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Addressing education inequity requires aligning state aid to community need (Letters)

It was unfortunate to see inaccuracies in a recent article quoting Amherst town budget chief Sean Mangano about our research on equity in state education aid, “School funding report draws town’s criticism,” Oct. 8, page A10. As a regional chamber of commerce and a statewide education advocacy organization, we believe that growing inequality and economic uncertainty necessitates a statewide approach steeped in equity.

Our report shows that 14% of state Chapter 70 aid for schools (almost $800 million a year) is not based on community need. This aid goes predominantly to wealthier communities at the expense of students in less wealthy districts where the state has not fully met its responsibility to fill funding gaps. The Amherst and Amherst-Pelham school districts receive 1 percent or about $7.8 million of that total.

The recommendations in our report redirect $25 million of statewide non-needs-based aid toward communities that need it the most. Our proposal affects approximately $275,000 in state aid to the Amherst and Amherst-Pelham districts, not $8 million, as Mr. Mangano suggests.

Our report does not recommend or imply less spending in Amherst and Amherst-Pelham; it addresses how much the state should be contributing. The two districts collectively budgeted $18.7 million beyond required spending in FY20. This level of spending reflects both commitment and capacity to fund schools. But it is not possible in many districts, rural and urban alike, equally committed to their students.

As a state, we have an imperative to center equity until we meet our obligation to fill existing funding gaps in less wealthy communities.

James Sutherland, Phd

Director of Policy & Research

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Ed Lambert

Executive Director

Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education

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Second giant ‘murder hornet’ escapes after it was captured by scientists in Washington State

Another “murder” hornet that could have led scientists to its nest has evaded experts once more, following a lost signal.

a hand holding a fork and knife: A live Asian giant hornet is affixed with a tracking device using dental floss on October 7 before being released in a photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

© Karla Salp/Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP
A live Asian giant hornet is affixed with a tracking device using dental floss on October 7 before being released in a photo provided by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Last week, scientists with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)captured a live Asian giant hornet — known as “murder” hornets for their ability to decimate honeybee populations — and used dental floss to attach a tracking device to its body, which “worked quite well,” said Sven Spichiger, WSDA’s managing entomologist, during a news conference on Monday.

When scientists released the hornet into the wild onto an apple tree, they were initially successful in tracking the insect, but after some time they were unable to locate a signal when it flew into a heavily vegetated area and then quickly darted away — thus evading the scientists.

Not all hope is lost, though, said Spichiger.

“We did get an initial direction of the flight,” he said. “We were able to meet with several of the property owners and get a few more eyewitness accounts of seeing hornets earlier the week before or earlier in the summer, and so we are starting to narrow down exactly where the hornets’ nest is.”

This isn’t the first time the state has tracked a live giant hornet. The team did so earlier this year, but the tracker fell off the hornet due to gluing issues.

So far, Spichiger said there are at least two Asian giant hornet nests in Whatcom County in Washington, with a possibility of a third.

Once a nest is located, the plan is to vacuum out the hornets and use carbon dioxide gas to knock out any remaining hornets in the nest, he said.

Asian giant hornets are the world’s largest hornet, as they can become up to 2 inches long, according to the WSDA. What makes them so dangerous is that they can destroy a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, killing the bees by decapitating them.

If the hornet becomes established in the state, it will negatively impact the environment, economy and public health, the WSDA said.

Since the preliminary reports in 2019, there have been 18 confirmed Asian giant hornets found in Washington, but there have been even more additional sightings.

a close up of a plant: The captured Asian giant hornet on the apple tree.

© Karla Salp/Washington State Department of Agriculture via AP
The captured Asian giant hornet on the apple tree.

