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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jeanette White

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News >  Nation/World

‘Lonely’ For Female Principal

When Susan Fahrni stands in the hallway at Medical Lake High School, burly senior boys walk by and pat her head. She's their principal, not their pal. But she laughs it off. Fahrni knows they're on a learning curve. Until she became principal, students had never seen a woman run the school west of Spokane. In fact, she's currently the only woman principal in all Spokane County's public high schools.

News >  Spokane

District 81 High Schoolers Search For R-E-S-P-E-C-T Only Real Solution Is To Set A Good Example, Youths Say

Respect can be hard to come by at Spokane high schools, and student leaders say there's only one way to tackle the problem: by example. A survey of 1,156 School District 81 high school students shows their schools suffer the same shortage of respect as middle and elementary schools. Sixty percent said students don't care about one another or treat one another with respect. Even more - 67 percent - said there are a lot of put-downs at school.
News >  Spokane

District 81 Puts Bond On Ballot $74.5 Million Would Pay For Lc Renovation, Other Projects

Voters will be asked to approve a $74.5 million bond issue in February to polish some Spokane District 81 schools and overhaul others. The money would be used for technology upgrades, renovation of Lewis and Clark High School, a new Browne Elementary School and assorted other projects. "It will touch directly every student, teacher and school in the district," said Ned Hammond, the district's planning director.
News >  Nation/World

Driver, Pupils Face The Music In Bus Incident Driver To Get Training; Some Kids To Get Boot

A Spokane school bus driver is getting extra training, and several students will be disciplined after a ride home turned to chaos. A monitor will also ride the bus, which was parked for more than an hour Monday while the driver struggled to get rowdy kids under control, said Joe Madsen, safety director for Spokane School District 81. Driver Jeff Belknap has been assigned another route to allow the kids who ride the bus to "calm down," Madsen said.
News >  Spokane

Parents Upset With Bus Driver But Stopping The School Bus Apparently Was Proper Thing To Do, District 81 Says

Elementary students were forced to sit on a parked school bus for more than an hour Monday after an angry driver refused to let them leave, says a group of north Spokane parents. Crying children panicked and tried to climb out bus windows shortly before police arrived, the parents say. One boy jumped from an emergency exit. Joe Madsen, Spokane School District 81's security chief, says he is investigating the incident, which happened shortly after the bus had left Logan Elementary School. A manager who answered the telephone at Laidlaw Transit on Tuesday afternoon said no one was available for comment. "The entire bus full of kids were all crying," said Patty Freeland, who tracked down the parked bus to find her children, 8 and 11. "Kids I didn't even know were asking us to take them off the bus." Madsen said problems started when the students became unruly. The driver, apparently following proper procedures, pulled over a couple of blocks from the school and called for help, Madsen said. Meanwhile, parents worried because their children weren't home on time. Several parents called a school secretary who told them the bus was delayed. Cheryl Bentley, who found the parked bus by driving along the bus route, said the driver and another Laidlaw employee refused to let her inside. "My kid's screaming, 'Mommy, Mommy! Help me!"' said Bentley, who knocked on doors of nearby houses until a resident let her use the phone to call police. Bentley's daughter, 10-year-old Helana, said the bus driver had become angry because some students were swearing and others were singing "It's a Grand Old Flag." "He stopped the bus and wouldn't let us off the bus," said Helana, adding that the bus driver raised his hand as if to strike her. "We were all so scared, we started trying to crawl out the windows." Bentley said she finally barged onto the bus and grabbed her daughter. Freeland's 11-year-old son, Cory, opened the emergency exit at the back of the bus and jumped. Madsen said another school bus arrived to take some of the children home, while the first bus finished part of the route. Several parents picked up their children at Illinois and Morton, where the bus initially had stopped. Madsen said safety procedures prevented parents from taking their children from the bus right away. "Once they're in our care, we're responsible for dropping them off at the (bus) stop," he said. Drivers also are instructed to stop buses until problems are under control, Madsen said. "To my knowledge, they implemented all the appropriate procedures." He refused to discuss further details until his investigation is complete. Seven-year-old Adrian Nicosia was so frightened by the time her father picked her up that she wouldn't talk for a while, said Kimberly Nicosia, the girl's mother. "It was just a lot of chaos," said Kimberly Nicosia. "She doesn't want to get on the bus again."
News >  Spokane

Absentee Ballots Will Decide School Board Race Recount Likely In Tight Contest Between Barlow And Mccann

It could be two weeks before voters know who they elected to the Spokane School Board. The race is so close, absentee ballots will decide whether Don Barlow or Joanne McCann wins the District 81 seat. "It's going to be a long wait," said Barlow, a former alternative school principal. "I was hoping to get it over and done with last night so we could move on."
News >  Spokane

Forum Airs Sticky Differences Over Retention Plan Parents, Educators Discuss School District 81 Proposal

They agreed on one thing: Students who fall behind in class shouldn't automatically pass to the next grade. But that's where things started to get sticky for the 30 or so parents and educators who met Thursday night to discuss Spokane School District 81's proposed retention plan. Some people want to hold back struggling students only in the first few grades. Others prefer to start in preschool. Still other parents worry that retaining some kids will crush their self-esteem.
News >  Spokane

District 81 May Revise Its Retention Policy Students Would Have To Show Mastery Before Advancing

Spokane students may soon find it harder to pass from one grade to another as easily as they used to. School District 81 educators are considering a policy requiring kids to prove they've mastered certain academic skills before they can move ahead. Supporters say such standards would keep struggling students from slipping through the cracks and graduating without being prepared for life beyond high school.
News >  Nation/World

Schools Dread Busing Decisions Districts Blame Hard-To-Predict Student Count

Eric Keith had just finished his seventh day in fourth grade when his mom got the phone call. His classroom at Skyview Elementary School was too full, and starting the next morning, the principal said, he'd have to catch a bus to a school with more room. Janice Keith was furious. She'd just moved from Billings, Mont., with her husband and four kids, happily settling into a house surrounded by woods and fields and farms. Even Eric, her youngest child and the slowest to adapt to change, liked his classmates and new teacher.
News >  Spokane

Parents Ask Board To End School Busing District 81 Petitioned To Return Tiffany To Woodridge Elementary School

Angry parents pleaded with school board members Wednesday night to put Tiffany Cook back in Woodridge Elementary School and end busing for all Spokane students. Tiffany, 10, gave up a weeklong fight to attend the Indian Trail neighborhood school Friday, after administrators told her they'd seek legal action if she returned. But her mother and a handful of other parents took the issue - and petitions seeking to keep Tiffany at Woodridge - to Spokane District 81 board members.