Florida mom donates $11K for deputies to patrol her child's school
A mom paid for deputies to patrol her child's school after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.
January 23rd, 2013
01:49 PM ET

Florida mom donates $11K for deputies to patrol her child's school

By Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) - A Florida mother concerned about safety has donated more than $11,000 so that armed deputies can patrol the elementary school where her child attends, Flagler County Public Schools said Tuesday.

Laura Lauria made the decision to donate the money to the school district after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 young students were gunned down, said Principal Nancy Willis of Old Kings Elementary School.

Your ideas to keep kids safe at school

Lauria did not want to be interviewed, Willis said, and she could not be immediately reached by CNN.

"I spoke to her this morning and she may release a statement later today," Willis said. "We were very pleased because of the safety of our children and employees."

The money will help pay for a "rotation of deputies" to patrol the perimeter and hallways of the elementary school through the end of the school year. The program began about a week ago, Willis said.

Guns, guards and posses - in schools?

The school, about 20 miles north of Daytona Beach, has 1,165 students.

The Flagler County school board is looking into "having deputies at all five of [its] elementary schools," Superintendent Janet Valentine told CNN. A plan to have deputies in all schools will be presented to the school board in February, she said.

"There's been some indication from the sheriff that they could assist with the cost," Valentine said.

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Filed under: Parents • School safety
A majority of states set different benchmarks by race
October 17th, 2012
12:54 PM ET

A majority of states set different benchmarks by race

By John Martin and Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) - Civil rights groups and some parents are concerned that new proficiency targets in several states are selling African-American students short.

A majority of U.S. states and the District of Columbia have set up different benchmarks for different groups, including racial and ethnic student populations.

Florida is the latest state to establish race-based standards. By 2018, 74% of the state’s African-American students must be proficient in math and reading. That is a lower standard than the state’s white (88%), Hispanic (81%) or Asian students (90%) are expected to reach by the same year.

On the surface, this may look like less is being expected of some kids. But there’s an explanation that’s rooted in how we assess student performance under No Child Left Behind.

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Filed under: NCLB • Policy • Testing
Furloughed Texas college staffers worked months without pay
Lon Morris College employees hadn't been paid in three months, staff members told CNN.
May 24th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

Furloughed Texas college staffers worked months without pay

By Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) - Nearly all of the staff at the oldest two-year college in Texas was furloughed Wednesday morning because of "financial and liquidity difficulties," according to a letter sent by the college to its staff and obtained by CNN.

Lon Morris College, a faith-based private school in Jacksonville, Texas, with an enrollment of slightly more than 1,000 students, notified its employees that - with the exception of a core group of 11 - all staff would be furloughed indefinitely. About 100 employees are on the school's payroll, according to local news affiliates.

"Given insufficient cash flow, the college cannot continue to employ personnel and further cannot allow employees to continue to work even on a 'volunteer' or unpaid basis," a letter sent to the Lon Morris staff by Director of Human Resources Carolyn Nanni said.

Before the announcement Wednesday, the staff had not been paid for three payroll periods, according to staff members

"For this to happen...it's really hurtful. About three months we haven't gotten paid," Lon Morris defensive line football coach Eric Morris told CNN in a phone interview.

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Filed under: After High School • College • Economy • Teachers