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College football rankings: Mississippi State drops into The Bottom 25 after Mike Leach’s offense sputters

25. Kentucky 1-2 The Wildcats became the first team in history to hold a Mike Leach-coached offense without a single point. Obviously, the defensive performance the Cats put on against Mississippi State increased their overall rating quite a bit, as did their first win. This week they look for another one at Tennessee. (Last Week: 4) 24. Wake Forest 1-2 The Demon Deacons had the weekend off and are set to play Virginia on Saturday. (23) 23. Temple 0-1 Speaking of one-game teams entering late, hey there, Temple. The Owls didn’t look half-bad considering the delayed start to their season in a 31-29 loss to Navy. Of course, considering how Navy has looked this year, I’m not sure how much stock we should put in it. Maybe this week’s game against No. 5 South Florida will provide more information? (Not Ranked) 22. Missouri 1-2 So how is it that Missouri beat LSU, but remains in The Bottom 25 while — SPOILER ALERT — LSU isn’t ranked? Mostly LSU’s performance against Vandy. Also, the win didn’t wipe out the first two losses. As for Mizzou’s game against Vanderbilt to boost its numbers, that’s become the first SEC game to be postponed. Missouri’s next scheduled game is now at Florida on Oct. 24. (5) 21. UTEP 3-2 This is bittersweet. I’m not thrilled to see UTEP back in The Bottom 25 with a winning record, but at the same time, I’m never unhappy to see our two-time champions coming home to say hello. This week the Miners get No. 9 Southern Miss. (NR) 20. South Alabama 1-2 South Alabama had to postpone its game last week against Troy. It is currently scheduled to return this weekend against No. 16 Texas State. (20) 19. East Carolina 1-2 My Beloved Pirates took care of Chip Patterson’s South Florida Bulls on Saturday to get their first win of the season. Can they pick up a second against Navy? (7) 18. Mississippi State 1-2 We’ve had the whole Mike Leach experience through three weeks. First, there’s the incredible upset that nobody saw coming, and that was followed by a Leach team losing to a team it should beat. Then, to top it off, we got Leach publicly blaming his players for the loss to Kentucky, saying he might need to purge the roster. This week they’ll try to purge their two-game losing streak against Texas A&M. (NR) 17. Ole Miss 1-2 I bet this section of The Bottom 25 won’t show up on any message boards in the state of Mississippi. I’m probably being doxxed as you read this. Anyway, the Rebels are really fun to watch. They’re also 1-2 and allowing 52 points per game. That’s a great way to reach The Bottom 25. This week they get Arkansas. (NR) 16. Texas State 1-4 The Bobcats fell to Troy 37-17. I know I’ve said I like this team and think it’s better than its record, but its record is 1-4, and the lone win came

Arizona State University/Halberd Develop Antibody Against Covid-19

JACKSON CENTER, PA / ACCESSWIRE / October 13, 2020 / Halberd Corporation (OTC PINK: HALB ) reported that Arizona State University researchers, utilizing the intellectual property of Halberd Corporation, have successfully generated an anti-Spike protein monoclonal antibody against Covid-19. The Spike Protein is a main component of the Covid-19 virus, and is a crucial component in its ability to replicate. In addition, the researchers have sent for synthesis, genes for the creation of new, unique monoclonal antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein. The performance has exceeded expectations, and Halberd and ASU intend to file for joint patent protection.

Development continues toward three major potential utilizations of the antibody against the Coronavirus:

William A. Hartman, Halberd Corporation Chairman, President & CEO, stated, “We are very excited about our progress to date and plan to issue regular progress reports to keep the public aware of our significant developments.”

The details of the Halberd-ASU research contract can be viewed here.

For more information please contact:

William A. Hartman

P. O. Box 25

Jackson Center, PA 16133

Twitter: @HalberdC

About Arizona State University.

Arizona State University is a public research university with 5 campuses in and around Phoenix, with four regional centers throughout Arizona. It is one of the largest public universities, based on enrollment, and one of the fastest growing research universities in the United States. The school boasts over 400 National Academies-honored faculty, and 77 elite programs.

About Halberd Corporation.

Halberd Corporation. (OTC PINK: HALB ), is a publicly traded company on the OTC Market, and is in full compliance with OTC Market reporting requirements. Halberd’s Articles of Incorporation prohibit the company from issuance of convertible debt which would result in dilution. See the company’s Articles of Incorporation here. The number of outstanding shares remains at 317,721,539.

