I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
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WASHINGTON -- Both of Minnesota's Democratic senators voted for the Farm Bill, which had bipartisan support. Both had helped write the bill as members of the Agriculture Committee. The U.S. House has just taken up its version of the bill and is expected to vote on it later this summer. The bill includes a Sen.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County ranks 78th among the state's 87 counties in its level of child poverty. Nearly a quarter of the county's children are living in poverty, almost twice as many as 10 years earlier, according to this year's Kids Count study conducted by the Minnesota office of the Children's Defense Fund. The Kids County annual report uses census data and other public information to track the status of children.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District needs to tackle the low rankings of its elementary schools as diligently as it would deal with sudden financial problems, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said this week. Kjergaard and the Willmar School Board discussed the district's next steps Monday at a board meeting. The district must develop improvement plans for Kennedy and Roosevelt elementary schools this summer and have them in effect on Sept. 1. The state judged them among the Minnesota schools most in need of coaching and improvement.
WILLMAR -- An all-out effort to close the achievement gap in Willmar's schools will have an impact on the budget for the next school year. The Willmar School Board adopted the fiscal year 2013 budget this week, with general fund expenditures of $44.1 million, a 3 percent increase. The new budget will go into effect on July 1. The budget projects general fund revenue of $42.3 million, an increase of 1.3 percent.
WILLMAR -- Debate on a new federal Farm Bill is likely to begin next week in the U.S. House. Calling Congress "fairly dysfunctional" Tuesday in Willmar, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said, "I'm proud to say that the one part of Washington that's still working is the Agriculture Committee." The Senate is debating the Farm Bill this week. Peterson, D-Minn., spoke to the Kiwanis at the Willmar Community and Activity Center. He represents the 7th District, which includes most of the western third of Minnesota. Peterson will be traveling in his district for the rest of the week, while the U.S.
WILLMAR -- Willmar juniors and seniors will each pay a $50 annual rental fee when they are issued Apple iPads in September. The Willmar School Board adopted a policy and a student/parent handbook for iPad use at school.
WILLMAR -- More than 80 percent of this year's Willmar Senior High graduates plan to continue their education. Nearly a third of the 230 graduates will attend Ridgewater College, and many of them intend to transfer to a four-year college or university to complete four-year degrees. The school released its annual survey of seniors this week. The information was compiled and provided to the Tribune by Amy Isaacson in the Senior High counseling office. This year's seniors will graduate at 2 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Not that long ago, a device to help hearing-impaired people communicate could cost $12,000 or more. Now, a $500 Apple iPad tablet computer with a 99-cent application can do much the same thing. An app on a school-owned iPad helped Willmar Senior High sophomore Juan Carranza work with another student to deliver a report and PowerPoint presentation in health class this past school year. Carranza has a serious hearing loss, and the other student is profoundly deaf. It's one of special education teacher Amber Johannes's favorite examples of what the iPads can do for her students. B
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District is likely to have a new administrative structure and a new teacher evaluation system when school opens in September. The School Board held a workshop Wednesday afternoon to learn more about the state's new accountability system, developed after the state received a waiver from the No Child Left Behind federal education law. The new teacher ev-aluations are re-quired by a state law passed a year ago. The district's two elementary schools were listed among the lowest-performing schools in the state on measures of student growth, student achievement or th
WILLMAR -- U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the second member of Minnesota's congressional delegation to express confidence that a new farm bill will be passed this summer. During a trip to Willmar this week, Klobuchar said floor debate in the Senate is to be held in June. The bipartisan support in the Agriculture Committee should lead to bipartisan support on the Senate floor, too, she said. Once it's through the Senate, "there's a lot of pressure on the House to get it done," Klobuchar said. U.S. Rep.