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A North Carolina judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state board of education against the Thomasville school district and Whittle Communications over the district's signing of a contract for the "Channel One" television news program.

Judge Donald Stephens ruled March 2 that the state board was wrong when it passed an emergency rule Feb. 1 that banned districts from signing contracts with Whittle for the commercially sponsored in-school news program. The judge also overturned the state board's action to void contracts signed between Whittle and approximately 30 other districts in the state. (See Education Week, Feb. 28, 1990.)

The judge, however, did affirm the authority of the state board to ban commercially sponsored educational materials from public-school classrooms so long as it follows the rulemaking procedures established for state agencies. Under such procedures, the board must give notice of its intention to pass a rule and must hold a public hearing.

State education officials have given notice that the state board intends to impose the ban, and a public hearing has been scheduled for April 2.

Meanwhile, Channel One debuted on schedule last week in 400 schools nationwide. More than 2,900 schools have signed agreements to broadcast the program, Whittle officials said.

For the second time in as many years, the Arkansas State Board of Education voted late last month to delay implementation of a five-day extension of the school year that is called for in the state's education standards.

The standards, approved by the legislature in 1983, call for lengthening the school year from 185 to 190 days.

As in other states that currently are considering a longer school year, money was a significant factor in the state board's decision not to add five days to the school calendar. (See Education Week, Feb. 7, 1990.)

The board, which voted unanimously to delay the extension, said the legislature had failed to provide enough money to pay for the increase in working days for staff and faculty members.

It would cost approximately $17 million to add the five days, said Gail Morris, a spokesman for the state board.

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