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Ten percent of Missouri's 541 school districts could be bankrupt by next summer if the state is forced to take $35 million from school aid to fund court-ordered desegregation costs, education officials have told the state school board.

Officials have appealed a ruling, issued this summer by U.S. District Judge Russell Clark, that the state must pay an additional $71 million toward the cost of desegregating the Kansas City schools. (See Education Week, Sept. 25, 1991.)

But Gov. John Ashcroft has warned that, if the appeal is unsuccessful, he will take money from the state's elementary and secondary foundation-formula account to cover the new expenses. Such an action could force between 30 and 50 school districts into bankruptcy, officials told the board late last month.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed a complaint against the Carolina Biological Supply Company, one of the nation's largest suppliers of dissection specimens to public schools, alleging that the company violated federal laws by improperly euthanizing cats and embalming them alive.

In the complaint, which was filed late last month, Donald A. Tracy of the department's general counsel's office alleges that the cats were mistreated on a number of occasions between April and July of 1990.

The document also alleges that the company violated other provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act by failing to maintain adequate records and by failing to keep enclosures for small animals in compliance with regulations of the U.S.D.A.'S Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Copies of the complaint were widely disseminated to the media by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a Maryland-based animal-rights organization that conducted an "undercover investigation" of the company's practices. (See Education Week, Feb. 20, 1991 ,)

A PETA spokesman noted that the complaint was filed "just days" before an Oct. 2 press conference that marked the beginning of the group's nationwide anti-dissection campaign aimed at public schools. The group has dubbed that effort "Cut Out Dissection" Month.


Two members of the New York City Board of Education have filed a formal appeal against the district's controversial condom-distribution program.

The two board members, Irene Impellizzeri and Michael Petrides, are longtime opponents of the plan, which is slated to start this fall. Under the program, the most liberal of its kind in the country, high-school students will be able to request condoms from staff volunteers without parental permission.

Last month, the board rejected a proposal that would have allowed parents to exclude their children from the program. (See Education Week, Sept. 18, 1991 .)

The board members have asked the state's schools commissioner, Thomas Sobol, to rule against the program because it does not adequately promote sexual abstinence and violates the state's AIDS-education law.

In a related development, Cardinal John O'Connor of the Archdiocese of New York announced last month that an unnamed New York City law firm has offered free legal help to parents whose children may receive condoms without their permission.

Vol. 11, Issue 05, Page 3

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