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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Mpls. funding fight underscores larger school budget pain

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Wednesday, April 3, 2024   

From expiring pandemic aid to declining enrollment, school districts in Minnesota face financial pressure and public school advocates and community organizations said long-term improvements are the answer, not short-term cuts.

In a survey from the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, large school systems across Minnesota report a combined shortfall of $317 million. On Tuesday, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers led a gathering of local groups, calling on district leaders to rethink the cuts proposed for the next school year.

Lindsay Turner, community organizer for TakeAction Minnesota, said as a parent of a Minneapolis student, she is angry.

"Parents shouldn't have to be fighting for crumbs and showing up to school board meetings trying to protect this school's band program at the expense of that one," Turner contended.

Voices like hers said administrators should focus on making schools more attractive for enrollment. They also want state leaders to use existing surplus funds to help soften the blow. Minneapolis district officials said last year's boost in state funding has helped but they still face a large deficit, forcing them to propose tens of millions of dollars in spending reductions.

Broderick Austin, associate pastor of Shiloh Temple International Ministries, said a big focus on cuts comes at the worst possible time for educators and their students.

"The classroom sizes are too big, there's not enough resources, the teachers are overstretched," Austin outlined.

Minneapolis teachers, who went on strike in 2022, are trying to negotiate a new contract with the district, and both sides disagree over how much financial trouble the system is in. As for state aid, while there is still a surplus, forecasts show possible headwinds in the next budget cycle.


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Of the 17 states that have enacted music therapy legislation, 11 have placed the law in its own statute chapter, and others have grouped it with other forms of therapy. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

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Advocates in Wyoming trying to get music therapy licensure recognized in the state are hitting roadblocks. Members of the Wyoming Music Therapy …


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A new report finds New York City environmental-justice communities face worsening air quality. It's part of the Community Heat and Air Mapping …

Environment

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By Ysabelle Kempe for SmartCitiesDive.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Pu…


Environment

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Electric-vehicle owners in North Dakota have long called for more action to boost the state's charging station network. There continues to be mixed …

Around 62% of Michigan households own a pet. Almost 42% of them own a dog and 31% own a cat.
(Drobot Dean/Adobe Stock)

Environment

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Animal lovers and activists in Michigan are celebrating proposed legislation to protect animals and save taxpayers money. Senate Bill 657 and Senate …

Social Issues

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The latest Maryland School Breakfast Report finds tens of thousands fewer kids are being served post COVID. The end of pandemic era waivers two …

Social Issues

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A controversial new law is set to take effect next week, requiring Hoosiers to upload sensitive documents, including driver's licenses and Social …

 

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