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The Milwaukee school board has approved a plan to decentralize school administration, lower the city's property-tax rate, and freeze staff pay.

The board voted 7 to 1 last month to approve, largely intact, the budget proposed by Superintendent of Schools Howard L. Fuller. (See Education Week, June 3, 1992.)

Under Mr. Fuller's plan, principals gain the authority to do their own budgeting, and elementary schools receive a large boost in funding.

The pay freezes are likely to generate resistance from teachers' and administrators' unions, but Mr. Fuller has argued that the district must show fiscal restraint if it is to win taxpayer support in November for a $338-million bond referendum for new schools.

Anticipating yet another lean fiscal year, the board of education for the Los Angeles Unified School District has trimmed $400 million from its 1992-93 budget.

District officials warned that they may need to cut up to $200 million more from the budget later this summer if Gov. Pete Wilson carries out his plans to reduce state funding for education by $2.3 billion. (See Education Week, June 3, 1992.)

As unanimously approved by the district's board at its meeting in late June, the $3.8-billion budget for the new fiscal year calls for a $247-million cut in employee compensation, a reduction that has yet to be negotiated with the unions involved.

The new budget also calls for the elimination of about 340 credentialed teaching and administrative jobs and about 640 non-teaching jobs. It maintains funding for school-integration programs.

District officials have blamed the budget deficits on rising operational costs, reductions in state funding, and drops in revenue from other sources caused by the recession.

Representatives from the Texas counties that border on Mexico that have successfully challenged the state's system for funding higher education have offered to settle their suit.

Under a 10-year plan announced last month, the state would increase academic programs at all levels in the border region; enhance libraries, laboratories, and physical plants; and boost scholarships, research opportunities, and student services.

It would cost an estimated $2 billion to upgrade the eight universities in the region.

Ruling in LULAC v. Richards, Cameron County District Judge Benjamin Euresti earlier this year found that the system of funding higher education is unconstitutional and unfairly discriminates against the largely Mexican-American population of the 41-county border region, where 20 percent of the state's population resides. (See Education Week, Dec. 4, 1991.)

The plan was offered by the border communities in an effort to head off a possible appeal by the state to the state supreme court.

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