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The Tucson agenda

Pima County Supes to vote on plan to tackle rental crisis

The Pima County Board of Supervisors is set to vote on a five-part plan to tackle the affordable housing crunch in the Tucson area. It's a step but tens of thousands of affordable units are needed. Plus more in local government meetings this week.... Read more»

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Pima County finishes counting Aug. 2 primary votes

Pima County finished counting ballots in the Aug. 2 primaries, which saw new vote centers, crowded Republican races and a few surprises at the local level. The results still must be canvassed by the Board of Supervisors and Arizona secretary of state. ... Read more»

How higher education lost its shine

There has been a significant and steady drop nationwide in the proportion of high school graduates enrolling in college in the fall after they finish high school, as fewer than one in three adults now say a degree is worth the cost.... Read more»

TUSD considers $250 bonuses for employees who get coming 2nd COVID boosters

The TUSD Governing Board reviewed whether to spend $2.2 million in dwindling pandemic relief funds to encourage staffers to get their second COVID-19 vaccine boosters. Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo said he expects the CDC to allow the additional booster shots for more adults. ... Read more»

Proof points: Researchers say cries of teacher 'shortages' are overblown

The reasons for different teacher shortages vary, and there never were shortages everywhere or among all types of teachers — now, some education researchers who study the teaching profession say the threat is exaggerated. ... Read more»

Analysis

The most recent efforts to combat teacher shortages don’t address the real problems

States have recently focused their efforts to reduce the nation’s teacher shortage by promoting strategies that “remove or relax barriers to entry” to quickly bring new people into the teaching profession - but that do not address the actual causes of the shortage.... Read more»

Looser liquor laws boosted restaurants — and maybe problem drinking

Most states that allowed curbside pickup or home delivery of alcohol to help restaurants, bars and liquor stores survive pandemic closures have extended the looser liquor laws - but states might be fueling binge drinking and higher overall alcohol consumption.... Read more»

Democrats in Congress press Biden to extend pause on student loans

More than 100 congressional Democrats are urging the White House to extend the pause on student loan repayment beyond the Aug. 31 deadline due to inflation and an ongoing coronavirus pandemic.... Read more»

Arizona teachers face mental health crisis because of low pay, pandemic stress, scant support

Low salaries, minimal benefits, short staffing, pandemic worries, exhaustion and burnout: Many teachers would tell you this is the job description of today’s educators, and the result is a problem so grim that many are leaving the field or making drastic lifestyle changes.... Read more»

UA researcher reveals COVID leaped to human hosts in Wuhan market

University of Arizona Prof. Michael Worobey and a team of scientists have found more evidence that COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan market and likely crossed over into two human hosts instead of just one. ... Read more»

Pima County now handles rental aid alone, but seeks more funding, community partners

Pima County is now handling rental assistance by itself, after the city of Tucson and nonprofit partners didn't apply for more federal eviction prevention funds. Aid to tenants and landlords from COVID-19 relief programs is expected to run out next year. ... Read more»

TUSD to start school year short of teachers, but with more security on campuses

Tucson Unified School District will start the school year in need of 126 full-time teachers plus more than 100 bus drivers, teacher assistants and special education teachers. Security will be tighter on campuses, Sup't Trujillo said.... Read more»

President Biden tests positive for COVID-19

President Joe Biden - who is fully vaccinated and has received two booster doses - tested positive Thursday for COVID-19, and is experiencing “very mild symptoms” while being treated with Paxlovid, an antiviral medication approved to treat the coronavirus.... Read more»

Only 3% of Pima County kids under 5 vaccinated vs. COVID a month after shots start

Only 3% of children under five years old in Pima County have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, roughly a month after the shots became available to younger kids.... Read more»

TUSD mulls virtual math classes to combat teacher shortage

The Tucson Unified School District is mulling whether to outsource math instruction at middle and high schools to combat a teacher shortage. Elevate K-12, a Chicago virtual instruction company, is offering to fill 24 vacancies and save the district almost $1 million.... Read more»

More states forgoing extra federal food aid

More than 18 million Americans sometimes didn’t have enough to eat last month, but at least 16 states now have opted out of providing extra food aid through a pandemic-related expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.... Read more»

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