The company holds the exclusive rights to the COVID-19 extracorporeal treatment technology provisional patent applications: “Method for Treating and Curing Covid-19 Infection;” “Method for Treating COVID-19 Inflammatory Cytokine Storm for the Reduction of Morbidity and Mortality in COVID-19 Patients;” “Method for Treating and Curing COVID-19 Infection by Utilizing a Laser to Eradicate the Virus”, and, “Nasal Spray To Prevent The Transmission Of Covid-19 Between Humans.” Halberd also holds the exclusive rights to the underlying granted U.S. Patent 9,216,386 and U.S. Patent 8,758,287.

Safe Harbor Notice

Certain statements contained herein are “forward-looking statements” (as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). The Companies caution that statements, and assumptions made in this news release constitute forward-looking statements and makes no guarantee of future performance. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and opinions of management at the time statements are made. These statements may address issues that involve significant risks, uncertainties, estimates made by management. Actual results could differ materially from current projections or implied results. The Companies undertake no obligation to revise these statements following the date of this news release.

Investor caution/added risk for investors in companies claiming involvement in COVID-19 initiatives –

On April 8, 2020, SEC Chairman Jay

State education board demands $11.2 million back from Epic Charter Schools over state audit findings | Education

Holt began her presentation by setting the record straight on two issues she said have been commonly mischaracterized in public discourse since the release of the state audit report a couple of weeks ago.

She said Gov. Kevin Stitt’s charge to State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd included the task of reviewing annual audits on Epic from the previous three years, but it did not limit the scope of the forensic audit as a whole to any such time period.

In all, $125.2 million of the $458 million allocated to Epic Charter Schools for educating students the past six years was found to have ended up in the coffers of Epic Youth Services, a for-profit charter school management company that has reportedly made millionaires of school co-founders Ben Harris and David Chaney.

“We ask for annual appropriations totaling approximately $3 billion and $125 million works out to about 4.1%,” said state board member Kurt Bollenbach, of Kingfisher. “Are you saying I do not have access to or oversight of 4.1% of the funds that come through this department?“

Holt responded: “Yes.”

Holt described how Epic and its affiliates armed themselves with lawyers to make the state auditors’ task of interviewing school personnel and scrutinizing records particularly difficult.

So difficult in fact that 63% of the funds turned over to EYS — nearly $80 million budgeted for students’ learning needs — remains out of reach of the State Auditor’s Office and outside public scrutiny.

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Florida State University must pay ex-student leader in ouster for religious views, judge says

A federal judge has ruled that Florida State University must pay the salary of a former campus Senate president who was ousted over his religious views.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor last week ordered FSU to make “prospective payment” for lost wages to former Student Senate President Jack Denton, a senior and political science major who was voted out by his colleagues in June over text messages he exchanged with other Catholic students.

Judge Winsor, a Trump appointee, said the university, which administers the student government, had violated Mr. Denton’s First Amendment rights by failing to protect him against retaliation for his protected speech and should resume paying his stipend until his term’s expiration in November.

“To state the obvious, expressing one’s religious views is a constitutionally protected activity. And being removed from a student Senate presidency, as Denton was, would chill someone from expressing himself,” the judge wrote in his 25-page preliminary ruling in the closely watched religious liberty case.

Judge Winsor compared Mr. Denton’s ouster to the Georgia state legislature refusing to seat newly elected lawmaker Julian Bond in 1966 over his criticism of the Vietnam War. A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled the legislature’s move unconstitutional.

“All students should be able to peacefully share their personal connections without fear of retaliation,” said Tyson Langhofer, an attorney with the nonprofit advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Mr. Denton.

An FSU spokesperson wrote in email that school officials are reviewing the decision and “considering the university’s options.” An attorney for the Student Senate defendants did not respond to request for comment.

FSU pays the Student Senate president $9 an hour. Mr. Denton told the court that he estimated working six hours a week until the end of his term on Nov. 11. He is to be paid about $216.

The campus Senate removed Mr. Denton in a 38-3 vote in June after critical remarks he had made about the American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter came to light.

In a group text message with Catholic Student Union students about the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Mr. Denton discouraged others from donating from donating to the ACLU for its support of legal abortion and Black Live Matters for its “queer-affirming” stance. He said those groups — and a Minneapolis organization that promotes defunding law enforcement — promote “grave evils.”

