for Children, and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers – claimed that Trump’s school-choice plan would “siphon billions of dollars from public schools to fund private and religious school vouchers.”
In fact, the president’s budget would invest $1.15 billion in public school-choice programs and a mere $250 million in private school-choice scholarships. Edelman and Weingarten argue that this allocation of funds would “deal a terrible blow to public schools and to the 90% of America’s children who attend them, while doing almost nothing to benefit children who receive vouchers.” They go on to claim that “facts” and “research” have shown that vouchers harm student learning and achievement.
This assertion is, to be blunt, completely unsubstantiated by the evidence.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abi

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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DeVos ‘not going to be issuing decrees’ on civil rights protections
USA Today

WASHINGTON – U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos clashed with Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday over protections for LGBT students, balking when asked directly if she would ban private schools from receiving federal funds if they discriminate against these students.
The Trump administration wants to invest millions into an unprecedented expansion of private-school vouchers and public-private charter schools, prompting critics to worry that religious schools, for example, might expel LGBT students or, more broadly, that private schools might refuse to admit students with disabilities. Testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, DeVos told Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), “Let me be clear: Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law. Period.”
But after another Democrat, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, pointed out that federal law is “somewhat foggy” surrounding LGBT student protections, DeVos simply repeated that schools must follow federal law, adding, “Discrimination in any form is wrong.”
Merkley pressed again, asking DeVos point-blank whether private and charter schools receiving federal funds under Trump’s budget proposal could discriminate against students based on sexual orientation or religion.
She said the department “is not going to be issuing decrees” on civil rights protections.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab2

http://gousoe.uen.org/ab7 (Ed Week)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abh (WaPo)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abn ([Washington, DC] The Hill)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ab4 (AP)

A copy of Secretary DeVos’s opening statement
http://gousoe.uen.org/abl (ED)

 

DeVos Revisits Proficiency vs. Growth on Tests, But Does She Clarify Her Views?
Education Week

In a recent radio interview, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos got the chance to clarify her views on a debate that caused a lot of controversy in the education world during her confirmation hearing: Does proficiency or growth matter more when it comes to measuring student performance. But did she dispel any misconceptions about her views?
http://gousoe.uen.org/abf

 

In States’ Private-School Vouchers, Few Safeguards Against Discrimination
Concerns over how a federal program would protect students
Education Week

How far can private schools that take taxpayer-funded vouchers go in selecting students without running afoul of civil rights and antidiscrimination laws?
The answer is complicated-and less than reassuring to those concerned about the rights of students of color, LGBT students, and children with disabilities.
And it’s a question supercharged now by the Trump administration’s strong advocacy for expanding school choice and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ opaque stance on the issue, especially in recent testimony before members of Congress.
This tension took center stage in a recent congressional hearing on Trump’s proposed education budget-which includes $250 million in competitive grants to fund vouchers, and to study their effects-as Democrats pushed DeVos to say whether she would prohibit federally funded vouchers from going to private schools that don’t admit certain groups of students.
DeVos did not name an instance of discrimination that would rule out a private school from participating. But she did stress that her agency would investigate any alleged civil rights violations in schools.
Federal anti-discrimination laws include protections for race, color, and national origin under Title VI, for those with disabilities under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and for gender under Title IX, among others.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab8

 

Best State-Level Practices for Teacher Leadership Outlined in Report
Education Week

How can states meaningfully engage teacher leaders? A new policy brief from Chiefs for Change, a nonprofit organization for district and state education chiefs, outlines a broad framework for what makes an effective, sustainable teacher leadership system.
State-level teacher leadership, the brief says, cannot be limited to participation in working groups. Instead, teachers should be empowered to create and sustain effective education policy; the state should build a culture of innovation (rather than allowing the red tape of bureaucracy to strangle any ideas that teachers have); and teacher leaders should be set up to address a specific challenge, rather than a vague leadership call to action.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abd

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/abe (Chiefs for Change)

 

The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools
New York Times

In San Francisco’s public schools, Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce, is giving middle school principals $100,000 “innovation grants” and encouraging them to behave more like startup founders and less like bureaucrats.
In Maryland, Texas, Virginia and other states, Netflix’s chief, Reed Hastings, is championing a popular mathteaching program where Netflixlike algorithms determine which lessons students see.
And in more than 100 schools nationwide, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief, is testing one of his latest big ideas: software that puts children in charge of their own learning, recasting their teachers as facilitators and mentors.
In the space of just a few years, technology giants have begun remaking the very nature of schooling on a vast scale, using some of the same techniques that have made their companies linchpins of the American economy. Through their philanthropy, they are influencing the subjects that schools teach, the classroom tools that teachers choose and fundamental approaches to learning.
The involvement by some of the wealthiest and most influential titans of the 21st century amounts to a singular experiment in education, with millions of students serving as de facto beta testers for their ideas. Some tech leaders believe that applying an engineering mindset can improve just about any system, and that their business acumen qualifies them to rethink American education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abg

 

Lawmakers vote to abolish State Board of Education
(Dover) Delaware State News

DOVER – The executive director of the Delaware Board of Education says she was caught off-guard by lawmakers voting to get rid of the group.
The board was one of several casualties of May 30’s meeting of the Joint Finance Committee.
While that action could still be undone it appears for now the long-standing group is going away.
“This action on Tuesday was very much a surprise to the board,” Donna Johnson, the board’s director since 2011, said last week. “We had not received any communication from them or any request for information at all.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/abm

