PTA embezzlement alert: Last year’s treasurer–this year’s suspect

This one comes from Harry Truman’s hometown. Prosecutors say there were two sets of books and an unauthorized bank debit card involved.
Independence, MO — Mary A. Ward has been charged with felony theft/stealing of at least $500 from the Blue Hills Elementary School PTA account.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced the charges Wednesday against Ward, 31.

Ward left the position of treasurer of the Blue Hills PTA last summer, and the new treasurer reported to the PTA president that there was approximately a $22,000 discrepancy in the account.

Read more.  KCTV also has an account with video.


State school chief opposes charter school amendment

After the Georgia Supreme Court ruled last year that the state cannot usurp local school systems’ role in approving charter schools, the Republican-dominated General Assembly pushed a constitutional amendment onto the November ballot to give the state that authority.. 

Georgia State School Superintendent John Barge has bucked his party and come out in formal opposition to the amendment.  He states:

“I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education,” Barge said in a prepared statement. “What’s more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases).”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more.

You can read Barge’s full statement here.

California discriminates against in-state students

We’ve seen hints of it here in Georgia, especially in Georgia Tech: A growing preference for out-of-state and foreign applicants who pay much higher tuition rates than in-state students. In cash-strapped California, it’s gotten bizarre. California State University has banned in-state applicants from its graduate programs. That’s rather stunning—do you smell a lawsuit here? I mean, did anyone ever think that using a person’s national origin against them would be used against U.S. citizens? This is just getting too weird. Of course, California hamstrung itself a long time ago by severely limiting the state’s ability to raise revenues. They’re hoping to change that with a referendum to raise taxes, but I wouldn’t bet it will pass.

From Inside Higher Ed:

In California, where public higher education has experienced cut after cut, the choices are particularly difficult. For the spring semester of 2013, the California State University has told campus leaders they may not admit any Californian students to graduate programs. Given that tuition covers only a fraction of the costs of these students’ education, the university said it couldn’t afford them.

Read more.

Paul Ryan and higher education

What are the views of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin on higher education? Being a budget-minded kind of guy, Ryan has focused mainly on expenses.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

… Ryan has spoken (well before being considered for vice president) against more spending on student aid. In a video interview with Reason magazine, he said that Obama’s spending on student aid imposed unreasonable costs on the public, and represented “new unfunded liabilities.”

Romney had spoken in the past of his support for Ryan’s budget plan — at one point calling it “marvelous.” But his choice of the Wisconsin Republican as a running mate indicates an endorsement of education cuts deeper than those Romney himself has proposed so far. In a recent appearance at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, one of Romney’s education advisers said the candidate would eliminate or consolidate several grant programs and supported a return to bank-based student lending, which would actually cost the federal government money.

Read more.

Oh no they didn’t, Georgia Regents edition

Yes they did. The Georgia Board of Regents has named the new university resulting from the merger of Augusta State University with Georgia Health Sciences University (ick to that name, too) after … themselves. Georgia Regents University. Kind of has a ring to it. Not.

Arrogant, unpopular, and stupid? A little bit.

The legislature already thinks these folks are too big for their britches. Why did the Regents have to go and show them their pants were a three sizes too small? Only one regent voted against the self-gratifying moniker, calling it ”widely unpopular.”

This was done over the objections of Augusta residents, officials from Regent University, and just about anyone with a lick of sense. They had hundreds of names to choose from. I like “The University of Augusta.”

I mean, come on, it’s in Augusta. Can you think of a city that has a name with more gravitas than that?

This is just dumb and prideful. I hope they reverse their decision, but dumb and prideful tends to stick.

Read more and embrace the outrage.