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New York school districts spend an average of $149,445 and 476 days each time they try to discipline a teacher, according to a survey released this month by the New York State School Boards Association.

Nearly three-fourths of New York's school districts participated in the survey; 306 disciplinary cases were reported. In cases that were decided by the three-person panel required by state law, suspended teachers' salaries and benefits accounted for more than half of the average cost.

To curb delays, the school boards' group is pushing legislation to replace the three-person panels with single arbitrators. Teachers' unions oppose the measure and blame school officials for the delays. "It's disingenuous that they say these hearings take too long without admitting their own culpability,'' said Linda Rosenblatt, a spokeswoman for the New York State United Teachers.

Bus Dealer Fined: A federal judge this month fined one of Michigan's largest school-bus dealers $1 million and said federal prosecutors did not go far enough in pursuing cases against the company and five others convicted of price fixing.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Enslen went beyond the $700,000 fine agreed to by lawyers in the case against Hoekstra Truck Equipment Company of Grand Rapids.

Prosecutors said they were not able to determine the extent of financial damages in the case, which involved big rigging between the early 1970's and 1988. Yet to be sentenced are C.R. Equipment Sales of Lansing, Great Lake Sales of Portage, McFadden Corporation of Grand Rapids, Ride Equipment Inc. of Holland, and Wolverine Transportation Inc. of Bloomfield Hills.

Graduation Exam Challenged: Ohio lawyers pursuing a Cleveland school-desegregation case have asked a federal judge to postpone the state's implementation of a high school graduation exam that this year would begin denying diplomas to students who cannot pass 9th-grade-level tests in reading, writing, mathematics, and citizenship.

The tests, which began four years ago, will not apply to seniors in private and parochial schools until 1999--a provision that the lawyers argue is unfair to public school students. They also contend that Ohio schools need to make improvements before holding students so accountable for their academic success.

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