What did happen today that got missed, you ask? The weather is one that probably didn’t go unnoticed, but depending on where you live, funding to deal with it might have. Here in Missoula the main roads were worse than the secondary roads. Alas, global warming…what can you do?
Closer to earth, or at least its back alleys, was a story on the Poverello Center here in Missoula. Seems they stopped allowing drunk people into the shelter when it’s really cold out, like now. There’s a risk they could die. And this decision was made more than a year ago.
Why is that news? Maybe because the $5 million shelter spent too much on the cafeteria and not enough on the 100 beds they’ve got. But I don’t want to speculate too much on the homeless shelter, it being such a hot-button issue in the Garden City.
But back to Office of Public Instruction Director Denise Juneau, I was glad to see someone did some work and got her 2015 Montana OPI Legislative Agenda profiled (I figured it’d fall through the cracks).
Why? It’s a PDF. People hate to open those, in my opinion, and click away more often than not. Then trying to resize them…it’s a pain. Still, because of this report we know that:
- From 2009 to 2013, the high school graduation rate has increased from 80.7% to 84.4%;
- Montana public schools educated 92% of the students in the state;
- From 2009 to 2013, high school drop-outs declined, from 5% to 3.6%;
- This accounts for 772 fewer dropouts, which translates into $68.2 million in additional revenue for them and their families over their lifetime;
- Nationally, high school dropouts earn $9,200 less than those who graduate;
- Montana lost $830 million this year due to lost earnings from dropouts;
- Montana families saved $1.9 million on college in 2013 by taking 3,097 AP exams and achieving passing grades;
- 38% of Montana middle school students were bullied in 2013;
- 19% of Montana middle school students were bullied online in 2013;
- 11.4% of Montana students were in need of special education services this past year, which accounts for 16,473 students. The state picks up 33% of those extra costs, while local schools cough-up 41%. The feds offer a measly 26%.
In the IR article, Deedy goes into a few funding measures to improve AP testing (we actually have students going to Spokane, seriously?) and doing some stuff with raising the dropout age and funding it. Both of the latter bills are sponsored by Democrats – Senator Robyn Driscoll of Billings and Senator Mary Sheehy Moe of Great Falls – so that means Laszloffy will probably put her foot down on them.
On to other matters, Kohl’s in Missoula is planning to get 100 part-time jobs, the bastards. I caused a lot of uproar when I wrote about their crappy jobs earlier this year, but not as much when I compared them to Decker Trucking.
I just think these jobs are lousy, and I wouldn’t want to work there. I couldn’t afford to work there. Not only am I only making $8.05, but I’m not even getting 40 hours a week, so I’m not making $1,288 a month (which only takes legislators 7 days to make, by the way).
All in all, companies like this are bad for America. Oh, they could be, but that would take a real bout of leadership from management. Anyone who’s worked in the private sector knows not to expect that anytime soon.
It really comes down to per student spending, which is a puny $136 per student per year. That’s $0.37 a day. Oregon got an F and we did tie Idaho. I’m just looking for the bright spots on this one, folks.
Speaking of looking for the bright spots, Jon Tester spoke about that to the Chamber of Commerce today in Helena. Tester’s the only guy we’ve got in Washington now, and he’s looking ahead to a 5-year highway bill that won’t rely on deficits to fund. He also wants to get our Pell Grants working better (hopefully for students) and also the Post Office working better. I see a lot of people in the Post Office in Missoula, and it’d be a shame to let it go under.
Those are the big stories of the day – maybe some legislators are reading them and not out painting the town red.