When screen shots of the conversation were made public, the Student Senate began proceedings against Mr. Denton that led to a no-confidence vote against him. One unnamed student senator remarked that she could “think of no more abhorrent thing to hear coming from our Senate leadership,” according to court filings.

In his order, Judge Winsor declined to reinstate Mr. Denton, saying such a move could “produce tumult and chaos.” But the judge belittled the student senators’ reaction, writing that the Senate was “beside itself” over the plaintiff’s “expression of Catholic views.”

FSU attorneys had asked that Mr. Denton’s lawsuit be dismissed, saying his

Genesee County ISD special education funding formula violates state law, judge says

FLINT, MI — The formula used to funnel some special education dollars through the Genesee Intermediate School Distrct to local districts violates state law, an administrative law judge has said.

For Flint schools, this could mean the district will get more special education funding because it has a higher than average percentage of special education students. It also could mean less money for school districts with a high total student count but lower percentage of special education students, like Grand Blanc Community Schools.

As it currently stands, the GISD Mandatory Plan appropriates $3.8 million of Act 18 special education funds back to local districts based on a three-part formula: 1. Total special education headcount 2. Full-time-equivalent (FTE) special education student head count 3. Total FTE headcount. FTE head count is adjusted for part-time student numbers. These three factors are currently equally weighted.

However, Administrative Law Judge Michael St. John in a Friday, Oct 9 recommendation to State Superintendent Michael Rice, said this formula should change.

Residents challenge officials to change special education funding to benefit Flint schools

The Flint Community School district has said it is unfair to include total FTE as one third of the formula because it disadvantages the city district, which once was the largest in the county but has since lost ground to suburban districts.

GISD Superintendent Lisa Hagel testified that all three factors, including FTE, are of equal importance.

“However, the funding formula does not provide equal funding for the three factors,” St. John wrote in his recommendation. “Because the three numbers are simply averaged together, the larger number of FTE students dwarfs the smaller SEHC number and substantially dwarfs the much smaller SEFTE number. Rather than using relative percentages of each factor, they are simply added together and then divided. FTE therefore dominates both the numerator and the denominator in the current formula resulting in a skewed distribution of funds.”

St. John added that Hagel’s concern that altering the plan would result in less money for some special education students in some districts was also “heartfelt and entirely legitimate.”

The current GISD plan is in violation of state law because it does not meet the individual needs of each student with a disability, particularly those special education students attending Flint Community Schools, St. John wrote. He said the plan is also arbitrary and capricious.

However, he did not suggest removing FTE entirely as a factor for allocation of funds. Instead, St. John suggested weighting the three factors to ensure that the total student count in a district does not outweigh the number of special education students.

“It is the sincere hope of the Administrative Law Judge that the parties can come together to work through their differences toward their common goal of educating all students in Genesee County,” St. John wrote.

The GISD appreciates the thoughtful review and recommendation made by Administrative Law Judge St. John to State Superintendent Rice, GISD Associate Superintendent Steven Tunnicliff said in a statement to MLive/The Flint Journal.


Sam Houston State University’s new Conroe campus adjusts to COVID guidelines

This is the first semester that the new Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Conroe has welcomed students to campus, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the year is not starting as anticipated.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine received its pre-accreditation status in September of last year, which allowed the college to start recruiting new students. The school’s first class is 75 students but in about two years the school plans to double that number to meet its full capacity of 150 students.

As the COVID-19 pandemic made its way into Montgomery County, Sam Houston State University began to plan for changes to the new year, keeping in mind all the requirements their students will have to meet to become medical practitioners. Back in March, faculty were asked to work remotely and the school began to plan for a year that looked very different from what was originally planned.

“At first, students had limited time in the building but we felt very strongly that their experiential learning, their lab learning, we needed them in the building to do that, we needed them with their faculty to do that,” said Mari Hopper, associate dean for Biomedical Sciences at the campus.

In order to bring the students to campus safely for their experiential learning, the class was divided into four groups that rotated into the building throughout the day to keep the population in the building low. Before students even arrived, the school put together a video message for them that outlined the expectations in place for being in the building (masks, hand washing, social distancing, etc) with a message from the dean. Classes started on Aug. 10 as planned.

