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August 20, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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August 20, 2015
 

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CHENEY FREE PRESS Thursday, August 20, 2015 ~*" "' " ~' ~!~," "~".' ~'~:" '~ii !i~''' " =i~.~ ' ~,~i~| I Thursday, Aug. 13, was a day when math made a lot of head- lines in our part of the world. Former Eagles quarterback Vernon Adams passed his test in Eugene allowing him to fi- nally fulfill his final requirement towards graduation from East- ern Washington University and get his shot to play quarterback with the Oregon Ducks. Meanwhile in Olympia, the Washington state Supreme Court issued their grade to the state Legislature over efforts to fully fund K-12 education. In the opinion of the seven justices who interpret the law, they unanimously handed law- makers the equivalent of a big fat "I" for incomplete. The court ruled unanimously that until the legislature puts forth a plan that will be accept- able to justices in satisfying the requirements of the Mc- Cleary Decision, the state faces a $100,000 per day fine. It wasn't asif this was a sur- prise to legislators. In September 2014 they were ruled to be in contempt of court and given un- til the end of the recently com- pleted session to satisfy those demands. The timing of Thursday's rul- ing seemed to be a bolt of light- ning out of the blue, however, catching many by surprise. That included the Cheney Free Press editorial board, whose original intent was to offer thoughts how we felt lawmakers had done in their marathon sessions in properly increasing school funding. The court seems to have beaten us to it. Perhaps the best way to evaluate the efforts of the Legis- lature is to look at the numbers. In the 2015-2017 biennial budget of $38 billion, K-12 education received a $2.9 billion raise to $18.15 billion. That's a nearly 20 percent increase from the $15.26 billion it got in the last bienni- um, or aboClt 48 percent of state spending the next two years. By comparison the next big- gest part of the budget pie is 18 percent and goes to "other human services" and 17 percent to the Department of Social and Health Services. Higher Educa- tion collects 8.5 percent and the Department of Natural Resourc- es .8 percent. Those are the numbers we know, but what is troubling are those we don't. The court seems to know what they want out of legislators - to uphold the "paramount duty of provid- ing for public schools" - as the state constitution stipulates. Key education players, how- ever, seem to find it hard to provide a hard number on how much is enougK Inquiries to the Office of Superintendent of Public In- struction, and the Washington Education Association as to just what they might want out of the Legislature were not at all clear. "WEA doesn't have a num- ber," union communications director Linda Mullen wrote in an email. Mullen directed us to a website with a graph showing an ultimate per-pupil expendi- ture of $12,701 by 2017-2018, up from the $7,645 WEA says was spent in 2014-2015. "For OSPI's perspective on fully funding basic education, I recommend checking out Dorn's Complete Plan," Kristen Jaudon, OSPI communications specialist also wrote in an email. OSPI Superintendent Randy Dorn references the legislation that defines basic education, along with steps that need to be taken by the state to take the burden off local school districts and provide greater equity for students. But OSPI too seems to be elusive on a dollar figure. While the court, the union and the state department of edu- cation each want more money for K-12 education, another uncertain number is what do the taxpayers in the state receive for this investment? Will pledges of spending nearly 20 percent more of the budget to cut class size, pay teachers more and get young- sters an early jump on school with all-day kindergarten give, us a likewise bump in test scores, graduation rates or similarly im- prove how schools performed on the state's achievement index? Just as there are expectations from the Legislature to solve the funding dilemma, shouldn't citi- zens who pay the bills also have some assurances from schools? Write to the Point, ' Props to th By AL STOVER Staff Reporter ....... We,.