District News Roundup
A high-school principal in Atlanta has been replaced and a community school director fired in the wake of a school-board investigation into charges of illegal recruiting, transcript tampering, and the "brokering" of high-school basketball players to colleges.
The district has removed Charles Hawk Jr. from his job as principal of Southside Comprehensive High School and fired Willie Fussell from his position as principal of Southside's night school.
The personnel moves were described by John Elger, the chairman of the board's investigating committee, as only the first of "many substantial personnel and policy recommendations."
Mr. Hawk is still employed by the school system, pending further developments in the investigation, Mr. Elger said. Mr. Fussell is appealing his dismissal.
According to Mr. Elger, officials of the National Collegiate Athletic Association warned the school district last fall that its investigation of a former Southside student-athlete indicated that the school may have violated ncaa recruitment regulations.
The student, Wayne Buckingham, is now a freshman at Clemson University. Last December, the ncaa told the school that Mr. Buckingham could not play for one year because he had not met certain academic requirements in high school.
Allegations include that Southside had employed inappropriate recruiting practices, that a student's transcript had been altered, and that players may have been given credit for classes they did not attend.
There were also questions about the finances of a community-based booster club, whose director receives a salary from the school system, Mr. Elger said.
No disciplinary actions are expected against students, Mr. Elger said.
David Berst, the ncaa's executive director for enforcement, said he expects the investigation to continue "for some time," and he would not comment until the probe is completed.
A girls' basketball player has sued the Duncanville (Tex.) Independent School District in federal court, charging that its tradition of religious practices at sporting events violates the First Amendment.
The girl, named only as "Jane Doe" in the suit, is a member of the Duncanville High Pantherettes, according to her lawyer, Joseph Cook, executive director of the Dallas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The student has refused to kneel at center court with her teammates after games and to recite the Lord's Prayer, a tradition of the Pantherettes for more than 20 years. While the other players pray, the girl stands aside facing the spectators of the opposing team, Mr. Cook said.
In March, the aclu warned the district that it must stop the prayers or face a lawsuit. When it did not respond, Mr. Cook said, the suit was filed.
According to the suit, prayers are also said during trips to and from games and during pep rallies and award ceremonies. Religious songs are also sung by school personnel, the suit charges.
A Los Angeles elementary-school principal last week defeated a former teacher backed by United Teachers of Los Angeles for the seat on the Los Angeles school board being vacated by Rita Walters.
Semiofficial results in the runoff election showed that Barbara Boudreaux defeated Sterling Delone, who had most recently worked as a field representative for Jackie Goldberg, the board's outgoing president, by a narrow margin.
Ms. Boudreaux's candidacy was backed by Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, a far less powerful political force than u.t.l.a.
Ms. Walters, meanwhile, also appeared to have won a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. But Julie Korenstein, another school-board member who ran for a council seat, was defeated.
A school advisory committee in Santa Monica, Calif., inadvertently violated the state's open-meetings law when it used a private channel on a city-operated computer network to discuss school-board business, a city official has ruled.
City Attorney Robert M. Myers said the confusion arose because members of the Santa Monica High School Study Committee--which examines curriculum and enrollment issues, among other aspects of school life--were not aware that they were subject to the provisions of the state's Brown Act when they asked the city to establish a private computer link with a subcommittee and with the local school board.
"What occurred was that a particular committee had asked to have a closed conference to conduct its work," Mr. Myers said. "But under the open-meetings law, [the members] have to conduct [their] business in public."
The city's Public Electronic Network offers citizens and public officials a number of services, including electronic mail and bulletin boards in addition to the limited-access "conference" lines such as the one that generated the controversy.
Mr. Myers advised the committee, which had been holding its meetings in public, that it would have to find "other vehicles" to hold its internal discussions.
He added that the law does not cover internal school-system communications, such as discussions between administrators and principals, conducted over the system.
The Durham, N.C., school board has ordered an unprecedented furlough of 320 teachers and other staff members to offset a $333,000 budget deficit.
A state audit of the district, together with the district's own 1989-90 school-year audit, revealed a top-heavy administration and misuse of credit cards by maintenance workers and administrators, said Becky Heron, chairman of the county commissioners.
Last week, the county commissioners approved $217,000 in supplemental funds for the city schools with the condition that the county's finance officer control the money and that the city school board fire the personnel responsible for the financial abuses.
If the school board approves the conditions, furloughed staff could resume their duties immediately, Ms. Heron said.