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Senate committee approves budget bill with little new money for education

The United States Congress at its recent swearing-in ceremony

From Education Week:

K-12 education – including money for disadvantaged children and special education – would see stagnant funding under a measure approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

The bill, which was approved on party-line vote of 16-14, aims to reverse some of the cuts to K-12 education programs in the current budget for fiscal year 2011, which ends Sept. 30. The bill would give national non-profit organizations that lost funds—such as the National Writing Project and Reading is Fundamental—a chance to compete for new funds.

And it would provide another year of funding for Striving Readers, a comprehensive literacy program, which received no new money in the fiscal 2011 budget. The Obama administration wanted to consolidate the program into a bigger funding stream aimed at boosting literacy -and House Republicans cited that decision in targeting the program for elimination.



Loking for new ways to build new schools

A school under construction in kentucky

A school under construction in Kentucky


As they search for ways to fund badly needed school projects, Maryland officials plan to closely scrutinize contracts under which private investors build and operate schools in Canada and the United Kingdom.

“Every town, every city, has a lot of new schools,” Glenn Stone, who used to oversee such public-private arrangements in the United Kingdom, said at a school construction conference attended by dozens of local school and state officials Monday in Annapolis.

State and local governments are staring at a $6 billion price tag just to bring public schools in Maryland up to minimum building standards. As a result, they have expressed interest in arrangements that treat schools like secure long-term investment opportunities for banks and contractors, in exchange for a short-term infusion of badly needed capital.

Under the typical arrangement, private investors put up a significant portion of the money for new schools, and then design and build them. They then operate, maintain and repair schools under contracts sometimes lasting a quarter-century or more, and the school boards, which maintain ownership of the building and still run classroom instruction, make scheduled payments to the private groups.



Fresno, CA Superintendent takes 800,000 pay cut

Fresno County California Superintendent Larry Powell recently volunteered to take a massive pay cut in order to be able to re-allocate the funds to his district. Powell, who makes over $230,000 with an additional $50,000 in benefits, will be making just over $30,000 a year under the plan, which will save over $800,000 over the next few years.

Read more on the story at the Sacramento Bee’s website


County faces $24 million shortfall in ed budget

School Bus

(Photo via

From the Baltimore Sun:

Even after slashing nearly 200 teaching positions, Baltimore County schools are facing another projected budget shortfall for next year and will have to make millions of dollars in cuts, the school board learned Saturday.Baltimore County schools chief financial officer Barbara S. Burnopp delivered the dire financial news to the board during a morning retreat. She said the shortfall could range anywhere from $10.9 million to $24.4 million. 

“Last year, I gave a scenario that was about doom and gloom. … The bad news is that I am saying fiscal year 2013 will be no different,” Burnopp told board members. “The economy is all over the place. … We know it will not be a strong economy.” 

Burnopp said she could not envision a scenario in which teachers and other employees would receive cost-of-living pay raises, and she projected deeper, undetermined cuts to the budget. She also said the school system will need to renegotiate its health care agreement with the teachers’ union, including discussions about dropping the amount of health care costs paid for by the schools from 90 percent to 80 percent.  Continue Reading →