Education

The University of Montana has narrowed its search for president down to four candidates. The finalists are on campus this week and Monday, visiting with faculty and students and sharing their vision for the institution, which is facing enrollment challenges.

Mirta Martin was the first prospective president to participate in an open forum held at the UC Theater Monday afternoon.

Flathead County schools have canceled all weekend extracurricular activities at more than 30 schools, due to threats received earlier this week. School administrators consulted with law enforcement and were told the situation has not been resolved.

Whitefish Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt told the Flathead Beacon that schools were advised to prevent large gatherings of students.

Updated 6:40 p.m.

Flathead Valley schools will remain closed tomorrow due to an ongoing investigation into unspecified threats.

Just after 6 p.m. tonight Kalispell Superintendent Mark Flatau said all schools in the Flathead Valley will remain closed. That includes private schools.

Montana’s plan to comply with the federal replacement for No Child Left Behind received Governor Steve Bullock’s approval Tuesday, but it’s still unclear if it will be accepted by the U.S. Department of Education.

Bullock, a Democrat, signed off on the state’s plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act on Tuesday. It attempts to reduce the achievement gap between students and give states more say in local education.

The search for the University of Montana’s next president has now been whittled down to four finalists. They’ll all visit Missoula later this month. One could take the helm of UM possibly as soon as spring semester.

The University of Montana might just meet its modest student enrollment goals for fall semester, which starts this week.

University of Montana President Sheila Stearns says she obsessively watches student enrollment projections. During a start-of-fall-semester convocation Wednesday, Stearns said that, while fall semester’s final numbers won’t be tallied for a few more weeks, she likes the early indicators crossing her desk.

The University of Montana’s faculty union is accusing UM’s administration of violating its own policies regarding hiring contracts for campus lecturers.

The University faculty union filed a formal grievance Thursday against UM for how it’s handling non-tenured faculty. Union spokesperson Lee Banville says at least 34 lecturers received notification from the University that they will not be rehired for spring semester 2018, despite signing an annual contract.

More than $97 million in state budget reductions are scheduled to kick in August 15, and, across the state,, school districts are preparing to adapt to their share of the cut.

Funding for public education in Montana will decrease by about $19 million over the next two years as declines in state revenues mean across-the-board budget reductions to state agencies.

Montana State University-Northern awarded a professor $50,000 to settle a racial discrimination complaint she filed against the school. The University did not admit guilt, but nonetheless agreed to pay the professor.

Adjunct professor Yvonne Tiger, who’s Native American, filed the complaint in July 2016.

A group of 25 college students from Iraq is visiting Missoula. They arrived on July 10,  just as Iraqi forces were reclaiming the city of Mosul from Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

The students are part of an exchange of Iraqi Young Leaders arranged by the U.S. State Department and the University of Montana with a focus on international peace building.

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