 

Supreme Court Backs Church Hospitals, Schools in Case on Pension Rules
Education Week

Washington — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday eased the fears of religious schools across the country on a closely watched benefits issue by ruling that the pension plans of church-affiliated organizations-hospitals, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters in addition to schools-are exempt under the main federal law governing retirement benefits.
The court ruled 8-0 that a retirement plan maintained by a “principal-purpose organization” such as a religious hospital or school qualifies as a “church plan” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, regardless of who established it. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch did not participate in the case, which was argued before he joined the court.
The decision in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton (Case No. 16-74) is a relief to schools and church-affiliated organizations because the justices rejected the interpretation of three federal courts of appeals that held in recent years that ERISA’s exemption for church pension plans applied only if a church “established” the pension plan.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab9

http://gousoe.uen.org/abb (Bloomberg)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abc (Reuters)

A copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/aba (U.S. Supreme Court)

 

Trump and DeVos Announce New Hires at Education Department
Education Week

President Donald Trump has tapped Peter Oppenheim, a top aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to serve as the assistant secretary for congressional affairs at the U.S. Department of Education. His nomination will need Senate sign-off.
At the same time, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has announced two new hires for positions that don’t require Senate approval: Kimberly Richey, as a deputy assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services, and Adam Kissel, as deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs. Kissel most recently served as a program officer for higher education at the Charles Koch Foundation, which advocates for conservative policies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abj

http://gousoe.uen.org/abk (ED)

 

Google to teach school kids about online safety, etiquette
Associated Press

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google is spearheading an educational campaign to teach pre-teen children how to protect themselves from scams, predators and other trouble.
The program announced Tuesday is called “Be Internet Awesome.” Google coordinated the curriculum with several online safety groups, including the Family Online Safety Institute , the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and Connect Safely .
The lessons are tailored for kids ranging from eight to 12 years old, a time when many of today’s children are getting their own smartphones and other devices that connect to the internet. To make the experience more fun, Google and its partners developed a game called “Interland” to help teach children about the ins and outs of online safety.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaZ

 

Bill banning use of Native American mascots in public schools subject of Beacon Hill hearing
Boston Globe

A bill that would ban the use of Native American mascots in public schools in Massachusetts is heading to a hearing before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education on Tuesday.
Activists say dozens of schools in the state have such mascots.
The bill, filed by Senator Barbara L’Italien, an Andover Democrat, provides that “the use of any Native American mascot by a public school in the Commonwealth is prohibited.”
The bill defines a Native American mascot as a ”name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian tribe, individual, custom, or tradition that is used by a public school as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead, or team name.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/abo

 

Two honor roll students fatally shot in Maryland on eve of high school graduation
Washington Post

Two Maryland honor roll students, set to graduate Tuesday afternoon, were fatally shot late Monday inside a car in Montgomery County, officials said.
Shadi Adi Najjar, 17, of Breezedale Lane in Germantown, and Artem S. Ziberov, 18, of Flag Harbor Drive in Germantown, were killed in the county’s Montgomery Village area.
Both had been on the honor roll as juniors and were set to graduate from Northwest High School in Germantown, officials said. Seniors held a graduation practice at the school on Monday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab5

http://gousoe.uen.org/ab6 (AP)

 

Georgetown middle school girl called an ape, slave by fellow students
School issued a report saying the girl “was a victim of more than one incident of racially harassing conduct.”
Austin (TX) American-Statesman

A girl at Tippit Middle School in Georgetown told an African-American girl in May that she looked like an ape and also referred to her as a slave and pretended to whip her, according to a written report from the school.
A male student also made a racial remark to the black student, the report said.
The father of the 12-year-old student who was harassed, Robert Ranco, said last week the school didn’t appropriately discipline the girl or other students who were involved. None of the students were suspended, said Ranco, who is a civil rights lawyer in Round Rock.
He said the district didn’t even refer to the incidents that happened as bullying.
“It makes me feel like the school district is sweeping this under the rug,” he said. “Georgetown ISD has had a least a few suicides in the last five years resulting from bullying. … I don’t have that concern for my daughter, but I’m sure other parents didn’t think their kids were suicidal, either.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aaQ

 

Serb president bans teaching about Sarajevo siege, Srebrenica genocide
Reuters

Bosnia’s Serb Republic leader on Tuesday banned any teaching about the siege of Sarajevo and genocide in Srebrenica, denying for the first time that Bosnian Serb forces besieged and attacked people in the capital for years during the 1990s war.
Bosnian Serb leaders have always denied the 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks in Srebrenica was genocide although two international war crimes courts have stated the atrocity constituted genocide.
In the siege of Sarajevo, hundreds of thousands of people were bombed and shot at from surrounding hills and kept without food, water and electricity for nearly four years. More than 11,000 people died, including 1,100 children.
“It’s impossible to use here the textbooks … which say the Serbs have committed genocide and kept Sarajevo under siege,” the Serb Republic’s nationalist President Milorad Dodik was quoted as saying by local media.
“This is not correct and this will not be taught here.”
More than 20 years since the war between Bosnian Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats, the Balkan country remains divided along ethnic lines, and students learn different versions of history.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ab3

 

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

June 8:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
10 a.m., The Leonardo, East Classroom, 209 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

June 20:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=APPPED

June 21:

Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=INTEDU

July 13:

Utah State Board of Education committee meetings
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

July 14:

Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

July 25:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPEXE

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