News in Brief
The Alaska legislature has approved a bill establishing a system of full state grants for local school-construction projects, based on need.
The new system would replace the current method of partial state reimbursement of local school-bond debt. The state this year is reimbursing districts for about 75 percent of the cost of their bond payments.
Under the new system, districts will submit proposed construction projects to the state education department, which will rank them on a priority basis. Health and safety needs are to get top priority, followed by a need for greater space due to a rise in enrollment.
The old system will remain in place for bond projects approved by voters before March 31.
Gov. Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania has signed legislation creating a 13-member professional-standards board to oversee the state's teaching profession.
Teachers will make up a majority of the advisory board's members.
The panel will make recommendations to state education officials on regulations governing the preparation and certification of teachers. It also will draw up procedures for hearing cases of teachers who are charged with misconduct by the secretary of education.
The Indiana House has approved a $9.5-million education-reform plan.
The joint proposal by Gov. Evan Bayh and Superintendent of Public Instruction H. Dean Evans was passed this month on a 98-to-0 vote.
The bill would provide new funding for classroom technology, preschool and latchkey programs, and research in such areas as testing, mandatory kindergarten, and "regulation-free" schools.
A committee of the Kentucky House has rejected a bill banning smoking in elementary and high schools.
Representative Anne Meagher Northup, a cosponsor of the bill, said the measure fell largely because it was referred to the House agriculture committee, which has jurisdiction over issues relating to tobacco, the state's leading cash crop.
Ms. Northup said the bill's proponents are promoting a measure that would bar the sale of tobacco products to those under age 16. Kentucky is one of six states that place no age restrictions on tobacco purchases.