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The Montgomery County (Md.) State's Attorney's Office has dropped first-degree rape charges against the teenage son of the county schools superintendent and four of the youngster's friends.

The decision, announced late last month, cleared Superintendent Paul Vance's 16-year-old son, Paul Vance Jr., of two felony rape counts. The younger Mr. Vance and the four other youths, all ages 15 to 19, were charged after two 14-year-old girls said they were assaulted in two separate incidents in August and September, one of which was said to have taken place at the Vance home. (See Education Week, Nov. 10, 1993.)

All but one of the young men, a 19-year-old, are students at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown.

"Information was brought to light subsequent to the charges being placed by the police that led us to conclude that we didn't have a case that we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt,'' Thomas Tamm, an assistant state attorney, said last week.

The accounts of the alleged rapes by several witnesses contradicted the testimony of the alleged victims, Mr. Tamm said.

Sharing the Wealth: Texas school officials report that all but one of the state's 98 wealthiest school districts have found a way to share a portion of their property value with poorer districts, thereby complying with the state's new school-finance law.

The law is meant to reduce the disparity between wealthy and poor schools. (See Education Week, May 26, 1993.)

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