Thursday Afternoon News, March 13
Alton Man Arrested For Burglaries And Possesion
(Le Mars) -- A rural Alton man was arrested Tuesday after Plymouth and Sioux county law officers served a search warrent. Thomas Mook, 50, was taken into custody for possesion of stolen property and a controlled substance. The search was conducted following information gathered from recent burglaries in the Alton and Remsen areas. Over 30 power tools along with varous other tools were recovered. During booking, Mook had concealed drug paraphernalia and was subsequentlty charged with introducing controband into a jail facility.
Le Mars Community School Board Concerned About Lack Of Attention On School Funding
(Le Mars) -- Democratic lawmakers are wanting a six percent increase in school funding, but Republican legislators are ignoring that request.
Leaders in the Republican-majority House don't want to consider it until next year even though state law requires the Legislature to set school funding for schools more than a year in advance. Scott Kommes serves as the president of the Le Mars Community School District. He says it is frustrating to see the state legislature not act on education, even when the law dictates that they do so.
Kommes says school districts need to certify their budgets by mid-April. He says when the legislature fails to follow their own rules, it places more work on school administrators.
The Le Mars Community School Board president says in his opinion, the Senate Democrats have shown that education is going to be their priority, since they approved a six percent increase early in the session. He wishes the Republicans would show the same interest in education funding.
Kommes fears the Le Mars Community school district may be forced to cut programs and cut staff if the legislature doesn't appropriate enough money to sustain adequate school funding.
Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he wants to know available tax revenues before making commitments.
Graduation Rates Increase
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The state Department of Education says Iowa's high school graduation rate increased for the class of 2013, making it the third straight year the rate has climbed.
The department announced Thursday that fewer students also dropped out of school.
The graduation rate increased to 89.68 percent. That's up from 89.26 percent in 2012.
Although federal rankings haven't been released, officials note that Iowa's graduation typically ranks near the top in the nation.
Of Iowa's 316 school districts that have high schools, 54 percent saw increases, 4 percent had no change and 42 percent experienced decreases.
The drop-out rate in 2012-2013 was 2.82 percent, a declined from the previous year's 3.2 percent.
University Presidents Meet With Regents
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The presidents of Iowa's three public universities are expected to outline their ideas for how their schools' funding might be linked to performance measures.
A performance-based funding committee created last year by the Iowa Board of Regents meets Thursday in Urbandale.
The committee is expected to develop recommendations to change how state funding flows to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.
Regents are expected to recommend changes in June. The Legislature and the governor would have to decide next year whether to adopt them.
For instance, funding levels might be linked to graduation and retention rates, enrollment and other metrics.
Regent Katie Mulholland says she expects the universities' plans to reflect differences in the types of students they enroll.
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