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Local News

Consortium To Host Legislative Tour

The Columbia Gorge Consortium will take a number of Oregon and Washington legislators next week on a bus tour of the western Gorge to discuss transportation, housing, education, and infrastructure needs for the region.  The Consortium is made up of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, Mid-Columbia Council of Governments, Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, and Columbia Gorge Community College.  Dan Spatz of CGCC says the goal of the consortium and the tour is to show the Gorge as one region working together to meet its needs.  The tour next Friday will begin and end at the Pioneer Center in White Salmon.

McCabe Officially Announces Washington State House Bid

Goldendale businesswoman Gina McCabe on Thursday officially announced her intention to seek the Washington 14th District State House seat being vacated by Charles Ross.  McCabe and her family own several businesses in the Goldendale area, and she coaches dance and cheerleading at Goldendale High School.  While making the announcement in Yakima, McCabe said she wants to put family values into policy in Olympia, believing improvements in education and public safety start with parents instilling values in their children.  Two other Republicans have said they want the seat that Ross is leaving:  Yakima businessman Ben Shoval and state National Guard Sergeant Adam Yoest of Yakima.  No Democrats have publically announced an intention to run.

Lyle Middle School To Receive Improvement Grant

Lyle Middle School is one of 13 in Washington that will receive federal School Improvement Grants.  Funds received can be used in a variety of areas, including targeted professional development, supplies and materials, and before- and after-school programs.  Schools receiving the grants were identified as priority schools, defined as being among lowest five percent of Title I schools based on test results.  Title I schools have at least 40 percent of students from low-income families.  This is the third round of School Improvement Grants in Washington.  A state analysis on the first group of schools showed three out of every four schools increased test scores in reading, while 95 percent increased math scores.

Hood River Schools Face Budget Cuts

Declining weighted enrollment, a history of spending down reserves, and increased operational cuts have led to a 2014-15 budget with reductions for the Hood River County School District.  The reductions include one full time equivalent teacher reduction at the elementary level, one-and-three-quarters in the middle schools that would diminish the world language program at that level, and two at Hood River Valley High School that will mostly impact the alternative education program and the diversity of electives.  Other staffing cuts will occur in community education, special education support personnel, and administrative level, plus there will be reductions in discretionary spending.  District Superintendent Dan Goldman says without an increase in state funding support during the next legislative session, there will be more cuts next year, and reserves are still being used to balance the budget this time.  He added the rationale for using reserves in 14-15 was based on the knowledge they will have to make cuts next year without a funding jump.  There was a motion to pass the budget, but committee members decided to meet again this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Hood River Valley High School to give the public an opportunity to provide more comment.




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