District News Roundup
The Philadelphia Board of Education has approved a new salary package for principals and other administrators that includes a 19 percent salary increase over a four-year period, plus a first-ever provision for merit bonuses.
Beginning in 1990, principals who perform well will receive a bonus of at least 1 percent. Because the appraisal system will not be developed before Jan. 1, all 770 principals and assistant principals will share equally in the $359,170 merit-pay fund next year.
Under the salary plan, elementary-school principals by 1992 will receive up to $64,600, while their high-school colleagues will earn $72,700.
William Thompson, a spokesman for the district, said the compensation package is the result of collaborative discussions between principals and the board--one of several efforts to encourage collaboration in the district.
The new harmonious atmosphere has replaced years of acrimonious disputes between administrators and the board over salaries and other concerns. In late 1986, administrators affiliated with the Teams Union to signal their displeasure.
A South Carolina judge last week declined to prevent a local newspaper from publishing information about a grand-jury investigation of the Jasper County school board.
Board members had filed a civil suit against the editor of The Low Country Times, seeking to restrain the paper from publishing further excerpts from the grand jury's investigative report, attorneys said.
Although the grand-jury report, issued in January, did not indict any school-board members, it reportedly was critical of the board's financial practices.
The document had been sealed by the court. Copies were made available, however, to the school board and the county council.
The newspaper, which received a copy of the report through an anonymous source, had published excerpts and a story about the investigation on Nov. 9.
Last week, the circuit court judge dismissed the case on procedural grounds. The newspaper then published a full report on the investigation.
Three Michigan school employeesified attendance records so theirdistrict would get more state education aid, according to a grand-jury indictment.
Kathleen Lyons, Barbara Blanton, and Holbert Hamrick Jr. of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools were indicted on misdemeanor charges of conspiracy and falsifying student records. It was said by county prosecutors to be the first time that school employees had been charged with attempting to defraud the state by inflating attendance figures.
The district has repaid the state education department $665,000 in aid fraudulently collected on behalf of prisoners who transferred out of adult-education programs, nursing-home patients, and people too feeble or disabled to attend classes.
If convicted, the defendents face up to two years in prison on each charge, and a five-year revocation of their teaching privileges.
A Port Arthur, Tex., school-bus driver died last week after being shot by a 10-year-old elementary student.
The victim, Russell Jean Hampton, 40, was shot twice in the head by the student, whose name was not released.
According to Joe M. Pitts, the Port Arthur superintendent, the boy had missed his morning bus and was riding his bicycle away from school when he was spotted by Ms. Hampton, who was returning her bushe district garage.
Ms. Hampton apparently had stopped and loaded the boy and his bike onto her bus, with the intention of taking him to school, when the shooting occurred, Mr. Pitts said.
Police say the boy had taken the gun from his home. Although he is too young to face criminal charges, he is being held in the Jefferson County Detention Center awaiting a civil trial, Mr. Pitts said.
Public complaints about restrictions on the busing of 4-year-olds have prompted a review of Milwaukee's entire student-assignment process.
Under district policy, 4-year-old kindergartners are not permitted to ride buses to neighborhood schools, even though older students are bused in similar situations. The kindergartners are bused only if they are attending a school more than a mile from their homes and enhance the school's racial balance.
District officials fear that if they provide bus transportation for the 4-year-olds, they would then be required under state law to offer it to all children of that age, including those in day care and private schools, according to a spokesman.
District officials hope their review will lead to an assignment process that meets the district's desegregation goals with less busing and assigns more students to their first-choice school.
Representatives of 14 corporations will give Denver-area school officials a "private-sector view" of their day-to-day operations after studying the management of four districts.
"We think they're probably operating very efficiently, although the public perceives the school districts as being very inefficient," said Susan Zimmermann, executive director of the Public Education Coalition, which organized the study..
Employees of the International Business Machines Corporation, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and other corporations will report next spring, Ms. Zimmermann said.
The St. Paul system has agreed to provide an extra $128,000 to ease financial problems at the Open School, the oldest alternative school in the district.
The school, founded in 1971, has suffered from falling enrollment and rapid turnover among teachers and administrators in recent years. A parents' advisory council sought the funding in order to save the school from staff cuts.
District officials said they would set aside the funds, but release them only if the school comes up with a plan for improvement and staff development, said Lyle E. Taipale, the school's program assistant.
Many alternative schools around the country are going through a "soul searching," Mr. Taipale observed, as some of the key concepts pioneered by alternative schools have found their way into regular school programs.
A school-based health clinic that dispenses contraceptives has opened in Miami after two years of controversy.
The new facility is one of only a handful of school-based clinics across the nation that dispense birth-control devices.
The clinic, housed in Northwestern Senior High School, was first approved by the Dade County school board in 1986. It was held up last summer, however, after Gov. Bob Martinez rejected a proposal to have a state agency run it. The clinic is now being overseen by a local agency, which has received a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The clinic offers a full range of medical services, including family planning, to students whose families sign a consent form. Parents of about 150 of the school's 2,200 students have signed the form, which allows them to indicate which services they are willing to have their children receive.
A communications mix-up between a Georgia district and the state teacher-standards agency apparently allowed a high-school guidance counselor with a record of sexual abuse to get a new job and allegedly to abuse another student, according to state and local officials.
Robert W. Faver, a counselor at Marietta High School, was arrested last week on charges of having sex with a male student.
Mr. Faver had been fired in 1985 by the Fayette County system, amid charges that he had provided a hotel room for two teenagers to have sex.
Fayette officials said they thought they had urged the state to revoke Mr. Faver's teaching certificate. But officials of the Professional Practices Commission said they had no record of the incident.
Jean Glascoff, a spokeswoman for the Marietta schools, said Mr. Faver was hired in 1987, after submitting an application that gave no indication he had worked for the Fayette system. Mr. Faver has been suspended without pay, she said.
The Philadelphia School District's policy of granting only partial credit to students enrolled in high-school special-education programs has been challenged in a federal lawsuit.
The suit, filed on behalf of two handicapped students at John Bartram High School, charges that the longstanding policy discriminates against special-education students because it prevents them from accumulating enough credits to graduate in four years.
The plaintiffs are seeking to have the suit certified as a class action on behalf of all students who have been enrolled in special education at Bartram since September 1984.
The policy was also the target of a complaint to the state education department earlier this year that was resolved in the district's favor, according to Bill Thomson, the district's spokesman.
He declined to comment on the pending litigation.