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Gov. Gregoire visits M-PHS to discuss education with students

Gov. Christine Gregoire is flanked by Marysville-Pilchuck High School students in the Tomahawk Activities Center during a visit on May 16.  From left are Mike Sales Jr., Taylor Henry, Jeff Erwin, Jesse Mayer, Gregoire, Mikayla La Rosa and Nolan Jones. -
Gov. Christine Gregoire is flanked by Marysville-Pilchuck High School students in the Tomahawk Activities Center during a visit on May 16. From left are Mike Sales Jr., Taylor Henry, Jeff Erwin, Jesse Mayer, Gregoire, Mikayla La Rosa and Nolan Jones.
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MARYSVILLE Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire visited the Marysville-Pilchuck High School campus last week to emphasize a $2.5 billion investment in education by the Legislature and to hear what students think they need to succeed.
She also said the hunt for a Snohomish County branch campus of the University of Washington is heating up, with $4 million to find a location for a temporary campus that could open within 18 months. She appointed former UW interim president Lee Huntsman to lead efforts to find a location in the county. Of the $4 million, $2.5 million could be used to start work on a new and temporary home for a technical college. The remainder will be used to find and secure a site. There is no frontrunner at this time and Gregoire wouldnt say what factors would be weighed in the assay.
An out-of-state firm might be needed to ensure impartiality, Gregoire said, noting the stiff, if friendly, competition among several cities to host the site. Classes could start in the fall of 2008 for seniors and juniors at the temporary campus, according to Gregoire, and she said the state is hearing proposals from firms to help find a location for a permanent campus.
Its some temporary site, I dont know where it would be find it, Gregoire said
Huntsman served as an interim president of the entire UW system and is still drawing his presidential salary. Gregoire discussed the appointment with him a week before the M-P visit and lauded his knowledge and experience as former provost.
Hes the best choice that could have happened, Gregoire said.
During a panel discussion with students, Marysville School District school board members, leaders and a handful of parents, Gregoire bragged about improvement to the education budgets, citing an additional 10,000 seats in state public colleges, including 3,700 in high-demand areas such as math and science because thats the international language of competition, Gregoire said.
The state will work with businesses on public-private partnerships, according to Gregoire, who said legislators instituted a statewide college tuition policy for the first time in two decades. Thats crucial for families who need predictability when planning to pay for their students education.
It just makes it so uncertain for families, Gregoire said.
Students were asked about their future plans and how Marysville-Pilchuck was helping achieve them. Freshman Mikayla La Rosa wants to study film at UCLA and she said she tries to take the hardest classes possible.
Are you challenged academically in school? Gregoire asked.
Ive got a 4.0, La Rosa responded. It would be good if I could keep going and graduate early.
Gregoire asked others about their class load. Jesse Mayer is a sophomore who said he plans to study medicine at the UW and thinks the M-P bio-med academy looks good for now.
Do you like math? Gregoire asked.
Tulalip Indian Taylor Henry said hes looking forward to a career in tribal government and has thought about law school.
Id like to see more Native American history, mainly from tribes around here, so people can understand why were here, Henry told Gregoire.
She said the state is trying to make things easier for students and families applying for scholarships by working on a centralized application process. One application could be sent out to many organizations.
Were trying to make it easier to apply, Gregoire said.
Marysville school board member Sherri Crenshaw got a laugh when she tried to explain how hard it was for middle income families to pay for colleges like Stanford and Duke.
You want to go out of state? Gregoire shot back.
Nolan Jones is an M-P student with his sights on a career as a music producer. He said he liked the chat.
I definitely got to speak what I felt, Jones said. I like whats going on, if we can pursue it.

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