Friday, June 10, 2011

College Bound Scholarship deadline is June 30

Opportunity is a big word around The Advance, and the College Bound Scholarship is one of the state's best when it comes to making opportunities a reality.

June 30 is the last day for eighth grade students to sign-up and makes the College Bound pledge. Low-income or foster youth students can apply for free college tuition, fees and $500 towards books. The pledge? Keep your GPA above 2.0, be a good community member, and get accepted into college.

Only three weeks are left for this year's eighth graders. Head over and apply now: College Bound Application

To read more:
HECBlog Post - College Bound Scholarship deadline nears
SEA Times Editorial - Getting young people to stay in school and go to college

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Monsters of Redistricting Map-Palooza Tour rolls on

Hello Walla Walla, are you ready to draw some lines???

The Monsters of Redistricting Summer of 2011 Tour is coming to a community college conference center near you! Don't miss the most exciting live-action way to see if your neighbor will be voting for the same state representative!

Nearly halfway through their landmark tour of Washington, only eight more shows are left before the Redistricting Commission lays out their final plan sometime in October.

The Commission is chaired by Lura (she took the "A" from her name and put it in "Awesome") Powell. Representing the HD(Hands in the Air, Left Side)C is our man, Dean the Mean Foster.

Seriously, I saw Foster jam on a 45-minute version of the new congressional district, and it was transcendent.

The MORs will be playing all their biggest hits, including "Sweet Home, 22nd District," "District Me Baby One More Time," "It's the End of the County as We Know It," and the popular sing-along, "I Want to Draw Some Lines All Night (And Party Every Day)."

The next Map-paloozas are:
June 9: Wenatchee Valley College Theater
June 13: North Seattle Community College Theater
June 14: Green River Community College
June 30: Norm Dicks Government Center Meeting Chambers
July 11: Tacoma (Location TBD)
July 12: Spokane Falls Community College Lounges A, B
July 13: Walla Walla Community College Conference Center
July 14: Moses Lake (Location TBD)

The shows start at 6pm. Festival seating only.

Can't make the shows this summer because your arm is trapped under a boulder or something else lame? That's OK, they're streaming live, baby. What? That's right. TVW is all over that technology.

Be there... Be there... Be there....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ferry system changes to fund new boat, reform management

"Old reliable" can apply to a lot of things, but the state would rather not go there with their ferry-boat fleet. Currently nine of the 22 auto-passenger ferries are between 40 and 65 years old. While these older ferries continue to be workhorses, all nine need to be replaced in the next 20 years.

On Tuesday the governor signed legislation to fund the final ferry in a five-boat replacement plan. A 144-car and three 64-car ferries were already funded, and with this legislation, funding is secured for a second 144-car ferry.

The funding for the ferry system comes from reducing costs and increasing revenue. Beginning in July 2013, the state retail and use tax will no longer be charged on fuel used in ferries, and a new 25-cent charged to fund ferry construction.

"Our aging ferry boats are an ongoing liability to reliable service and safety,” said Rep. Jeff Morris. “This is a good balance to get new boats in the pipeline while also reducing costs.”

The bill also redefines the roles of captains to increase their responsibility for management of the boats and crews.

Read more: Washington State Ferry Projects

Monday, June 6, 2011

A smart move for Washington students

Landing the jobs of tomorrow won’t be an easy task, and the need for education and training beyond high school is increasingly critical.

How can we create and keep the high-tech, cutting-edge jobs of the future?

Let’s start by making sure our own kids get the education and skills needed to claim those jobs. Moving in that direction, Governor Gregoire signed a package of higher education bills into law today, paving the way for comprehensive and creative change for higher education in Washington state.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1795, which was signed today and will allow public four-year institutions to set tuition rates to meet local demand, while also increasing financial aid for low and middle-income students.

“Our challenge as a state is to find a thoughtful balance between ongoing state budget deficits and a significant need for access, affordability and quality in our state colleges and universities,” Carlyle said. “This legislation embraces the differences within our public college system and boosts financial aid that will bring relief for real students needing real relief.”

Gregoire also signed Rep. Tim Probst’s House Bill 2088 to help students earn degrees in high-employer demand fields. With the creation of the Opportunity Expansion Program, the state will increase the number of students obtaining high-demand, high-wage jobs at state four-year colleges and the Opportunity Scholarship Program will provide scholarships to low and middle-income students who earn degrees in high-demand careers and other educational programs. At today’s bill signing ceremony, the Boeing and Microsoft companies announced they will each be putting $25 million into the Opportunity Scholarship Program.

“Washington is the first state in the nation to create a scholarship program like this,” Probst said. “We hope that other companies will follow Microsoft and Boeing’s incredible example, so we can offer 10,000 scholarships or more before Christmas of this year.”

Also signed today, held at Seattle’s Cleveland High School, were Senate Bill 5749, making minor changes to the actuarially-sound Guaranteed Education Tuition program, and Senate Bill 5182, eliminating the Higher Education Coordinating Board and transferring their functions.

“In order to compete in tomorrow’s economy, Washington simply must become better educated and better skilled,” said Rep. Larry Seaquist, chair of the House Higher Education Committee. “With the bipartisan leadership and significant community involvement in this great set of higher education legislation, we’ve set the foundation for success in our colleges and universities.”

To read the full press release, please click here. Here’s a link to the Governor’s release from today as well.