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Ga. District, Facing Legal Battle, Lets Klan Use Cafeteria

The Paulding County (Ga.) Board of Education has decided to let the Ku Klux Klan rent a high-school cafeteria for a rally rather than become involved in a legal battle that board members say the board would lose.

The board originally opposed letting the Klan use school facilities.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, which represented the Klan in this case, informed the board of similar cases, already decided, in Baton Rouge and Louisville. The courts have ruled that if school officials decide to let community organizations use school buildings, they cannot discriminate against particular organizations, said Gene Guerrero, director of the aclu of Georgia.

The New York City school system received a jolt last week when its popular and flamboyant chancellor, Frank J. Macchiarola, resigned to take a position as a chief executive in the private sector at about twice his current salary of $78,000.

During Mr. Macchiarola's nearly five years as chancellor of a system that enrolls more than 900,000 children, reading scores exceeded the national average for the first time in more than a decade.

Mr. Macchiarola was also known for instituting some controversial reforms.

One of these, the "promotional gates" program, required 4th and 7th graders to repeat a year if their achievement-test scores were very low. Nearly 25,000 students were held back in 1981.

When word spread last week that Mr. Macchiarola was being considered for a new post, both New York City Mayor Edward Koch and United Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker publicly pleaded with him to stay on. Mr. Koch called Mr. Macchiarola the best chancellor of New York's schools "in modern history."

Mr. Macchiarola, who is 41, will become chief executive of the New York City Partnership, a coalition, headed by David Rockefeller, of business groups concerned with public issues in the city.

Deputy Chancellor Richard F. Halverson was named acting chancellor until a successor to Mr. Macchiarola is selected.

Archbishop Joseph Bernardin, using the medium of television, recently asked 133,000 Roman Catholic schoolchildren in Chicago to light candles to protest a decade of legal abortion.

On Jan. 14, the Archbishop spoke to the children via the Catholic Television Network of Chicago, asking them to join last week's "Light for Life" demonstration on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to permit federally funded abortions.

Ann Leavenworth, who as pres-ident of the California State Board of Education helped design a new model curriculum for the state's students, was removed from that position by a voice vote at a recent board meeting in Sacramento.

Ms. Leavenworth has been in a dispute with some board members over the issue of when a Spanish-speaking child is ready to move from a bilingual class setting to an English-only class.

New state rules say a child must score above the 36th percentile on reading, writing, and mathematics tests before making such a move. Ms. Leavenworth believed these standards were too rigid.

A spokesman for the board said other issues "of a personal nature" were at work in the move by bilingual-education advocates on the board to oust Ms. Leavenworth from the presidency.

She will continue to serve on the board, replaced as president by Hugh Friedman, a San Diego attorney.

Gov. Richard Thornburgh of Pennsylvania has appointed Robert Wilburn, currently the state's secretary of budget and administration, to replace Robert Scanlon as secretary of education.

The Governor made the nomination, which must be ratified by the state senate, earlier this month, without comment.

Mr. Scanlon, whose term of office has been marked by sometimes bitter exchanges with the state's teachers' union over such matters as his proposed state-level education block grant, will remain in the newly re-elected governor's cabinet as head of the Governor's Committee on Human Resources.

Sources in the Pennsylvania legislature speculate that Mr. Wilburn's appointment, if it is ratified, may be the first step in his winning the chancellorship of Pennsylvania's new statewide university system, which is scheduled to be in place by July 1.

Mr. Wilburn, a former president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is reportedly seeking the position.

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