A Nevada teachers' union has collected enough signatures on an initiative petition to force state lawmakers next year to consider taxing corporate profits to help pay for education.
If approved during the legislative session that begins in January, the new tax could generate as much as $100 million for schools annually, said Lindsey Jydstrup, a spokesman for the Nevada State Education Association.
Ms. Jydstrup said the petition drive, which was launched last February, had gathered approximately 45,000 signatures by this month's deadline, almost twice the number needed to place the measure before the legislature.
If lawmakers fail to approve the proposal within the first 40 days of the session, it will automatically appear on the state ballot in 1990.
Under the measure, corporations would pay an 8 percent tax on profits exceeding $20,000. Profits greater than $120,000 would be subject to a 10 percent tax. The measure also would require businesses to pay a $500 annual franchise fee.
Nevadans for Stable Taxes, a 900-member business coalition, opposes the measure, saying it is "discriminatory against business," said Carole A. Vilardo, a spokesman for the group.
Ms. Vilardo said the group's members believe that the proposed tax rate is too high, and that earmarking the revenues for education would ''take away [budgetary] flexibility."
South Carolina's decision to declare five school districts "seriously impaired" has resulted in improvements in children's education, a survey of teachers and parents in those districts has found.
The districts were declared impaired in 1985 on the basis of poor student performance on standardized tests.
A recent survey conducted by a private firm for the state education department found that teachers have been working harder to help their students and are working more closely with parents. Respondents also said that their schools have received badly needed additional state aid since being declared impaired.
The state reported that the impaired districts have consistently exceeded minimum standards for student achievement since receiving that designation.