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Charging that the Boston school system has violated the state's special-education law, the Massachusetts Department of Education has ordered that $1 million in federal funds be withheld from the district.

Richard Cohen, a monitor appointed by the department to oversee Boston's compliance with the law, said in a report issued last month that the district provided inadequate transportation services and6too few speech therapists, among other alleged violations. Nearly 13,000 pupils--23 percent of the district's enrollment--have special needs.

Susan Cole, a lawyer who represents the plaintiffs in a 13-year-old lawsuit charging that the district has failed to provide adequate special-education services, acknowledged that the loss of federal aid may be harmful. But the action will send a strong signal to the district to do more to comply with the law, said Ms. Cole, legal director of the Massachusetts Advocacy Center.

Boston officials responded that the monitor's report contained inaccuracies, and charged that the state appeared to be holdel10ling the district to higher standards than those applied elsewhere.


The Rockford, Ill., school board has agreed to reopen 4 of 11 schools slated to close this fall under a state-mandated deficit-reduction plan.

As part of a court-approved agreement with a citizens' group, signed last month, the board also promised to create two new magnet schools in black neighborhoods, and to abandon plans for creating a 1,200-student elementary school.

A local group called People Who Care had charged in a federal lawsuit that the deficit-reduction plan would increase racial segregation in the district and place a disproportionate burden on black students.

The district has also agreed to begin a minority-to-majority transfer program and to create a process for addressing broader issues of historical discrimination raised in the lawsuit.


Despite objections from teachers' groups, a court-ordered plan to transfer more than 100 De Kalb County, Ga., teachers involuntarily will not be delayed, U.S. District Judge William C. O'Kelly has ruled.

Judge O'Kelly ordered the transfers last year, ruling that the average level of teaching experience--and thus per-pupil expenditures--was higher in the district's predominantly white schools than in its mostly black schools.

Teachers had sought a year to develop a plan that would allow shifts needed to equalize experience levels to be accomplished through voluntary transfers, rather than by lottery as the district had proposed, according to Becky Chambers, president of the De Kalb Association of Educators.

The judge last month also denied a motion by black plaintiffs to expand the number of teachers transferred. The district has appealed the transfer to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.


A deaf couple can sue their local school system for failing to provide an interpreter at parent-teacher conferences, a federal judge in White Plains, N.Y., has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Gerard Goettel last month refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Kenneth and Karen Rothschild against the Ramapo Central School District.

The Rothschilds, who have hearing children enrolled in the system, say that the district is required under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to provide interpreters for them at parent-teacher conferences.

The school district, which argues that the federal law applies only to school-age children, had asked the court to dismiss the case.

The judge ruled it was "clear that the parents are entitled to participate to the same extent as nonhandicapped parents" in school-initiated parent-teacher conferences related to the education or discipline of their children.

No trial date has been set.


The Boston School Committee last week approved a three-year contract with the city's teachers' union that calls for site-based management and annual assessments of school achievement.

Board members and union leaders described the contract, approved by a 5-to-4 vote, as "historic" for its education-reform components and early settlement. The agreement calls for teachers to receive 7 percent raises in each of the three years, at an estimated total cost of $44 million.

Officials conceded, however, that Massachusetts' fiscal ills may prevent the city from honoring the contract. Boston faces a $27-million shortfall in state aid that must be made up before new revenue can be sought to pay for the contract, said Ellen Guiney, Mayor Raymond L. Flynn's education adviser.

"Unless there's light at the end of the tunnel in terms of new tax revenue, it's going to be very hard to find money to fund this contract," said Edward J. Doherty, president of the union.


The Dade County, Fla., school board has given initial approval to a regulation requiring lobbyists to register with the district and report any direct business contacts with either board meminued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page


bers or administrators.

Board members are seeking to avoid conflict-of-interest allegations, according to Phyllis Douglas, a lawyer for the board.

The board approved the measure on first reading in June. The members asked lawyers to review the measure before it was submitted for final approval this month.


The Detroit school board has temporarily suspended its policy favoring businesses owned by minorities and women, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's January decision curtailing such affirmative-action programs.

The district faced a possible lawsuit by a labor union opposed to its rule allowing minority contractors to charge 3 percent more than the lowest bidder. The board has called for a legal review of the policy.

In a similar development, the Denver school board has approved a new policy for minority- and women-owned businesses that sets no quotas or percentage goals.


The New Orleans school district has opened two year-round elementary-school programs aimed at helping disadvantaged students improve academic achievement and avoid trouble on the streets this summer.

