The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 20, 1999, Page 2, Image 2

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    Education bill may ease ai isites
By Shane Anthony
Staff writer
At a hearing Tuesday, educators asked state sena
tors to take than off the roller coaster.
That roller coaster is the current method for deter
mining state aid for schools. On Dec. 1, schools found
that because of a change in the formula, they would
have to pay back $22 million in state aid through cuts
in the next year’s budget
“We have to know where we’re going. The schools
out there have worked very hard to tighten the belt”
said Bev Peterson, state Board of Education president
LB 149, a bill introduced by the Education
Committee, is intended to prevent such violent swings
in the future.
The committee voted 8-0 to advance the bill -
including an amendment for a minor language change
- to the floor of the Legislature. The bill has an emer
gency clause that would put it into effect as soon as it
was passed and approved.
Peterson said she spoke for the board in supporting
the bill. Sixteen people were scheduled to testify at the
committee hearing Tuesday. Only eight people other
than Hastings Sen. Ardyce Bohlke, the committee
chairwoman, actually addressed the committee. None
opposed the bill.
“I think we’d be shocked if someone came in in
opposition,” Bohlke said.
The bill would change the certification date for
state funds to April 1 this year and Feb. 1 each year
after. The change would allow the state to use actual
data instead of estimates to determine aid to schools. It
also would set the local effort rate - a major compo
nent in determining state aid - at 10 cents below the
maximum property tax levy limit
Without the changes, some officials said, schools
would suffer.
Duane Obermier, Nebraska State Education
Association president, listed several examples. Silver
Lake would lose 73 percent of its state aid, he said.
Sutton would lose 87 percent, Hyannis 94 percent and
Davenport 99 percent
“The numbers tell you something is drastically
wrong,” Obermier said. “If LB 149 does not pass, our
students will suffer. Less money means less service,
and less service means larger class sizes and fewer
programs for students.”
Kimberly Ma, an //
18-year-old Lincoln
Southeast High
School senior, said
she worried future
students would not
have a quality educa
tion. She urged the
committee and the
Legislature to move
forward with LB 149
“so students across
the state may benefit
from a quality education that will enrich the rest of
their lives.”
In a phone interview, Tim Kemper, director of
finance for Lincoln Public Schools, said tikt even if
LB 149 passed, the Lincoln school district sml would
not know until April 1 how much money it will have
next year. Under the current law, he said, LPS faces a
drop of $5 million in state aid for next year.
IfLB149 passes, he said, LPS will get anew figure
April 1, comprising two parts. The first, a recalcula
tion of the past year, should restore $3.6 million. The
second number, a new certification for the 1999-2000
school year, is still unknown.
The 1998-1999 school year was the first one in
which estimates instead of real figures were used,
Kemper said, because the date for certification
changed from July 1 to Dec. 1.
“This year, I think, would teachus that that was not
die most fevorable move,” he said.
The move was intended to let schools plan budgets
before the April IS deadline to make staff decisions for
the coming year. But Dec. 1 was too early to use real
data, Kemper said so the estimates were used.
Bohlke said the estimates were based on a three
year period. Thai, the state looked back to correct the
- figures to the
- amount actually
required, hence the
$22 million swing.
But forcing schools
to pay back that $22
million would not
reflect schools’
efforts to cut costs,
she said.
Real figures to
determine state aid
will be available Feb.
1, Bohlke said, a later deadline than Dec. 1, but still in
time to meet the April 15 deadline.
Jon Habben, superintendent of Newman Grove
Public Schools* said he was pleased to see the com
mittee move away from a three-year average. He
encouraged senators to continue looking for a solution
to property tax questions while ensuring schools get
the funding they need.
Habben recalled his own children, ages 24,16 and
“You know, when my oldest son graduated from
high school, the last thing that I ever thought we’d be
talking about was giving my other two kids less edu
cation,” he said.