Portions of the classes that were not lab-based are being offered through remote learning. Students can access that work through Blackboard. While some of it is synchronous learning, students accessed it while it was happening, much of it was asynchronous, so they could access it on their own time.

Within the four groups that met together, students were split into even smaller groups of five and six to study and practice together with self-directed work.

“We also recognize that students, frankly, were in need of learning support,” Hopper said. “Those small groups provided the opportunity to collaborate with their peers, and medical students really need and request that.”

The groups also help meet the students’ need for social interactions in a safe space. As of Oct. 7, Hopper said the college had not had any cases of COVID-19 in its students. Students are self-monitoring for symptoms at home and before they come to campus they sign an attestation that they are not ill. When they get to the lab their temperature is taken before they can enter.

In response to the pandemic, the school created a student response team for the possibility of a student becoming ill. The team, Hopper said, made of clinicians and faculty, isn’t there to treat

Youngstown State University faculty to strike on Monday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Faculty members at Youngstown State University intend to strike beginning Monday as attempts continue to reach a new three-year contract with the school.

Mark Vopat, spokesperson for the faculty union, released a statement Sunday saying the Ohio Education Association had sanctioned a strike. Monday is the first day of fall break at YSU.

Vopat says union representatives will meet with school administrators Monday afternoon in hopes of reaching a new deal before students return from the brief break on Wednesday.

WFMJ Channel 21 reports school officials offered a three-year deal that offered no pay increases in the first year, but increases of 1 percent in the second year and 2 percent in the third year. According to WFMY, university officials say the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to a projected $3.7 million loss in revenue this fiscal year.

The union says it believes the university has a $7.3 million surplus, which school officials say is not the case.

YSU President Jim Tressel says in an email to students that the university is making plans to continue classes if the faculty strike continues Wednesday and beyond.

“Let’s remain optimistic,” Tressel says in the email. “You have shown great perseverance through this difficult year and worked hard to overcome many obstacles. We are committed to ensuring that you’ll be able to successfully complete this semester without disruption.”

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Meet The Candidate: Sarah Mehrotra For State Board Of Education

WASHINGTON, DC — In addition to voting for president and vice president of the United States in the Nov. 3 general election, voters in Washington, D.C., will choose a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives; at-large member of the D.C. Council; member of the D.C. Council for wards 2, 4, 7 and 8; U.S. senator; U.S. representative; at-large member of the State Board of Education; member of the State Board of Education for wards 2, 4, 7, and 8; and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner.

Sarah Mehrotra, 28, is a data and policy analyst at The Education Trust. She is running for the Ward 2 seat on the State Board of Education.

As part of its coverage of the 2020 election, Patch has asked candidates in select races in D.C. to fill out a questionnaire to describe why they think they’re the best person to fill the job they’re running for.


Ward 2 Board of Education

Party Affiliation

Democrat (SBOE is nonpartisan)


Virat Gupta, Partner

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?



Hamilton College and Harvard Graduate School of Education


Data & Policy Analyst at The Education Trust

Campaign website


Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office


The single most pressing issue facing Ward 2 is overcrowding of our middle schools and this is what I intend to do about it.

We need a new middle school in the eastern end of the Ward.

Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?

I support Black Lives Matter. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, have made us sharply focus on racism that has always existed in American society and in schools. As students are in school, they are not only grapping with distance learning and the pandemic, but also this renewed focus on racism. My priority is making sure that students have adequate access to mental health supports and making sure our schools are culturally responsive and our curriculum is purposefully uplifting voices of those who have been historically left out of the conversation.

What are your thoughts on the campaign to “defund” the police?

One form racism has taken in schools is increasing police/SRO presence in schools where predominantly students of color attend. SROs contribute to over-criminalizing students and the school-to-prison pipeline. Instead of punitive establishment in schools, we should implement restorative justice programs, such as in Oakland Public Schools, encourage nonviolent resolution of conflict, and allocate funding for more school guidance counselors.

What are your thoughts on the state and national response to the coronavirus pandemic? Do you favor such measures as limiting operation of non-essential businesses or restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a nationwide mask mandate?

Yes, I favor a nationwide mask mandate.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

I am the only candidate who works in K-12 education