~e got one more month :~fV~ummer, which means it's ;; re re still in son. Currently battling more the state. The Chel- an Complex Fire has burned over 100,000 acres. In Stevens County there are three ma- jor fires that a long fire sea: rite crews are than 20 fires in AI Stover have burned over 13,700 acres. On the Colville Indian Reserva- tion, the North Star Fire has burned over 30,000 acres. men and women fighting fi on th front lines In the last month, the West hotter temperatures and in- Spokane County also issuedmany of the brave men and Plains has experienced sev- creasing winds by the middle a burn ban for any currently women who serve as firefight- eral brush and structure fires, of the week. unauthorized "open burn- ers and first responders. Medi- i~cluding two within Airway Irt spring, we knew it was ingles.and recreationat.b~ng cal Lake officers help at Eastern Heights 'and one that con-goingt6 abusyflreseason witlain the uninco pOratedState Hospital and Lakeland sumed 270 acres in the area -- several local officials pre- areas of the county. The city of Village. north of the city. dicted it was going to be the Medical Lake asked residents In addition to fighting With more than 2,600 busiest season yet. In 2014, to voluntarily ban fireworks fires, agencies serve the com- firefighters and support staff Washington came off its big- on July 4. munity. The Medical Lake combating the blazes, re- gestfire season with 897 fires Something we should Fire Department puts on the sources are stretched thin. on Department of Naturaltake note are the men and annual Fisherman'sBreakfast Soldiers from the NationalResources forested land in- women who are firefighters,in April. Airway Heights Guard and Joint Base Lewis- cluding the Carlton Complex In the West Plains there isalways attends local events, McChord are helping fight Fire, the largest wildfire in a strong fire support from including the summer festival fires in Washingtori and other state history, which burned agencies such as Airway and Easter Egg Hunt. The Western states, more than 250,000 acres.Heights, Cheney, Medical Cheney Department escorts The recent cooler weath- State and local officials Lake, Fairchild Air Force Base Santa Claus during the an- er has limited some of thetook measures to mitigate the and Spokane County Fire Dis- nual Candy Cane Hayride growth of fires. Unfortu- cause of fires. In June, DNR tricts 3 and 10. and raises money and food for nately, the relief could be imposed a burn ban on state Inmy years as a reporter the Cheney Food Bank. Fire short-lived as the National forests, state parks and forest- I've gotten to meet some in- Weather Service is predicting lands under its fire protection, teresting characters, including See Write to the Point page 5 FREE SS Vol. 119- No. 18 Press Production Manager Randy Warwick Editor John McCallum Pressman Mark Cordes Reporters Paul Delaney AI Stover Sales Steve Barge DeeAnn Gibb Front Office Dawn Chernak Rachel Stuart Graphics Brittani Montecucco John Myers Bookkeeper/Office Manager Debi Labish Publisher Harlan Shellabarger The Editorial Board is composed of Paul Delaney, A1 Stover, Brittani Montecucco, John McCallum and Harlan Shellabarger The Cheney Free Press isThe Free Press re- published every Thursday quests that contributors by the Free Press Publish- observe the following dead- ing Company, William Ifft, lines, which will be strictly president. Periodical post- enforced: age paid at Cheney, Wash. 99004. Published at 1616 W. OBITUARIES, MEETINGS OF GOVERNMENT First Street, Cheney, Wash. AGENCIES -- Tuesday, 10 a.m. 99004. CHURCH, CLUB MEETINGS, ALL SOCIAL NEWS -- Monday, noon POSTMASTER: Send DISPLAY ADVERTISING -- Monday, 4 p.m. address changes to: Cheney LEGAL NOTICES -- Monday, 5 p.m. Free Press, P.O. Box 218, CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING- Tuesday, 11 Cheney, Wash. 99004-0218. a.rn. ID PUBLICATION # 102240 Rates: Addresses in Spokane County, $24 per year; $36 per year outside Spokane County; senior citizens in Spokane County, $22 per year. For other rates, call 235- 6184. Subscription cancellations are non-refundablel HOW TO CONTACT US Phone: 235-6184 Fax: 235-2887 emaih cfp @ cheneyfreepress.com www.cheneyfreepress.com VA hospitals provide professional care In this day of blaming it. Many have much more one has to wait for treatment, everybody for what is wrong serious physical and mental rarely does it exceed 10 Inin- with the Veterans Affairs challenges than I at the pres- utes or so. Everyone is treated health system, I would just ent time. fairly and with respect - re- like to publicly state that never From the moment one re-gardless - of one's rank or have I received such profes- ports to the facility, you are health issue. sional care and treatment in met by a roving volunteerSpeaking as a former Ma- a timely manner in the past ambassador and escorted to rine of eight years as well as a few months as at our local VA the area where the treatment hospital. I wish I didn't need or appointment is made. If See Letters page 5 John McCallum Editor Main contact for editorial coverage. Cov- ers all Cheney government, communiOA, school district news and events, as well as Cheney High School sports. jmac @ cheneyfreepress.com A1 Stover Staff Reporter Covers all Medical Lake government, community and school district news, as well as Airway Heights news and Cheney High School sports. al @ cheneyfreepress, com Paul Delaney Staff Reporter I Covers all Medical Lake High School and I Eastern Washington University sports and news. Contact for miscellaneous sports. pdelaney@ cheneyfreepress.com