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Arizona schools must obtain written parental consent before spanking students, the state board of education ruled after a public hearing last month.

Last year, Attorney General Grant Woods told the board that it had exceeded its authority by banning corporal punishment in schools for children under age 16.

By a 7-to-1 vote, the board last month agreed to amend the guidelines governing the use of corporal punishment.

Under the new rule, parents must be notified both before and after the paddling. Punishment can only be administered by educators designated by the local school board, and two adult employees of the school must witness the spanking. Every instance of spanking must be documented.

Opponents contended that the delay between obtaining permission and administering the punishment would make the paddling ineffective, and charged that the change amounts to another virtual ban on corporal punishment.

Superintendent of Public Instruction C. Diane Bishop endorsed the measure, saying that the rule now puts the decision of whether students should be spanked in the hands of the parents, where it belongs.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied a single mother's bid to receive unemployment compensation after she quit her job because her work schedule caused child-care problems.

Concurring with the state's commissioner of jobs and training, the appeals court agreed that Debra Verdon was ineligible for compensation because she willfully quit her job, without coercion from her employer.

Ms. Verdon, who originally worked 10 to 14 hours a day on three or four days a week for the Control Data Corporation, said that her employer changed her schedule to five days a week without proper notice.

Her lawyer, Peter Grills, said that his client probably will appeal the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Michigan Department of Education annually pays out $20 million in state aid to ineligible school districts, according to the state's auditor general.

Thomas McTavish said in a report issued late last month that between 1987 and 1992 the state education department paid $100 million to districts that should not have qualified for state school aid.

Mr. McTavish blamed the overpayments on the department's lack of internal auditors to double-check the pupil enrollment figures submitted by districts.

Some districts have been substantially overestimating the enrollment figures that the state uses in determining school aid, the auditor general's report said.

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