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February 26, 2013
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Education Roundup: Schools prepare for sequestration

Education departments in California and Nevada stand to lose millions of dollars in federal funding if sequestration occurs Friday, but how those cuts will affect South Shore schools remains unclear.

Congress delayed sequestration - the result of the 2011 Budget Control Act that mandated automatic budget cuts if the federal government couldn't pass a deficit-reduction plan by 2013 - to March 1. If legislators can't compromise by Friday, the country faces $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next eight years.

According to a report from the White House, funding for primary and secondary education in Nevada would drop by about $9 million this year. The California Department of Education estimates that sequestration cuts might mean an eventual $262-million reduction to the state's federal education program.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District's Chief Financial Officer Debra Yates said district schools could lose $9,700 of federal Impact Aid funding this year, dollars that support bilingual programs on the South Shore.

Most of the effects wouldn't take place until the 2013-14 fiscal year when Title 1 funding for disadvantaged students would drop by 7.8 percent. The district could lose about $56,000 from a $728,000 pot distributed to the school sites for instructional aid, remediation and counseling, Yates said.

The federal government has also threatened to cut special education funding in California by $72 million, but how that would trickle down to local school districts is uncertain.

"I think there will be a lot of pushback, because special education is an area that's been underfunded for many years. To go to that well would be very difficult," Yates said.

Even if the sweeping federal cuts aren't averted, Yates doesn't anticipate any staff reductions. Supplies, conferences, and trainings would disappear before the district resorted to layoffs, she said.

"My philosophy is that you never wrap up all your money in salaries. If we have to take a $50,000 reduction, we would be able to absorb that in other ways than personnel reductions ... We have some safety nets in place," Yates said.

Douglas County School District would also escape most of the sequestration impacts this year, DCSD Chief Financial Officer Holly Luna said. Any adjustments would have to be made when district administrators start planning for the 2013-14 fiscal year in the spring, but so far Luna said she doesn't have enough information to establish alternative plans. The percentage of federal money that would be withheld is unclear.

"We're in a state of flux. For me, it's not that we don't want to look forward, it's that we need more information before I can make those decisions," Luna said. "I just wish the federal government would do its job so we can do ours. It's frustrating. I hope they resolve it and don't just kick the can down the road."

Jamba Juice proceeds benefit ZCES

Purchase Jamba Juice on the first or third Tuesday of every month and 20 percent of the proceeds will go to Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

You must present the Jamba Juice flier, which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/b846rx3, to take advantage of the fundraiser.

The participating Jamba Juice is located at 4000 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Panel addresses impact of LGBTQ identity on career choice

Ardel Thomas, faculty member and chair of the LGBTQQI - or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex - Department at the City College of San Francisco, will feature in a discussion at Lake Tahoe Community College regarding the impact of LGBTQ identity on career choice, career development and career sucess. Thomas will be joined by a panel of local LGBTQ professionals.

The free public event will take place in the LTCC Aspen Room Friday at 7 p.m.

Students read across the country Friday

The California Teachers Association invites students to participate in Read Across America this Friday.

The theme is "Reading Takes You Places" and the CTA chose "Our California" written by Pam Munoz Ryan to celebrate the association's 150th anniversary. CTA and local teachers' associations are planning reading events in schools and communities across the state.

LTCC presents "Around the World in 80 Days"

The Lake Tahoe Community College Theatre Department actors will perform Mark Brown's "Around the World in 80 Days" in the Duke Theatre on March 15-16 and 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. There will also be Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on March 17 and 24.

College to replace phone system

Lake Tahoe Community College plans to replace its aging phone system with a the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system beginning mid-April.

If you are unable to call the college, email is the best solution, according to a LTCC press release. The quick links tab at the top of the LTCC website includes contact information for college departments.

Random difficulty may occur when calling LTCC as the college phases out the current system.

More California students taking Advanced Placement exams

The College Board's 9th annual AP Report to the Nation showed that 37.4 percent of public high school graduates from the 2012 class took an AP exam during high school. That number is up from 29.3 percent in 2007.

Nearly a quarter of California's graduates posted a passing grade of 3 points or higher, ranking the state 8th in the nation in the percentage of students who pass the test.

Almost 37 percent of Latino graduates took the exam, compared to 30.1 percent in 2007.

-Education updates and announcements can be emailed to anavas@tahoedailytribune.com.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 26, 2013 07:54PM Published Feb 26, 2013 07:52PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.