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A Pennsylvania panel has backed a bill that allows the expulsion for the rest of the school year of students who bring weapons to public school.

Such offenses are already violations of the state criminal code.

The measure, approved by the House Education Committee last month, also covers students who carry weapons on public transportation on their way to school.

The measure would not apply to students who possess weapons lawfully, such as in conjunction with a supervised school activity.

The bill would cover firearms, knives, cutting instruments, tools, and other weapons.

"We want to send a clear message that you're not allowed to bring weapons to school,'' said Rep. Ronald R. Cowell, the chairman of the panel.

"This is one piece of a much larger effort to make schools a safe place for kids,'' he said.

Mr. Cowell described recent violent incidents in the state's schools as a "major motivation'' for action on the bill. In May, a teenager allegedly shot and killed another student in a high school biology class in Montgomery County.

Supporters of tuition vouchers for private school students do not have the standing to intervene in a challenge to the equity of Kansas' school-finance formula, a state court has ruled.

The Court of Appeals last month refused to allow John J. McDonough and his daughter, Mary A. Gomez, to use lawsuits challenging the state's recently adopted spending formula to argue that the state should provide education funding directly to parents.

The plaintiffs had hoped to argue that the finance formula--which is the target of four consolidated lawsuits filed by 17 school districts--unfairly places a dual financial burden on parents who sent their children to private schools.

Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. of Connecticut announced last week that he will not seek re-election next year.

Mr. Weicker, a former Republican U.S. senator, was elected Governor as an independent in 1990.

Governor Weicker in 1991 waged and won a politically unpopular campaign to create a state income tax. This year, he proposed an unprecedented statewide attempt to alleviate racial segregation in the public schools, which was adopted in a scaled-down form by the legislature. (See Education Week, Feb. 3, 1993.)

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