State News Roundup
Retired teachers in Georgia have filed suit against the state over its plan to tax retirement benefits.
In September, the state assembly passed legislation placing a tax on state employees' retirement pensions. That action came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last March requiring states to tax federal and state retirement benefits equally. (See Education Week, April 26, 1989.)
The suit in Georgia, filed jointly by the Georgia Association of Educators and the state employees' union, alleges that the retroactive tax is unconstitutional because it violates the contract between the state and its retirees.
It also claims the tax is unfair because it takes away property without adequate compensation.
Lawyers for state employees and teachers filed the class-action suit in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta Nov. 27. Defendants are the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia, the department of revenue, and the State of Georgia.
A new statewide program in Maryland announced last week will link businesses with schools to secure part-time or summer jobs for all high-school students who meet certain standards.
Joseph L. Shilling, the state superintendent--together with the state office of economic and employment development and the state chamber of commerce--plans to launch the program, called "Passport to the Future," in January.
Under the program, every student who maintains a C average and a 95 percent attendance rate, and who has no criminal record, will be issued a "passport" signifying that the standards have been met.
Businesses across the state will then give such students preferential treatment for part-time work. A "passport coordinator" in each school system will work with county economic-development officials to place students with passports in a job.
The program's goal, according to a spokesman for the state superintendent, is to help the estimated 22 percent of students who do not appear to be headed toward either college or a vocation.
Under the plan, businesses will be responsible for training the student in work ethics and interviewing skills, and for offering references.
Businesses in the program must encourage students to stay in school. If a student's attendance record or academic standing falls below a certain level, he or she will lose the job.
Maryland should spend an additional $2 million on comprehensive reproductive health services for teenagers, the Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy has recommended.
The panel's survey of the state's 24 local health departments found that nearly all of the clinics providing reproductive services for teenagers are open less than 100 hours a month, and that a quarter of the specialized teenage clinics are open less than 5 hours a month.
Nearly half of the clinics do not offer walk-in services for teenagers seeking contraceptives, the survey found, and those seeking appointments often have to wait up to 30 days before seeing a health professional.
The panel recommended that the clinics be open on evenings and weekends and that they accept walk-in clients. In addition, local health officials should explore the possibility of providing family-planning services in the schools, it urged.