State News Roundup
Officials in every Mississippi school district will be required to verify that all of their students actually live within district boundaries, under a new policy adopted this month by the state board of education.
The policy comes in response to a July 1989 warning from the U.S. Justice Department that if the board did not create a system to monitor home addresses of its 500,000 students, the federal government would step in.
The Justice Department last year was helping four districts clear up disputed residency violations when it discovered widespread abuse of residency requirements.
One common practice the investigators found was "sham guardianships," in which parents would select a school for their child outside their district and then persuade a friend or relative to obtain guardianship papers from a chancery court. The child would continue to live with his or her parents, but would attend school in the guardian's district. The Justice Department believes this practice is used to frustrate desegregation efforts.
Under the new policy, guardians will need to present a certified court copy of a petition for guardianship if the case is pending, or a final court decree if guardianship has been granted.
An Arizona school district could lose its state funding if the state board of education confirms allegations that the district engaged in questionable financial practices.
If the board accepts the allegations made in a report by the state Auditor General's Office, the Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District stands to lose nearly $1 million in state aid--about one-third of its total budget.
According to the state audit, the district did not maintain adequate financial records, had questionable expenses, and did not meet state bidding requirements.
State officials said the board has never before reviewed such a serious case of financial irregularities and has never withheld funding from a school district.
The Georgia Board of Education has voted to reverse its decision of last year banning spring football practice.
However, a public hearing, scheduled for this week, is required for the vote to become policy. The issue will probably be discussed again at the board's regularly scheduled meeting in April, according to a spokesman.
The board had voted 5 to 4 last March to ban the spring practice, citing the time it took away from academic pursuits, which under the state's "no-pass, no-play" law are to be emphasized over athletics.
This month, the board voted 7 to 2 to allow spring practice to be held, under new rules that limit its duration to 10 consecutive days in May. The practice also must not interfere with the schedules of spring sports or with final exams..