The Justice Department stepped up its attack on race- and gender-conscious affirmative-action plans last week, asking a federal district judge to modify hiring goals for Indianapolis' police and fire departments.
In papers filed with the court over the objection of city officials on April 30, the department requested the elimination of numerical quotas for the admission of blacks and women to firefighter and police training classes. The quotas were included in court-approved consent decrees signed by Indianapolis and Justice Department officials in 1978 and 1979.
The department suggested that the city be required only "to recruit qualified black and female applicants for the entry-level ... positions to the full extent of their availability in the relevant job market."
Earlier this year, the department asked Indianapolis and 50 other state and local jurisdictions to join it in asking courts to modify their affirmative-action consent decrees. (See Education Week, April 10, 1985.) Late last week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed suit in federal district court in Washington in an attempt to block such moves.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit filed in 1983 by angry parents who had hoped to block Polk County's controversial extended-year experiment. The program extended the school year from 180 days to 200 days and the school day by an hour.
Last January, the county school board voted to discontinue the program at the end of this school year, one year ahead of schedule. (See Education Week, Jan. 23, 1985.)
The suit contended that under the uniformity provisions of the state's constitution, school officials did not have the authority to require students to attend school longer than the 180 days mandated by state law. But the lower court ruled that the 180-day requirement was a minimum, not a maximum. A similar extended-year program in Halifax County, which was also the target of an unsuccessful lawsuit, will continue, officials there have said.
Several days after Indiana's former superintendent of public instruction, Harold H. Negley, was indicted by a Marion County grand jury on charges of "ghost employment" and official misconduct, four more employees of the Indiana Department of Education were indicted on charges including conspiracy and theft, according to Marion County Prosecutor Stephen Goldsmith. (See Education Week, May 1, 1985.)
The indicted department employees include: Raymond A. Slaby, associate superintendent, for conspiracy to commit ghost employment and ghost employment; Parker B. Eaton, director of the division of publications, for conspiracy to commit ghost employment, attempted ghost employment, ghost employment, perjury, theft, and official misconduct; John Harter, director of the division of school food and nutrition, for ghost employment, attempted theft, and theft; and George F. Hinkle, consultant/field auditor, for theft.
In addition, Paul W. Krohne, education adviser to Gov. Robert D. Orr, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit ghost employment and ghost employment.
All of the charges, except for official misconduct, are felonies under Indiana law and carry a maximum sentence of four years in prison. The indictments are expected to close the grand jury's investigation of the state education department, which began two months ago, according to the prosecutor's office.