States News Roundup
A month after Kentucky's governor and superintendent of public instruction began visiting each of the state's 120 counties to promote greater community involvement in education reform, members of the state legislature's joint education committee announced that they,3too, would leave the marble halls of Frankfort to discuss school improvements.
Traveling in two separate vans, the 30-member legislative panel will visit 15 cities over a three-month period, conducting public hearings in each city, according to Roger L. Noe, chairman of the House education committee.
The hearings are intended to "generate enthusiasm for educational reform" and provide a forum for educators, civic leaders, and citizens to present their views on how best to reform the state's schools, Mr. Noe said.
The public hearings will probably culminate in the late summer or6early fall with a three-day summit meeting in which education-reform leaders will meet with the state legislators to discuss what measures to include in the joint education committee's reform package, according to Mr. Noe.
The state attorney general has asked the West Virginia Board of Education to encourage county school districts to use the services of local prosecuting attorneys ratherel5lthan spend large amounts of taxpayers' money hiring outside legal counsel.
In a memorandum sent to members of the board, Attorney General Charles Brown asked that no county board of education be permitted to spend more than $25,000 a year on outside legal counsel employed on an hourly basis unless it has the approval of the state superintendent of schools.
Mr. Brown said county school boards should utilize the legal services of the local prosecuting attorney or other salaried legal counsel, according to Darrell F. Daniels, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.
"We aren't saying, 'Don't spend,"' Mr. Daniels said.
"We just think the state superintendent should have some say with excessive amounts of taxpayers' money."
The state superintendent should permit county boards to contract for legal services in excess of $25,000 if such a contract is necessary to avoid a conflict of interest or to provide a necessary legal skill not available in the prosecuting attorney's office, according to Mr. Brown.
The memorandum was issued in response to reports that several county school boards, the Kanawha county school board in particular, were spending "excessive amounts" of taxpayers' money for outside legal counsel, Mr. Daniels said.
The South Carolina Board of Education has adopted new statewide standards for student conduct and discipline.
The regulations, which were passed earlier this month, define three levels of inappropriate student behavior--disorderly conduct, disruptive conduct, and criminal conduct--and suggest possible disciplinary sanctions.
The state's Education Improvement Act of 1984 required the board to develop the statewide code. Until now, each district had developed its own standards, said Barbara S. Gainey, a public-information specialist with the education department.
Examples of disorderly conduct include tardiness, cheating, lying, and truancy. Possible sanctions for such conduct include a verbal reprimand, withdrawal of privileges, detention, corporal punishment, or in-school suspension, according to Ms. Gainey.
Disruptive conduct includes the use of an intoxicant, fighting, and minor vandalism. If disorderly conduct occurs three or more times, it also might be reclassified as disruptive conduct. Possible sanctions for disruptive conduct include temporary removal from class, in-school suspension, transfer, or expulsion, Ms. Gainey said.
Criminal conduct is an action that results in violence to oneself, others, or the property of others. The usual sanction for such actions would involve the immediate removal of the student from school and the intervention of local police or the school board, according to Ms. Gainey.
The new standards still give individual school systems the leeway to determine which sanctions they will use in each instance, she said.