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Monday, August 16, 2010

Senator Reid lands $162 million for Nevada Schools and Medicaid

Federal bill offers up $162M for Nevada schools, Medicaid

Heller, Ensign oppose measure; Reid in favor
By Michael Martinez

A $26 billion federal jobs bill to protect and restore jobs for 300,000 teachers and non-federal government workers was approved on Tuesday by the U.S. House and signed by President Barack Obama, sparking local education officials to begin identifying critical areas where teachers might be hired.

About $10 billion of the jobs bill to prevent election year layoffs would go to hire teachers and some classroom support staff, with $83 million potentially coming to Nevada, including between $12 million to $17 million for Washoe County schools.

But in its application for the funds, the state must demonstrate that it can maintain state funding at a certain level in order to receive the funds. State Department of Education Superintendent Keith Rheault said that he has forwarded some education funding information to the budget office to determine which of three state education funding tests Nevada could pass to be eligible for the money.

“And I still have to provide some information to the governor’s office on why we want to apply for the funds, the pros and cons,” he said.

The application process should be relatively streamlined, Rheault said.

“Certainly, we’re happy how quickly this is moving because, clearly, the goal is to get teachers into schools this year,” Washoe County Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison said. “The next big hurdle is the governor has to sign off in this, and we have to wait to see if that will happen.”

Washoe County School officials have identified critical areas for which they would hire more teachers but would not select a plan before the federal government released regulations that clearly state what they can spend the money on and how long they will have to spend it, said Kristen McNeill, director of state and federal programs at K-16 Initiatives.

Among the critical areas of need:
» Restoring class size in first through third grades to about 16 or 17 to one. Because of the $37 million revenue shortfall, school officials saved $6 million by increasing class size by two students in those grades.

» Providing more teachers at schools with a high enrollment of students eligible for free and reduced lunch, but do not meet the threshold of 70 percent needed to receive extra funding.

» All schools that are in need of improvement, according to yearly progress assessments, which will be released in the coming week. Enrollment numbers also will be a factor in which schools could be targeted.

» Full-day kindergarten also might receive consideration.
Morrison said plans are in place, people that can be hired are being identified and district officials will communicate with principals about needs.

“We’re going to be prepared for this as any large school district in the country,” he said.
Libby Booth Elementary School principal Stacey Senini said she has fewer teachers available to work directly with students since the class-size increase.
“As a result of increasing class size, you have less staff to work with smaller groups of students,” she said.

McNeill stressed that more about the bill remains to be clarified.
“If I don’t have the exact regulations in front of me, it’s hard for me to speak to which schools we would be able to hit with this funding,” McNeill said.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s staff has 45 days to draft regulations, McNeill said. “We’re thinking that’s going to be a little quicker than 45 days,” she said. “And the governor has 30 days to accept the funding.”

A provision in the legislation said that if a governor chooses not to accept the money, then the money can be allocated to a different agency, such as the Nevada Department of Education.

Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Sean Collins Walsh and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Additional Facts

Entertainment Industry news "banter" from KCRW with my own thoughts added.

Sylvester Stallone, old and faded, is the new savior of Lionsgate, after fighting take-over. The Expendables stars an array of "has beens", some of whom were never as big as the primary stars. The interesting thing is that the baby-boomers who know these stars were not the ones who came in in droves. Younger people love it. The film hurt other films including "Scott Pilgrim".

Meanwhile "The Expendables" will be added to Epix, which was formed when large companies became upset with Showtime and HBO. Expics is on COX cable as well as on-line and on phones. The network is partially owned by Netflix. Epix is not on the larger cable or satellite distribution companies, but we can see it in Las Vegas and you can watch it on-demand on your computer. Meanwhile Netflix has its own networks in development, with a 90 day from broadcast delay. It will cost Netflix over a billion dollars over five years to launch its on-line streaming and on-demand video, but the system will also save almost that much in postage, hard copies and manpower.

It's not the prestige of the film that counts, its the size of the library. Larger libraries are worth more in this new on-line, multi-distribution model for Hollywood.

Today on KCRW's The Business
Finding 'Salt;' Marketing 'Inception'
MON AUG 16, 2010
Kim Masters
Produced by:
Darby Maloney

Behind every filmmaker stands an assistant.  We talk with Bea Sequeira, the former assistant to Phillip Noyce, director of Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, who read scripts for four years until finally finding his latest project, Salt.  Sequeira talks about being a script reader and working in the shadows as an assistant.  ThenMichael Tritter, Senior VP for Interactive Marketing at Warner Brothers, gives us the back story on the stealth marketing campaign for Inception.

CBS News KXNT and FOX News KDOX jump to FM dial

When FM became king, sometime in the late 1970's and early 1980's, AM began the slow crawl to non-significance. AM radio began selling "brokered time". Some of that time found a strong audience in controversial and very conservative talk radio. Rush Limbaugh was in the right place at the right time.

Rupert Murdock of FOX and others saw the potential from numbers of low budget and under-promoted programs He launched FOX News on TV and on radio. AM radio found a resurrection with conservative and "talk radio" (more on that at another time).

Sports radio has always been a favorite on AM, with local teams heard over large areas on powerful AM stations, or in very localized markets by directional AM lower power signals. But in the rare market where sports are on FM, the all important younger audiences pick the cleaner and more familiar FM signal.

As of today Las Vegas Stations KXNT (CBS) is now simulcasting at 100.5 FM (formerly Jack FM) and KDOX the Fox news/talk affiliate is doing likewise at 102.3 FM

I work for Nevada Public Radio, KNPR and KCNV. These are National Public Radio, NPR, affiliates (KNPR 88.9 is news and news magazine format, KCNV is classical music).  NPR stations share little audience with AM-style talk radio – whether it’s on AM or FM – the audience appeal is very different.

Shared audience between NPR and "talk radio" is low, with NPR credibility in surveys much higher (second is FOX, where the audience is showing preference more than their interested in credible judgement by the news-station of choice).

Will FM listeners flock to AM content?

Will FM add audience, including the younger and female numbers talk radio and news-talk need to add to their listener base/

How will those stations do at attracting a additional audience on FM?

How large is the audience for talk or news radio?

What demographic? Psychographics?

Now, add the reality of satellite and Internet radio.

And how will the on-demand geared iPod and MPEG generation accept getting their news and sports on the FM dial?

Now the cluttered radio dial of Las Vegas has at least three FM news and information sources to choose from.

Who will be listening?

Could this be, in part, to gain conservative advertising dollars in a recessed economy, or to impact the elections?

By the way, when a station goes simulcast (two local stations transmitting the same exact programing at the same time) it is done for only one reason. To save money. And it also results in a solid loss of listening alternatives and voices in the market.

Doe anyone but those interested in the freedom of true choice care?