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State Journal: Sanctioning skip week; Back on the road again

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Nevada high-school students are lobbying their hometown lawmakers to back a bill that would legally sanction the traditional practice of allowing seniors to skip the final week of classes prior to their graduation.

At a recent hearing before the Senate human-resources committee, students from across the state offered dozens of arguments in favor of the measure, which is sponsored by Senator Michael Malone, a Las Vegas Republican.

The students, however, face a strong opponent in Eugene Paslov, the state school chief. "This bill contains the elements of a trend-setter for Nevada public education," the superintendent told the committee. "Unfortunately, it is the wrong trend."

According to Senator Malone, the bill would serve a number of purposes. He said it would give seniors who have completed all graduation requirements time to prepare for ceremonies and related events; give teachers an extra week in which to grade seniors' final exams; and permit districts with several large high schools to better coordinate the use of local facilities for commencements.

Senator Malone says his bill has been endorsed by the Clark and Washoe County districts, the state's two largest systems. He also says that he has not received "even one negative letter or phone call from a parent."

"Now that really says a lot to me," he added.

After hearing from Mr. Paslov, the Senate panel voted to send the bill to a subcommittee for further study. But Senator Malone says he is confident the bill will eventually clear the committee and win approval in the full Senate and Assembly.

The Huskies and Huskettes of Oelwein High School in Iowa may be back on the road soon in their customized school bus, following a recent vote in the legislature.

By a vote of 31 to 16, the Senate adopted a resolution that would allow schools to affix the names of their athletic teams in black lettering on their yellow buses. The bill now goes to the House.

The bill was prompted by the state education department's refusal to allow the Oelwein bus--which has the name "Huskies" painted on one side and "Huskettes" on the other--to pass inspection. State officials cited a regulation that permits only the name of the school and the bus's manufacturer to appear on the vehicle.

The bill's sponsors noted that if the bill became law, the education department would still be free to draft new rules governing the size and placement of bus markings.--tm

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