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2 from USD 418 recognized as top first-year teachers

Katherine Hughes at McPherson Middle School and Jennifer Love at Roosevelt Elementary School were among 16 educators in Kansas to receive the 2013 Kansas Cable Telecommunications Horizon Award. The award recognizes teachers who have successfully completed their first year of teaching and have performed in such a way as to distinguish themselves as outstanding.

Congratulations to Hughes and Love on their achievement. Although USD 418 has had many Horizon award winners in the past, this is the first year the district has had two in one year.

History standards to be restructured

The Kansas Board of Education is moving forward with new history standards that will require students to think more critically about historical events.

USD 418 is ahead of the game as its College and Career Ready Initiative already is in line with the new standards.

These new standards in teaching promise that students will not just memorize dates and names but be able to consider the effects of historical events on our society today.

Congratulations to Terry for 47 years of service

Congratulations to Harris Terry who retired last week after serving 47 years in county government.
He worked for 27 years in law enforcement, and then was elected to the McPherson County Commission, where he served an addition 20 years.

He was instrumental in getting the McPherson Law Enforcement Center built and worked on many other county projects.

We thank you for your service and wish you well in your new endeavors.

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Reading program may need revisions

During his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback announced his plan for $12 million in programs to aid struggling readers.

He claims too many students are reaching the fourth grade unable to read.

Although additional funding for reading is looked on favorably by local educators, those same educators have concerns about where the money would be spent.

McPherson Director of Instruction Angie McDonald said the focus of reading proficiency should be on toddlers and early elementary students.

The governor is moving in the right direction, but he may need to tweak his plan.

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Brownback balks at court-ordered school funding increase

An education funding lawsuit in Shawnee County resulted Jan. 11, in the court ordering the state to increase per pupil base aid for schools from $3,838 to $4,492.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's budget proposals, released Wednesday would not raise school funding to near that level.

He would phase in a $76 million increase in aid to public schools during two years and use revenues from state-owned casinos to help fund teachers' pensions.

He proposed the state keep its base aid for public schools at $3,838 for the fiscal year that begins in July and then increase it by $14, to $3,852 during the fiscal year that begins in July 2014.

Brownback also is proposing the state dedicate $77 million in casino revenues to teacher pensions during the next two fiscal years.

Well-educated students will mean a competent and productive workforce in the future. This is what Kansas needs to grow its economy. With the economy improving, the millions in education funding that have cut in recent years needs to be restored.

— Cristina Janney for The McPherson Sentinel Editorial Board