Thu 06-MAR-2014 Early A.M. News Script
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President Obama is teaming up with Governor Shumlin to push for major pay raises for millions of Americans. They were joined by three other New England Governors on stage at Central Connecticut State University. Obama told the crowd about his hope to raise the federal minimum wage from 7.25 to 10.10 within three years. The last time it was increased was 2007. Obama says it's about fairness for people struggling to make ends meet.
((Pres.Obama: There are folks at the top who are doing better than ever. But average wages have barely budged. Average incomes have not gone up. Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to keep up.)) This is an issue Vermont is also debating. The state minimum wage is currently 8.73 an hour. There are multiple bills circulating at the statehouse to raise it. Governor Shumlin supports a higher wage if it can be done regionally to avoid impacts on border communities.
And twice as many school budgets were rejected on town meeting day as usual. According to a tally compiled by the Vermont School Boards Association -- 35 communities defeated their school budgets in voting this week. Another four towns reduced their budget totals before passage. The average since 19-90 has been 17 rejections. In many cases, voters may have been sending a message about large property tax increases -- blamed on the intracacies of the school funding formula -- even though local spending was held in check.
((Steve Dale: "When you're looking at a budget and you're saying this is a reasonable budget for the number of students we're serving, but we're going to vote against it anyway, then it becomes a very difficult thing for local school boards and obviously it has a direct impact on students.")) One big unknown for school boards and taxpayers is how much the statewide property tax will increase. Lawmakers are looking at a seven cent hike -- a big part of the overall tax increases faced by many districts. In the face of so many budget defeats, lawmakers could look to reduce that seven cent increase by transferring more general fund revenues into the education fund.
The new version of the SAT is starting to look like the old one. The essay which was added back in 2005 will not be optional -- and the test will revert to a 16-hundred point scale. The SAT will continue to test reading, writing and math skills with an emphasis on analysis. The new exam will be rolled out in 2016. This year's ninth-graders will be the first to take it, in their junior year. They'll have the option of taking the test on a computer.
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Last Update: Thu 06-MAR-2014
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