News In Brief
The Alabama Senate has voted unanimously to scrap the state's troubled career-incentive program for teachers.
State education officials said the 25-to-0 vote on Feb. 11 indicates that the House is also likely to vote overwhelmingly to repeal the system, perhaps as early as this week. Gov. Guy Hunt has indicated that he will sign such a measure if it reaches his desk.
The incentive program, approved by lawmakers in 1985, stipulated that teachers on the highest rung of the career ladder would receive a salary of $43,000. But a debate over the instrument to be used to evaluate teachers prevented the legislature from fully funding the program.
Teachers were evaluated last fall for placement on the career ladder, according to Earl Gates of the education department's office of legislative relations. He said it is unclear what will become of the results of those assessments if the House passes the bill to kill the system.
Gov. George S. Mickelson of South Dakota has withdrawn his plan to raise teacher salaries, saying the proposal had little support among lawmakers and school districts.
The Governor had proposed spending $2.5 million in the next fiscal year to raise teacher pay, with the proviso that districts match the state funds on a 2-to-1 basis.
After local officials complained that the plan would have forced them to increase property taxes to pay their share of the obligation, the Governor instead suggested giving the state's proposed share to local governments for property-tax relief.
A bill passed by the Senate Feb. 11 would give localities the option of using the funds for teacher salaries. The House will consider the bill this week.
A Louisiana district attorney has dropped all remaining charges against Tom Clausen, the state's superintendent of education, who was acquitted last May of payroll fraud.
The May verdict, handed down by a state district jury, had left a number of other charges, including malfeasance and obstruction of justice, still pending against Mr. Clausen and his confidential assistant, Paul Fresina.
In late December, however, the Baton Rouge district attorney, Bryan Bush, moved to dismiss the remaining counts, saying they were not strong enough to justify the time and expense of another trial. Mr. Bush's decision first came to light in newspaper reports this month.
Mr. Clausen, who was elected superintendent in 1983, leaves office on March 14. Louisianans last year voted to make the state superintendency an appointive post.