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Gov. George Deukmejian of California has signed a bill that will reauthorize the state's special-education program, but he vetoed another that would have reauthorized five other categorical programs that have expired under the state's "sunset" law.

The Governor's signature on SB 2059 will restore the state's authority to regulate special-education programs between Jan. 1, 1989, and June 30, 1993. The regulations for the program expired this past summer.

Special education would also have been reauthorized under the vetoed bill, AB 1783, which sought to restore six of the programs that have expired, including gifted and talented education, the Miller-Unruh reading program for early elementary grades, school-improvement planning grants, economic impact aid, and Indian early-childhood education.

Governor Deukmejian and Republican legislative leaders have consistently opposed efforts to reauthorize the programs in a package, rather than singly. Lawmakers are expected to sustain the veto.

The Governor also signed bills that will require sex-education courses in the state to stress abstinence and provide tax credits to businesses offering child care to workers.

He vetoed bills that would have required the state to develop a high-school course on human relations and grant automatic cost-of-living increases to child-care programs.

The West Virginia Board of Education has challenged the constitutionality of a new legislative oversight commission that has the authority to review board policies and recommend whether lawmakers should reject them.

In papers filed with the state supreme court on Sept. 27, the board argued that the creation of the new panel violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, said Carolyn Spangler, a spokesman for the education department.

The Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability, which is composed of three senators, three delegates, and the leaders of both chambers, was authorized under a wide-ranging school-reform bill passed by lawmakers last July. According to Ms. Spangler, board members "feel if the commission is allowed to stand, they would be powerless."


New Jersey's highest court has been asked to assume immediate jurisdiction over a suit that seeks to strike down the state's school-finance system.

"Schoolchildren must not be held as innocent pawns to a process that has gone on too long already," said Senator Matthew Feldman, chairman of the Senate Education Committee and the Joint Committee on the Public Schools. The joint panel sent a letter to the high court recently asking it to waive intermediate steps in the appeals process and review an administrative law judge's Aug. 25 ruling that the system fails to provide a "thorough and efficient" education to urban schoolchildren.

Marilyn J. Morheuser, the lawyer for the children who filed the suit, said she planned to file a similar motion with the high court last week.

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