Category: Cronkite News

Arizona Schools Suffered Some of Nation’s Biggest Funding Cuts

WASHINGTON – Arizona has had the nation’s third-steepest cuts in the rate of its per-pupil spending since the start of the recession, according to a national study released Thursday. The report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said most states saw some drop, but Arizona’s 17.5 percent decrease trailed only Oklahoma and Alabama. Advocates said the cuts have led to bigger classes, teacher shortages and the elimination of full-day kindergarten, and are more reason to support a court-ordered restoration of $300 million by the legislature for failure to adjust school funds for inflation. By Miranda...

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Study Shows Border Deportations Surged as Interior Removals Declined

WASHINGTON – Deportations of immigrants caught at the border surged under the Obama administration at the same time that the number deported from the interior of the U.S. fell sharply, according to a study of a decade’s worth of government data. The  report released Thursday by the Migration Policy Institute found that immigrants stopped at the border accounted for 70 percent of all deportations by 2013, and that almost 60 percent of the 3.7 million illegal immigrants deported from 2003-2013 had committed no other crime than crossing the border. Slug: BC-CNS-Deport Report. About 500 words. By Laurie Liles. Photos...

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Arizona voters deciding whether lawmakers get first raise since 1998

PHOENIX – During his 12 years as a state lawmaker, Sen. Steve Gallardo found that the only thing part-time about the job was the pay. “In order to serve in Legislature and be a good lawmaker and produce quality work, it has to be a full-time job,” said Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat who recently won election to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. In November, voters will decide whether to increase lawmakers’ salaries from $24,000 a year to $35,000 a year based on a recommendation from the Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers. It would be the first raise for state lawmakers since voters approved one in 1998, the only time a raise has been approved. Gallardo, who supports Proposition 304, said a lawmaker’s days at the statehouse often begin at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 9. Then there’s work with constituents. The long hours were easier for him because he’s single, he said, but that not all of his fellow lawmakers were in the same situation. “In session bills get done really quickly and lawmakers can’t afford to spend time after because they have other jobs to focus on,” Gallardo said. Since 1998, voters have consistently gone against proposed raises for lawmakers, with the last defeat coming in 2008. There weren’t proposals in 2010 or 2012 due to the recession. In addition to their salaries, lawmakers also...

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Phoenix Children’s Hospital launches genomics research institute

PHOENIX – ANALISE ORTIZ/CRONKITE NEWS: Researchers here in Phoenix will soon be trying to map cancer cells to see how the disease develops. They’ll be part of the new Chan Soon-Shiong Children’s Precision Medicine Institute that’s at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. As Bethany Reed reports, the role of the institute will be developing genomic testing. BETHANY REED/CRONKITE NEWS: Hospitals have started using genomic testing to understand what causes diseases like cancer by mapping gene sequences of many different people. ROBERT L. MEYER/CEO PHOENIX CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: Some of those genes mutate or they don’t work appropriately and they cause cancer, they cause birth defects, they cause a variety of congenital diseases. MELISSA WILSON SAYRES/ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT PROFESSOR: We can sequence every child that comes in to the hospital. We can start to get a better handle on how much variation is there and how much of it is probably leading to some of the diseases that these children have. BETHANY REED/CRONKITE NEWS: Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of the first to heavily focus genomics testing on children. The equipment will be fully functional by the second quarter of 2015. The hospital has partnered with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong to create the testing center. ROBERT L. MEYER/CEO PHOENIX CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: He’s got a vision to develop a genomic one-size or one-shop stop for everything you would need for genomic medicine, from the...

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Parents Worry About Possible Spread of Enterovirus D68 in Schools

    PHOENIX – CHASE GOLIGHTLY/CRONKITE NEWS: There is still no word tonight on what respiratory virus killed a first-grader over the weekend. And that has parents in one Valley neighborhood nervous. As Samantha Davis reports, some have even pulled their kids from school. SAMANTHA DAVIS/CRONKITE NEWS: Cars are driving by, but very few are stopping at Vistancia Elementary today. A first-grade student passed away yesterday from what the Maricopa County Department of Health called a serious respiratory virus. And some fear that the child may have contracted enterovirus D68. Some members of the Vistancia community left small balloons in memory of the student, but many others stayed far away from the school. Peoria Unified School District public relations representative Erin Dunsey said attendance was very low today as many parents opted to keep their children out of school. She said that there’s been a lot of concern from parents, especially because there has been no official diagnosis. In a written statement, the Maricopa County Department of Health said that EV-D68 is spread the same way as the common cold and flu. And that parents should teach kids to wash their hands often, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, and to cough and sneeze inside their elbows. The school offered a crisis intervention team this morning and had disinfected every classroom. The Peoria Unified School District representative I...

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