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Janesville schools international program still sticky issue

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Frank Schultz
October 8, 2013

JANESVILLE—Janesville School Board member Kevin Murray resumed his pointed questions about the Janesville School District's international program at Tuesday's board meeting.

The program, spearheaded by Superintendent Karen Schulte, includes plans to bring in tuition-paying high school students from China and other countries.

Schulte has responded to Murray by discussing the developing plans at board meetings. She said Tuesday she would have a report on the Janesville International Education Program at every meeting.

Murray questioned why the international program has been in development since last November, but the board didn't approve it until August.

Schulte replied that the board typically has not approved every initiative, especially the low-cost ones, but she said board President Greg Ardrey thought it would be a good idea to hold a vote in August.

The vote came after Murray began raising questions that he said he was hearing from unnamed people in the community.

Murray complained Tuesday about the time that “high-ranking administrators” have spent on trips and other work to develop ties with Chinese schools. He said he cannot get answers from the administration about how much time, but he believes it is significant.

The meeting included a presentation on the upcoming Winter High School Institute, in which Chinese students will come for a program Jan. 25-Feb. 9, 2014.

Murray said the administration was putting “pink roses on this program,” but he said the board still doesn't know where all this will lead.

Murray complained the board still doesn't know what tuition will be charged to Chinese students, how many students there might be and how that will affect district finances.

Murray said he had more questions but would wait until the next meeting.

Schulte said Murray could ask her questions any time and didn't have to wait for a board meeting.

“I'm elected by the people in this community, and I'll ask questions when I think it's most appropriate,” Murray responded, adding that he thinks these questions are most appropriate to ask in a public forum.

Schulte suggested Murray could let administrators know his questions ahead of time so they would be ready to answer them at meetings.

“I'm happy to talk about it publicly,” Schulte said.



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