IfLB149 does not
pass, our students
will suffer ”
Duane Obermier
State Education Association president '
Muslims welcome end of fasting
By Bernard Vogelsang
Staff writer
UNL senior Saad Alavi is one of
several Muslim students who fasted
during daylight hours for nearly a
The students didn’t eat or drink
from sunrise to sunset during the
Islamic month of Ramadan to mark
God’s revelation of their holy book,
the Koran, to Prophet Mohammed.
Alavi, a finance and management
information systems major from
Pakistan, said he was excited
Ramadan ended Tuesday.
However, the short winter daylight
hours didn’t make fasting too hard for
“I even wish I have lost two or
three pounds,” he said. “Before the
fasting period I have gained weight.”
Ramadan starts every year on a
different date because the Islamic year
has 355 days. This year, about 850 mil
lion Muslims worldwide started fast
ing Dec. 20.
Some predominantly Muslim
countries are Turkey, Pakistan, Iran,
Iraq, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
and Malaysia.
Nor Aliza Abdul Rakim, an ento
mology teaching assistant from
Malaysia, said a heavy breakfast of
bagels, fruit and water at 5 a,m. helped
to relieve the hunger during the days
she fasted.
Her work at UNL also distracted
her from thinking about eating.
Alavi said fasting taught him to
appreciate the value of simple things
in life, such as food and drink.
Fasting also has given him self
control and discipline, he said.
“During Ramadan, I restrain
myself from worldly desires,” Alavi
Abdul Rakim cooked rice vermi
celli noodles for a Ramadan dinner
sponsored by the Malaysian Students
Association on Saturday night in the
Nebraska Union.
Although authentic Indian food
was served, along with pizza minus
the pork, Rakim waf not hungry at 9
“I had a heavy meal with fruit, rice
and water at 5 p.m.,” she said.
A feast isn’t the only thing that'
marks the end of the monthlong holi
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims
donate to the poor.
They also ask for forgiveness from
relatives and friends after the fasting
period, Rakim said.
“That way, they can start the new
month with a clean soul,” she said.
To celebrate the end of the fasting
period, Muslims from many countries
will share their Ramadan experiences
Friday at 3:45 p.m. in the lounge of
UNLs International Affairs building,
1237 R St
CFA approves DN’s budget hike request
■ The committee voted
tentatively to raise the fee
7 cents more per student.
By Kim Sweet
Staff writer
In one of its first budget votes of the
year, the Committee for Fees
Allocation voted to preliminarily
approve the Daily Nebraskan’s budget
request on Tuesday night !
Committee members were remind
ed by chairman Paul Schreier that
while the budget was approved, CFA
still had the option to change the allo
cation after hearing the requests of all
the fee users.
CFA voted to allocate 7 extra cents
of fees per student to the Daily
Nebraskan^ budget next year, raising it
from $47,984 to $50,863.
Vernon Miller, committee repre
sentative for the Association of
Students of the University ofNebraska,
said approving the increase was impor
“I feel the Daily Nebraskan should
be allowed the increase because of the
importance of communication across
campus,” he said
ASUN representative Jason
Boykin was critical of the increase and
said that funds needed to come from
other places.
“I’d love to see a bigger paper every
day, but I’d like to see more funds that
are generated by advertising,” he said
CFA will meet Thursday night to
vote on University Programming
Council funding for die Lied Center for
Performing Arts and for programming.
Questions? Comments?
Ask for the appropriate section editor at (402) 472-2588
or e-mail dnSunUdu.
Editor: Erin Gibson
Managing Editor: Brad Davis
Associate News Editor: Sarah Baker
Associate News Editor: Bryce Glenn
Assipment Editor: Lindsay Yoons
Opinion Editor: Cliff Hicks
Sports Editor: SamMcKewoo
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Lawyers: Pinochet can
not escape Torture
(AP) — Gen. Augusto
Pinochet of Chile should not be
permitted to flout an international
law that allows nations to prose
cute anyone accused of torture,
lawyers for Britain and Spain
argued Tuesday.
Under the International
Convention against Torture, no one
accused of torture is considered
immune from prosecution, Alun
Jones told the House of Lords,
Britain’s highest court. Chile
signed the convention in 1988.
The former dictator’s lawyers
contend that his arrest is illegal
under British law because the acts
he is accused of date to when he
was Chile’s leader, entitling him to .
state immunity.
