News in Brief
Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin says he will once again ask state lawmakers to authorize a pilot "parental choice" program for disadvantaged families in Milwaukee.
Last year, the legislature rejected the Governor's controversial proposal to allow the parents of 1,000 students in the state's largest city to enroll their children in any public, private, or sectarian school. Parents would have received--and public schools whose enrollment declined would have lost--payments equal to the state's per-pupil contribution for those children.
Legislative debate on the Governor's plan was superseded by a competing measure that called for the creation of an all-black school district within the current boundaries of the Milwaukee system. That bill was also rejected.
Thomas J. Fonfara, the Governor's education-policy adviser, said this year's proposal would not allow parents to send their children to church-affiliated schools. Several key lawmakers and Robert Peterkin, the Milwaukee school superintendent, had opposed that provision.
Mr. Thompson "is very much opposed to choice that includes paro8chial schools," Mr. Fonfara said. "We hope we can come to an agreement on a plan that he can embrace."
Nebraska Teachers Propose
Salary Increase, Tax Relief
The Nebraska State Education Association has voted to press lawmakers to earmark $150 million from the state's budget reserve to raise teacher salaries and reduce property taxes.
Adoption of the plan would raise the state's share of school-district revenues from 27 percent to 38 percent, leaders of the National Education Association affiliate said.
A special delegate assembly of the union endorsed the proposal at ael10lNov. 10 meeting. It also voted to commit $162,000 in union funds for a public-relations campaign on the plan's behalf.
Union officials said they would contact all members of the unicameral legislature to lobby for the proposal's passage.
Under the union's plan, $100 million in state reserves would be used to raise the average teacher salary by $5,400 over three years.
It also would set the minimum salary at $18,000, and would provide districts with additional aid to raise salaries above the state average and give teachers bonuses for extra work.
The remaining $50 million would be used for property-tax relief.
Arkansas should allow school boards to set minimum salary levels for teachers at various points in their careers, a group representing more than 40 percent of the state's districts argues in a new report.
The Arkansas School Study Council, which includes 141 of the state's 329 districts, also recommended that local boards be allowed to broaden the range of salaries to provide experienced teachers with more pay.
The report also criticized a state law that requires districts to use at least 70 percent of their net income for professional salaries. Council officials said the proportion is inordinately high.