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West Virginia's ongoing school-finance suit returned to the state's highest court last week, as lawyers for the state and 33 school districts attempted to block a lower court from redistributing property-tax revenues from rich to poor districts.

The state supreme court declared West Virginia's finance system unconstitutional in 1982, saying that laws permitting districts to assess ''excess levies" above the minimum property-tax base created financial disparities among districts.

Lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment in 1987 that would have established a uniform excess levy in all districts, but voters overwhelmingly rejected it last March.

Following the amendment's defeat, the circuit judge hearing the finance suit issued an order requiring the redistribution of excess-levy revenues. He then agreed to delay the order's implementation pending its review before the supreme court.

The supreme court is expected to announce its decision in the case later this year.

Students entering South Dakota schools for the first time this fall were required to present their birth certificates to school officials as part of an effort to help locate missing children.

According to Henry Kosters, the state superintendent of schools, a adopt the requirement. The parent argued that it would aid in the identification of children who have been abducted and enrolled in school under a false name. In his State of the State Message last January, Gov. Thomas H. Kean directed the commissioner, Saul A. Cooperman, to define "a common core of enduring values that all New Jerseyans believe should be promoted'' and to "use them once again to teach character in our schools." (See Education Week, Jan. 27, 1988.)

A spokesman for the state education department said the advisory council will include representatives from education, business, civic, and religious groups and will issue its recommendations by next January.

School districts, he added, will be allowed to decide whether to adopt the curriculum and if so, how it will be used in classrooms.

Gov. Richard F. Celeste of Ohio has approached top education officials in Japan about the possibility of jointly establishing a high school in his state.

In a telephone interview from Tokyo with the Associated Press, Mr. Celeste said he discussed the idea with Gentaro Makajima, Japan's minister of education, science, and culture. The Governor travelled to Japan last week to attend a meeting of the U.S.-Japan Association.

In the interview, Mr. Celeste said the proposed school would be attended by American students interested in Japanese culture and by the children of Japanese families who work for companies that have located in the state.

He said that Ohio schoolchildren could benefit from a blend of American and Japanese curricula and that Japanese students could receive the instruction they need to gain admission to their country's highly selective universities.

A handful of Japanese firms have opened private schools in the United States for their employees' children.

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