Educators across the state are anxiously waiting to see whether the State Board of Education approves new teacher licensing regulations at its meeting Wednesday. Its the last scheduled meeting before Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett leaves office. Many observers suspect the proposed Rules for Education Preparation and Accountability II will be approved before his successor takes office in January.
The proposal has drawn fire from teachers and education officials, who say it will lower standards. School principals would no longer be required to have a masters degree under REPA II; teachers could be licensed in several areas simply by passing a test. State board member Michael Pettibone, superintendent of Adams Central Community Schools, is among the critics. He has questioned in particular the wisdom of eliminating requirements for special education teachers.
Eagle Marsh plans
Area residents have a chance to offer suggestions on alternative plans to prevent species from jumping the space that sometimes connects the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds at Eagle Marsh Wetlands just southwest of the city during a Tuesday public hearing.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has already erected a temporary fence at the marsh designed to prevent Asian carp from moving from the Little Wabash River to ditches that drain into the St. Marys and Maumee rivers. But the Army Corps of Engineers is considering much bigger projects – including, literally, a large wall across the marsh – to prevent those nuisance fish and other invasive species from jumping watersheds. The cost of such a project could be as high as $20 million.
Residents who attend will likely get an interesting lesson in both biology and geology.
Sewer rate hearing
Huntertown residents will have an opportunity to sound off over proposed sewer rate changes at a public hearing today.
The Town Council wants to change the way utility customers pay for sewer service from a flat rate to a metered rate. Huntertown customers pay $21.25 a month, but with the metered system they would pay for sewer services based on the amount of water they use.
According to Derek Frederickson, the towns engineering consultant, a typical household using 5,000 gallons of water would pay $34.80 a month for wastewater service.
Under the proposal, Northwest Allen County Schools bill would drop by about 55 percent. NACS now pays a flat rate of $4,900 a month but would pay $2,220 based on using 263,100 gallons of water a month. In contrast, restaurant owners paying a flat rate of $63.65 would see their bill skyrocket to $161.08 – a 153 percent increase.
Legion visits VA
Representatives of the national American Legion will be in New Haven and Fort Wayne this week as part of its ongoing efforts to review the status of veterans health care in various communities.
The visit is particularly timely, considering the major questions surrounding the local VA Medical Center, which is temporarily closed for in-patients.
On Wednesday, members of the Legions System Worth Saving Task Force will have a town hall meeting at a New Haven post to hear female veterans describe the quality of their health care.
Then on Thursday and Friday, members will visit the VA Medical Center to speak with patients, staff and administrators.