Financed with nearly $300,000 in local and federal funds, the experimental classes began last month at two elementary schools that serve children from nearby housing projects. Students participating in the programs will be required to attend school an additional 40 days a year, a spokesman for the district explained.


Seattle's new "controlled choice" school-assignment plan has become the target of a citizens' group called Save Our Schools, which is seeking a November ballot initiative to block the program.

Many parents became upset when their children were not allowed to attend some of the more popular schools because of enrollment reductions put in place by the new plan. Save Our Schools' initiative would prohibit the city council from providing any money to the district until the plan was replaced, said Katherine Baxter, a spokesman for the group.

Despite the opposition, school officials plan to implement the program this fall, according to Marsha Leslie, a spokesman for the district.


The temporary loss of a computer tape containing the names of more than 800 prospective students has forced Boston school officials to recalculate school assignments for all kindergartners entering the system this fall.

The mistake was seen by some school observers as a blow to the credibility of a new "controlled choice" student-assignment plan to be implemented by the district this fall.

School officials said they had to redo the entire assignment process--even though some families had already received notice of their school assignments--in order to ensure that all applicants were given an equal chance to receive their preferred schools.


A Fairfax County, Va., physical-education teacher who was disciplined after writing a satirical letter to the student newspaper can sue the school district for damages, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has ruled.

A three-judge panel found last month that Donald L. Seemuller's letter--in which he made fun of an earlier letter complaining about sexual discrimination--was an expression of protected speech. A district court judge had been wrong to dismiss his lawsuit against the school board, the panel declared.

After publication of the letter, school officials acted to freeze Mr. Seemuller's pay for a year, citing his lack of judgement.


Slightly fewer than half of New York City's 3rd to 10th graders can read at or above grade level as measured by new, tougher standards, the board of education has disclosed.

Using norms that had been in effect since 1982, more than 70 percent of the students would have scored at or above grade level this year.

Under the new criteria, however, only 49.2 percent met that standard.

But school officials stressed that the share of students reading at grade level would represent an improvement of 3.3 percentage points over last year, if the newer criteria had been in effect then.


The International Business Machines Corporation has announced plans to give the Memphis school system computers, software, and training valued at $1.7 million over the next three years.

The money will fund early-childhood-intervention programs at five schools, as part of Shelby County's "Free the Children" program, which encourages parents to support their children's success in school.

School officials said the grant, announced last month, was the largest single donation the district had ever received from the private sector.


A Fairfax County, Va., physical-education teacher who was disciplined after writing a satirical letter to the student newspaper can sue the school district for damages, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has ruled.

A three-judge panel found last month that Donald L. Seemuller's letter--in which he made fun of an earlier letter complaining about sexual discrimination--was an expression of protected speech. A district court judge had been wrong to dismiss his lawsuit against the school board, the panel declared.

After publication of the letter, school officials acted to freeze Mr. Seemuller's pay for a year, citing his lack of judgement.

The Boston School Committee last week approved a three-year contract with the city's teachers' union that calls for site-based management and annual assessments of school achievement.

Board members and union leaders described the contract, approved by a 5-to-4 vote, as "historic" for its education-reform components and early settlement. The agreement calls for teachers to receive 7 percent raises in each of the three years, at an estimated total cost of $44 million.

Officials conceded, however, that Massachusetts' fiscal ills may prevent the city from honoring the contract. Boston faces a $27-million shortfall in state aid that must be made up before new revenue can be sought to pay for the contract, said Ellen Guiney, Mayor Raymond L. Flynn's education adviser.

"Unless there's light at the end of the tunnel in terms of new tax revenue, it's going to be very hard to find money to fund this contract," said Edward J. Doherty, president of the union.


Despite objections from teachers' groups, a court-ordered plan to transfer more than 100 De Kalb County, Ga., teachers involuntarily will not be delayed, U.S. District Judge William C. O'Kelly has ruled.

Judge O'Kelly ordered the transfers last year, ruling that the average level of teaching experience--and thus per-pupil expenditures--was higher in the district's predominantly white schools than in its mostly black schools.

Teachers had sought a year to develop a plan that would allow shifts needed to equalize experience levels to be accomplished through voluntary transfers, rather than by lottery as the district had proposed, according to Becky Chambers, president of the De Kalb Association of Educators.

The judge last month also denied a motion by black plaintiffs to expand the number of teachers transferred. The district has appealed the transfer to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

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