Day: May 4, 2011

Drastic school library cuts protested

Libraries were the main concern raised at Tuesday night’s hearing of the Salem-Keizer School District budget committee. It was the second in a series of public meetings, all at Claggett Creek Middle School, on cuts the district administration has proposed to keep the district solvent for 2011-12. Other matters addressed by audience members were proposals to shut down three elementary schools and reduce bilingual programs. Before the hearing started, many people stood outside the school building holding signs with messages such as: *“Save our librarians.” *“We love our librarians.” *“Librarians change lives.” *“Don’t eliminate my librarian.” *“There will be consequences.” Most of the 32 people who spoke from the audience focused on the proposal for a deep cut in library-media personnel for kindergarten through eighth grade.   However, the first speaker, Alan Bushong, representing Friends of Music, spoke against reducing music teachers. He urged centralizing music education and instituting a seven-period day for the middle schools. Audience members supporting librarians included Margo Jensen, a retired library-media teacher, who said any reduction should be proportional rather than the proposed 91%. Teacher-librarians, she said, teach literacy and are key to managing information in the 21st century. Jensen urged reducing K-8 librarians by 50%, assigning each remaining one to two schools and keeping libraries open longer. “This should cut the deficit by at least $1.5 million,” she said. Next to speak was Jim...

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Stability, communication at heart of MCFD election

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The four candidates vying for two seats on Marion County Fire District No. 1 board agree that the largest issue at stake is the future stability of the district itself. In the election, incumbents Randy Franke (Position 2) and Orville Downer (Position 1) face challenges from Bob Palmer and Andrea Batchelor, respectively. Ballots in the election, which will go out next week, need to be returned by Election Day, May 17. The contentious races come amid personnel disputes involving Chief J. Kevin Henson and the district’s unions of career and volunteer firefighters as well as outside threats from neighboring fire districts and departments that continue to shrink its tax base. To combat the latter, MCFD1 and Turner Rural Fire District joined forces to create the Willamette Valley Fire and Rescue Authority, an umbrella organization that, as it continues to develop, hopes to partner with other districts to share training and financial services and cut down on overhead in a time of universally-collapsing budgets. “We have a reasonably good start, but our internal issues have diverted our attention and we’ve not been able to put as much attention to WVFRA,” Franke said. “We need to resolve those so we’re in a position for other districts to seriously entertain forming partnerships with us.” Franke is running for his second term on the board and...

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Exchange student bids MHS bon jour and au revoir

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The most surprising things about the U.S. for Alexis Deluzurieu, a French exchange student from Annecy, are differences of scale. Streets are bigger, cars are bigger and the plates are bigger with more food on them. “It’s all bigger than in France,” Deluzurieu, 15, said. “In France we can’t drive until we’re 18, so having teenagers drive is a big change.” Deluzurieu arrived stateside two weeks ago with a contingent of about 90 students from his school visiting the U.S. after four years of courses in English. By the time this article hits stands, he’ll be back in Seattle for a two-day stay and then hop a flight back home. McNary French teacher Marc McAvoy, who spent time in France as a semi-pro basketball player, enlisted Kyle Sykosky’s family to host Deluzurieu and put him to work in class. “The other day, Alexis was the teacher’s aide assisting the kids in my class with their work,” McAvoy said. Deluzurieu said the amount of interaction between students and teachers was a big change for him when he arrived. “In France, the teacher will speak and we write and learn. The students talk a lot more here,” he said. The Sykoskys arranged trips to OMSI and Multnomah Falls and planned an additional outing to the coast, but the one thing Deluzurieu most anticipated was...

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