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2011 March 21 - 12:00 am


  • Judge Drops Charges Against Former Officials

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A judge dismissed all charges against former Shelton State Community College president Rick Rogers and Karen Van Luvender, the college’s former dean of business services, after state prosecutors finished calling witnesses.

Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge John England ruled the case could not go to jurors because state prosecutors had not proved the charges.

The 52-year-old Rogers and 49-year-old Van Luvender were charged with first-degree theft and first-degree theft by deception in what prosecutors called a scheme to use about $160,000 of state money to pay for construction of a presidential home.

England’s ruling comes more than five years after Rogers and Van Luvender became subjects in a federal and state investigation into the state’s two-year college system.

  • Dual Enrollment Program Draws Detroit Students

DETROIT (AP) — About 2,600 Detroit high school students are taking courses through a new program at the Wayne County Community College District.

Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb says the district had been expecting only 2,000 students to sign up for the Concurrent Enrollment Program.

It allows 11th and 12th graders to earn tuition-free college credits and is part of Bobb’s five-year plan to improve academics.

About 400 students were taking college courses prior to the start of the program.

The school district and Wayne County Community College cover the tuition costs. Students pay $50 for each three-credit course to cover textbook costs.

High school juniors and seniors need an endorsement from their principals and a grade point average of 2.5 or greater to get into the program.

  • Yavapai College Team Qualifies For Robotics Competition

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — A community college robotics club in northern Arizona has qualified for an international competition in Houston.

Competitors typically must qualify through competitions in their regions, but because there was no one to compete with in the area, the Yavapai College Robotics Club qualified by videotaping a series of tasks.

Officials with the Marine Advanced Technology Education Remote Operated Vehicle competition verified the tape and invited the Yavapai team to the event, held June 16-18 at the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston.

The team is one of the few community colleges to qualify and will join competitors from Russia, China, Egypt, Iran and India. Other American teams come from Harvard, Purdue and UCLA.

The competition will focus on the role that remotely operated vehicles play in the offshore oil and gas industry.

  • Kan. College Eyes Apartments To Ease Campus Housing Crunch

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson Community College is so crowded that officials are negotiating to buy 10 apartments near the campus for student housing.

The college’s Board of Trustees approved spending up to $600,000 on the two-bedroom apartments.

Vice President of Student Services Randy Myers says the college will house four students in each unit.

The Hutchinson News reports that the community college has housed some students at a Ramada Inn for part of the last two years because the dormitories on campus are full. Myers says even if the apartment deal becomes final in March, some students will still have to be housed at hotels.

  • Poll: Most Mich. Voters Oppose Combining School Funding

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A majority of Michigan voters questioned in a recent poll oppose a proposal to combine the state’s kindergarten through 12th grade budget with allocations for community colleges.

Sixty-eight percent of 600 people surveyed in the Lansing-based EPIC-MRA poll say they are against the proposal, while 14 percent say they favor it. Eighteen percent say they are undecided.

The poll was conducted Feb. 12 through Feb. 17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Combining the revenue might make it easier to fund community colleges, but also could decrease per-pupil funding for K-12 students.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed also say they oppose a proposal to combine higher education budget costs with kindergarten through 12 grade and community college costs.

  • Wyo. College Hires Interim Leader After President Quits

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Miles LaRowe, a former president of Northwest College in Powell has been selected as interim president of Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.

Trustee Greg Thomas tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that LaRowe has said he doesn’t want to apply for the position permanently.

LaRowe was president of Northwest for five years and was president of Eastern Idaho Technical College for seven years. He was a counselor and teacher at LCCC from 1973 to 1993.

The college’s former president, Darrel Hammon, resigned in November after two newly elected trustees said he should leave. Faculty had questioned whether the school had too many administrators and not enough instructors during Hammon’s tenure.

  • Budget Cuts Have Maricopa Colleges Mulling Tuition Hikes

PHOENIX (AP) — The state is cutting funds for the Maricopa County Community College District by 85 percent.

District officials say they are now forced to turn to students and taxpayers to fill the $38 million loss.

The Arizona Republic reports the district is considering a $5-per-credit-hour tuition increase to $76 per credit hour. The district would also seek a 3 percent increase in county property taxes.

The district says the plans would generate about $24.2 million for the 10-college system. The remaining shortfall would be made up through budget cuts, leftover stimulus money and $7 million in revenue from taxes on new property.

Chancellor Rufus Glasper says that by slashing funding, the state forced locally elected boards to take on the responsibility of raising taxes.

  • Maine Considers Extending School Year To Aid Tourist Trade

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine hotels and motels, restaurants and potato growers and summer recreational businesses support a bill that says the school year could not begin before Sept. 1.

The rule would apply beginning in the 2012-13 academic year to elementary and secondary schools, the University of Maine System and Maine Community College System.

Supporters told lawmakers at a hearing that the law would assure they have a supply of young workers while their prime seasons are still in full swing.

The Education and Cultural Affairs Committee also heard testimony on a bill to extend the school year from 180 days to 185 days a year.

  • Harassment Suit Settled by Calif. College for $2.5 Million

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — A former secretary who claimed she was sexually harassed by a former dean at a Southern California college will receive $2.5 million.

The Daily Breeze of Torrance says El Camino College settled a lawsuit with Nyesha Artiaga. The community college will pay about a third of the settlement and its insurance company will pay most of the rest. The former dean, James Schwartz, will pay $25,000.

Under terms of the settlement, Artiaga agreed to quit her job.

In court documents, Artiaga claimed that between 2007 and 2009, Schwartz groped her and threatened to fire her if she refused to have sex with him. Schwartz said the two had a consensual sexual relationship.

  • Miss. College Spending Bill Rejected as Premature

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed a community college funding bill because he says it’s not part of an overall balanced budget for the state for the coming fiscal year.

Barbour said it’s too early to set any single part of the budget. He said that he and legislators have not even agreed on how much revenue Mississippi expects to collect during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

  • Ariz. College, Tribe To Benefit From Pair of Federal Grants

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A community college and American Indian tribe in northern Arizona will benefit from federal funds to expand opportunities for distance learning and broadband access.

Jonathan Adelstein, who oversees the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development utilities program, visited Coconino Community College to present the school with a $300,000 grant for distance learning.

He also joined the USDA’s state director on the Havasupai reservation to announce a $2.2 million broadband project. The reservation lies deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon.

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