06-23-2018  4:59 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK (AP) — I really don't care, do u?Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words...

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have...

Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president's leadership

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags,...

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for...

SARA BURNETT and LARRY FENN, Associated Press

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — Consider Waukegan and Stevenson, two Illinois school districts separated by 20 miles — and an enormous financial gulf.

Stevenson, mostly white, is flush with resources. The high school has five different spaces for theater performances, two gyms, an Olympic-size pool and an espresso bar.

Meanwhile Waukegan, with its mostly minority student body, is struggling. At one school, the band is forced to practice in a hallway, and as many as 28 students share a single computer.

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Last year, Stevenson spent close to $18,800 per student. Waukegan's expenditure? About $12,600.

And the gap has only been getting wider — here in the suburbs north of Chicago, and in many places across the nation. In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, school districts serving poor communities generally have been hit harder than more affluent districts, according to an Associated Press analysis of local, state and federal education spending.

The result has been a worsening of America's rich schools, poor schools divide — and its racial divide, because many poor districts are also heavily minority. It also perpetuates the perception that the system is rigged in favor of the haves, at the expense of the have-nots — a major driver of America's angst in this election year.

The AP found that aid to local districts from the federal government surged after the economic downturn, as part of the stimulus, but then receded. Schools were left to rely more on state funding that has not bounced back to pre-recession levels. And poorer districts that cannot draw on healthy property tax bases have been left in the lurch.

The effects vary widely across the 50 states. Each has its own unique funding formula.

For example, per-pupil spending in poorer Missouri districts fell behind richer districts in 2013 — the first time in a well over decade.

Most rich districts have seen a steady increase in revenue while poorer districts — such as Louisiana RII, a predominantly white district 80 miles northwest of St. Louis — have seen cuts since 2010. That rural district has started waiting longer to replace textbooks, and it will likely abandon initiatives to distribute new computers and to bring wireless internet into classrooms. Todd Smith, the superintendent, said the district will likely seek a tax increase or a bond sale because there isn't enough money for basic maintenance.

"We find ourselves more and more dipping into our reserves," Smith said.

In Connecticut's largest city, Bridgeport, schools have struggled with cuts in state and federal grants, Superintendent Frances Rabinowitz said. And the gap widens between her district and neighboring, affluent Fairfield County towns with smaller class sizes and students with far fewer needs.

The result? No aides for kindergarten classrooms, or guidance counselors for elementary schools.

"I feel like I am cutting the lifeblood of the system," said Rabinowitz, whose schools are more than 80 percent black or Hispanic.

The impact can be long-lasting, researchers say. A study for the nonprofit and non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research tracked students enrolled in districts where there was a prolonged increase in school funding.

Students educated in flush times finished more years of school, were less likely to live in poverty as adults, and made about 7.25 percent more in wages.

The widening funding gap that favors richer schools in Illinois is an extreme example.

For schools in the poorest 25 percent of Illinois districts, as measured by child poverty rates, per-pupil funding stalled at around $13,500 in 2014, the most recent year for which full data are available. Meanwhile, per-pupil funding climbed to over $15,000 in the wealthiest 25 percent.

Alejandra Ocampo, last year's senior class president at Waukegan High School, said the disparities are plain to see.

When her athletic teams would travel to other schools for competitions, the affluence was clear from the minute they pulled up, Ocampo says. And sometimes when those opposing teams would show up to Waukegan, they would hear the chatter: "This is it?" or "Why is their locker room like a dungeon?"

Over the past five years, Waukegan District 60 lost $43 million in state aid because Illinois cut education funding, according to Gwendolyn Polk, associate superintendent of business and financial services. The district did its best to keep the cuts from affecting the classroom, which meant putting off regular maintenance and cobbling together funds to deal with emergencies.

Stevenson District 125, in contrast, educates students in an area northwest of Chicago that's home to upper-class professionals and corporate headquarters, the kind of districts parents move into in hopes of giving their children a leg up. Stevenson has felt minimal impact from state budget cuts, spokesman Jim Conrey said.

Ocampo plans to study education and Spanish in college this fall. She's proud of where she comes from, but she says some more money would be helpful in ways that go beyond better facilities or more teachers.

"I feel like funding is more of a motivational gift than an actual physical gift," she said. "It's how it makes you feel about yourself."

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE — This is part of Divided America, AP's ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

Fenn reported from New York. Associated Press writers Michael Melia in Hartford, Connecticut, Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York, and Carrie Antlfinger in Lincolnshire, Illinois, also contributed to this report.

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