Pinochet was arrested Oct. 16
in London on a Spanish warrant
that alleges he ordered murders,
kidnappings and torture during his
rule from 1973 to 1990.
Pinochet’s lawyers will be pre
senting their arguments later this
Bill would add colleges to NU
By Jessica Fargen
Senior staff writer
A bill introduced Tuesday would
add Chadron and Wayne State colleges
to the University ofNebraska system.
The bill, LB631, introduced by
Speaker Doug Kristensen of Minden,
would turn Peru State College into a
community college. The bill was
cosigned by Omaha Sen. Ernie
But Table Rock Sen. Floyd Vrtiska
also introduced LB650 Tuesday, which
would plug $7 million into Peru for
library and infrastructure renovations,
leaving it a state college. '
Renovations under Vrtiska’s bill,
LB650, supported by 25 senators,
would not start until next year or lata*.
“There are only two options left:
one is to renovate, one is to close it,”
Vrtiska said.
The Coordinating Commission for
Postsecondary Education estimated the
price tag of moving the college to
Nebraska City at $96 million. Total ren
ovations for the college would be about
$20 million.
Vrtiska said more funds could be
collected for renovation through
avenues such as bonds and fees.
“This whole legislation is based on
meeting the benchmarks that are set out
by the coordinating 'commission, cer
tain things as far as enrollment, reten
tion, that are being developed right
now,” Vrtiska said.
Although Vrtiska had not read /
Kristensen’s bill as ofTuesday night, he
said he would not support the idea of
changing Peru to a community college.
Vrtiska said Peru has an excellent
teachers college, and with a shortage of
teachers in Nebraska, closing Peru
would be a mistake because it would
deprive the state of a quality four-year
teachers college.
The last addition to die NU system
was the University of Nebraska at
Kearney in 1991.
Clinton talks entitlements
WASHINGTON (AP) - President
Clinton, standing before a Congress
tom over his fate, proposed Tuesday to
protect Social Security with the budget
surpluses that Republicans are eyeing
for tax cuts. He also announced the
government will sue the tobacco
industry for smokers’ health costs.
On a day of high drama that shifted
from his daytime trial in the Senate to
his prime-time State of the Union
speech, Clinton made no mention of
the sex-and-lies case that led to his
impeachment and imperils his presi
In the ornate House chamber
where he was impeached one month
ago on a party-line vote, the president
was received with respect and inter
rupted by applause 95 times.
77-minute speech; Chief Justice
William Rehnquist, presiding over
Clinton’s trial, also stayed away. Two of
his harshest Republican critics -
House Majority Leader Dick Armey of
Texas and House Majority Whip Tom
DeLay of Texas - sat stonily side by
Demanding that Washington
reserve $4 trillion in expected budget
surpluses to shore up Social Security
and Medicare, Clinton declared, “First
things first”
In a new salvo against smoking,
' i V
Clinton announced the Justice
Department will sue the tobacco
industry. He also is seeking a 55-cent
a-pack tax on cigarettes.
Clinton urged spending billions of
dollars for new programs in child care,
education, crime-fighting, the environ
ment and the Pentagon. And he called
for raising the minimum wage by $1 an
hour over two years to $6.15.
“With our budget surplus growing,
our economy expanding, our confi
dence rising, now is the time for this
generation to meet our historic respon
sibility to the 21st century,” Clinton
said. “Let’s get to work.”
He also proposed $4.2 billion - a
70 percent increase - to dismantle and
destroy Russia’s nuclear arsenal and
redirect die work of Russian scientists
from weapons to civilian research.
On Social Security, Clinton’s pro
posal sets up a right ova how to pro
tect the retirement program and deal
with GOP tax-cutting ambitions
against a background of $4 trillion in
projected surpluses ova 15 years.
Clinton proposed transferring
about 60 percent of expected budget
surpluses ova the next 15 years - $2.7
trillion-to the Social Security account
to keep the program alive until 2055.
Neva before has a president deliv
ered a State of the Union address under
such extraordinary conditions.