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Reversing a lower court's ruling, the Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that a school district, as a government entity acting in the public interest, is exempt from the statute of limitations.

The unanimous decision, which marked the first time the high court had heard a case on the subject, clears the way for Laramie County School District No. 1 to pursue its $200,000 negligence and breach-of-contract claim against the architects of a school that began to crumble less than 10 years after it was built.

McCormick Junior High School in Cheyenne, completed in 1975 by the architectural firm of Muir and Young, began to show gaps between the walls and ceilings in the 1983-84 school year, according to the high-court decision.

Ceiling tiles also fell to the floor that year, and a wall brace sheared from its stabilizing bolts and protruded through the building's ceiling. The following school year a canopy walkway began to crack because of structural stress.

The district filed suit against the architects in 1988.

Paul J. Hickey, a lawyer for the school district, called the court decision "significant."

The case now goes back to Wyoming's First Judicial District Court, where it may go to trial late this year or early next, Mr. Hickey said.

Educational leaders from Ohio and Northrhine-Westphalia, the largest state in Germany, have signed an agreement for an extensive cross-cultural exchange between the two states.

The educational partnership will involve offering extended German and English language programs that also focus on the social and economic issues in Germany and the United States; encouraging regular student and educator exchanges between schools; establishing telecommunication6linkages; and sharing information on vocational education, according to Robert Moore, an assistant superintendent of public instruction for Ohio.

Two Ohio school systems have already been linked to the German schools, and the program is "expanding [statewide] as of right now," Mr. Moore said.

He also indicated that the schools' educators have been and will continue to be sharing educational philosophies.

And, as far as the students are concerned, Mr. Moore said, "these kind of cultural exchanges help students to learn more about the world.''

In a decision that school officials said may stymie the growth of school districts in Mississippi cities, a federal court this month ruled that families in areas annexed by cities do not have to take their children out of the county school system.

School officials from the city and county systems would have to negotiate over tax revenues and student enrollments in newly incorporated areas, under the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the southern district of Mississippi. Superintendents said the decision could influence future enrollments and funding.

City school officials have also argued that the court should invalidate a 1986 act of the legislature to repeal a law that had allowed city school districts to claim annexed land. Officials said the law has never been approved by the U.S. Justice Department, which monitors how boundary changes affect minority voting power.

About 60 of the state's 151 school districts serve cities alone. School officials said they plan to appeal the decision.

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