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2010 December 27 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Former Ala. Chancellor To Draw Pension While Serving Prison Term

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s former two-year college chancellor, Roy Johnson, will be drawing a state pension while serving 6½ years in federal prison for job-related corruption.

Johnson worked about 20 years in state education before getting fired in 2006. He pleaded guilty to 15 charges in 2008.

Johnson has been drawing a $132,000 annual state pension. The director of benefits for the Retirement Systems of Alabama, Don Yancey, told The Birmingham News that a criminal conviction does not eliminate a person’s eligibility for a pension they’ve earned.

Seven other former education employees who were convicted or pleaded guilty in the two-year college probe are also getting pensions. They include $27,060 annually for former Rep. Bryant Melton and $12,384 for former Rep. Sue Schmitz.

  • Wyoming Gov. Proposes $3.4M Funding Increase For Community Colleges

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal is recommending that the Legislature increase funding for the state Community College Commission by $3.4 million a year.

Jim Rose, executive director of the commission, tells the Cheyenne Tribune Eagle the proposal is reasonable.

Freudenthal’s proposal will go before the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee, which will make a recommendation to the full Legislature. The Legislature’s next general session convenes Jan. 11.

The commission had requested a one-time appropriation of $6.8 million to cover the costs of increased enrollment. The governor decided a smaller, recurring increase was more logical.

  • Complaint Spurs Lane CC To Nix Class on Islam

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Lane Community College has pulled the plug on a noncredit winter course called “What is Islam?” because an Islamic group accused the instructor of bias.

President Mary Spilde told The Register-Guard the college decided to take extra care after an alleged bomb plot in Portland and an arson at a Corvallis mosque.

No one had signed up for the course offered by Eugene resident Barry Sommer. The Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to the college accusing Sommer of promoting anti-Muslim bigotry.

Sommer says he has nothing against Muslims but does have concerns about how Islam is defined by its leaders and how some people respond.

  • Ill. Board Seeks Students of Closed School

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Education continues its search for students of a Peoria vocational school that closed abruptly in 2009. Officials say they might be due a partial tuition refund.

New Horizons Computer Learning Center closed in January 2009. Students who believe they have a claim against the school are being asked to contact the State Board of Education.

Private business and vocational schools in Illinois are required to have a surety bond to protect students from closures like New Horizons’. Tuition reimbursement would come from this insurance.

State Board of Education officials say they’re looking for students because the school has failed to submit its list of pupils.

  • Budget Cuts Claim Hawaii Training Program

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii community college job-training program has become a victim of state budget cuts.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that college officials will shut down the program — administered by the Employment Training Center — by the end of the year.

It offered vocational training in areas including auto body repair, culinary arts and office administration technology at Honolulu and Windward community colleges and a satellite site in Kalaeloa and served thousands of people over the past several decades.

But cuts to the state Department of Education’s budget have reduced its tuition subsidies.

College officials say the Windward campus will take over administration of some of the classes and continue offering them there.

  • Chemical Firm Workers To Train At Tenn. College

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — New hires at an eastern Tennessee chemical company will receive much of their training at Chattanooga State Community College under a deal between the German company and the two-year school.

The arrangement represents a multimillion-dollar investment by the polysilicon manufacturer in equipment and facility improvement at the college. Wacker officials confirmed the partnership to The Chattanooga Times Free Press but declined to discuss a dollar amount.

The community college also has a contract with Volkswagen to train employees for its $1 billion plant.

The Wacker plant is on track to open in 2014 and initially will create between 500 and 600 jobs.

  • Mass. Colleges Get $2 Million Federal Grants

BOSTON (AP) — Two Massachusetts community colleges have each been awarded $2 million grants aimed at helping low-income students.

Mass Bay Community College and Roxbury Community College were awarded five-year, U.S. Department of Education grants given to 48 colleges nationally.

The funds will go toward customizing classroom instruction at schools that help low-income students and equipping classrooms with the new technology needed to support teaching and learning.

The grants also pay for faculty training.

  • Ivy Tech, IPFW Offering Students Dual Enrollment

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne are offering a dual enrollment program so that students can take classes in both schools while working toward a degree.

Officials told The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne that the Crossroads program will allow “seamless” course credit transfers, allowing students to take some classes at Ivy Tech and others at IPFW if they choose. The program also gives students access to IPFW student housing and intramural sports leagues, and the schools will work together on financial aid packages.

The schools are across the street from one another and offer 26 associate-to-bachelor’s degree programs.

  • Governor-Elect In Ohio Wants More Job Training

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio’s next governor wants the state’s colleges to spend less money and to train more workers.

Gov.-elect John Kasich stressed those themes in a visit to Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, where he praised the school’s job-training programs and partnerships with local companies.

Kasich said he wants Ohio schools to make more efforts to upgrade the skills of people who are already in the workforce, saying that the state has neglected that area of job training, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Only about $13 million of $150 million in state job-training funds goes to help workers who currently have a job, Kasich said.

  • Wyo. College President Resigns

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The president of Laramie County Community College is resigning.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that Darrel Hammon resigned and that the Board of Trustees has agreed to pay him $360,000.

Hammon earned $184,000 a year and had 2 ½ years remaining on his contract.

Hammon said he’s leaving because he thinks it’s time for the college to go in a different direction. He also said he doesn’t have the full support of the board.

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