Districts News Roundup
State University at Dominguez Hills and the Long Beach school district are going ahead with plans to develop a regional mathematics and science high school, after Los Angeles and another local district refused to participate.
The university had asked the Los Angeles school system to cosponsor a bid for $400,000 in state funds for a study to determine whether such a school would be feasible.
But the district backed out of the project after officials from nearby Compton, which houses the university, objected to the proposed school. Compton officials said they feared it would drain away top talent from their district.
Faced with an April 13 deadline to apply for the state grant, university officials contacted Long Beach, the region's second-largest district, which agreed to cosponsor the proposal.
Under the agreement, the school--which could open in the fall of 1990--would be jointly run by the university and the district. The local school system would control the curriculum, according to Yolanda Moses, the university's vice president for academic affairs.
Ms. Moses also denied that the new school would take away any district's "creme de la creme." It would be open to students from any high school in the Los Angeles area, she noted, and probably would draw only two or three students from each school.
The Chicago school system's $145-million plan to repair and renovate 113 schools violates a federal desegregation order, a Hispanic civil-rights group has charged.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund contends that the school-improvement plan fails to address overcrowded conditions in some of the city's predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.
The 1980 desegregation decree required officials to ease severe overcrowding in 56 Chicago schools with largely Hispanic populations. Only eight of those schools are targeted in the new plan, according to maldef.
But Robert Saigh, a spokesman for the school district, said last week that the group's charges were "totally uninformed."
The plan is the result of a separate court order to bring the city's school buildings into compliance with local fire and building codes, according to Mr. Saigh. School officials have been working to ease overcrowding in other ways, including capping enrollments, adjusting district boundaries, and building new facilities, he said.
The Detroit board of education will again ask voters to approve a $160-million bond issue to eliminate the district's accumulated operating deficit.
In a special election to be held June 13, voters will also consider a proposed 8-mill increase in property taxes to prevent future deficits.
Voters rejected a similar bond issue and a 6-mill property-tax increase in November, at the same time they ousted three board members in favor of a slate of reform candidates.
The decision by the board this month to seek the levy increase is a reversal of its earlier stance. City teachers, who have been working without a contract since September, have told the board they would not exercise their right to binding arbitration if the board sought the revenue increase.
Board members are hoping that the change in the panel's composition will help convince voters to support the bond issue and new levy request.
Public anger over plans to pay the superintendent of the Raleigh County, W.Va., school system a salary of up to $100,000 has forced the candidate for
the position to withdraw his name from consideration.
Protests over the pay proposal included parent picket lines, which forced the closing of 16 schools for a day, as well as a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of a junior high school.
W. Thomas McNeel, who currently serves as interim superintendent, told the school board in an emotional speech April 15 that he would not seek the post on a permanent basis, and would leave at the end of June.
Mr. McNeel was state superintendent for West Virginia from 1985 until last December, when he resigned.
Many parents became enraged when the school board disclosed it was attempting to hire Mr. McNeel for from $80,000 to $100,000 a year. As interim superintendent, he currently is paid at a $56,000 annual rate for presiding over the 15,000-student district.
The Garfield Heights, Ohio, school board plans to fight a state board of education recommendation that the district take in a neighborhood currently served by the Cleveland school system.
The Cranwood neighborhood is predominantly minority and lies within the city boundaries of Garfield Heights. Backed by the Cleveland school board, Cranwood residents have sought the merger with the Garfield Heights district.
But absorbing Cranwood's nearly 600 students would cause hardships for Garfield Heights, which has 2,900 students, Superintendent Charles T. Bashera said last week. The assessed valuation of Cranwood property is far below the district's average, he noted.
Mr. Bashera accused the state board of seeking to use Garfield Heights, whose student body is 11 percent minority, to reduce desegregation problems in Cleveland. The state has been found partly liable for segregated schooling in Cleveland and is under federal court order to fund a substantial portion of the city's desegregation efforts.
Cleveland's school superintendent should not participate in school-board politics, the board of education has decided.
The action was reportedly taken because some board members believe that Superintendent Alfred D. Tutela has been too heavily involved with a slate of candidates, running for election in November, that includes some incumbents and excludes others.
Although the superintendent has called the order an infringement of his constitutional and contractual rights, he had not taken an action in response as of last week, according to a board spokesman.
El Paso health officials have tested some 2,400 students and staff members at two middle schools for tuberculosis after discovering that a student at each school had attended classes for several months while carrying the highly contagious disease.
More than 200 students and staff at Wiggs Middle School and Guillen Intermediate School tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis, said Dr. Laurance Nickey, director of the El Paso City-County Health District. He noted, however, that most people who are exposed to the disease to do not eventually develop it.
The Des Moines business community has raised $1.5 million to build a learning center in a public-housing project.
The center, to be located on donated land, will provide programs helping preschoolers from the Homes of Oakridge complex and neighboring areas prepare for kindergarten. It also will offer skills training for teenage mothers.
William C. Knapp, a leader of the Greater Des Moines Coalition, which raised the money for the center, said last week he expected construction to begin this spring.
The Dade County, Fla., school board last week agreed to allow 42 schools to adopt uniform dress codes for students.
Parents who lobbied for the change said they believed that wearing uniforms improves students' attendance rates, academic achievement, and self-esteem. They based their arguments on the experience of two local elementary schools, where students have been dressing in blue-and-white outfits since the beginning of the school year.
District officials noted that schools would not have the power to compel students to wear uniforms.