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D.C. School Board Members Decline Pay Raises

The District of Columbia school board voted last week to forgo a pending pay raise following criticism from residents and the local news media. Board members cited the district's financial woes in declining retroactive pay increases that would have boosted their base pay by about $3,400 per year.

At a special meeting, the board members rejected the cost-of-living increases and called on the city council to freeze salaries for the city's other elected officials. Several board members noted that they had not requested the pay increase.

Even without the pay increases, Washington's school board members remain among the highest-paid in the nation, earning $29,285 per year.

Student Athlete Killed

A senior baseball star at a high school in Mount Vernon, N.Y., was stabbed and killed during a hallway scuffle last week.

The fight began Oct. 24 when five boys confronted a 17-year-old junior, identified as Hopeton Minott, during a morning class change at Mount Vernon High School, police said. As a crowd formed, one of the boys produced a knife and cut the youth on the hand.

Mr. Minott wrested the knife away and, as the crowd scattered, gave chase. Shebule Jackson, 17, was stabbed three times in the neck, police said. He was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he later died, police said.

Police arrested Mr. Minott and charged him with second-degree murder. The suspect and a classmate had been readmitted to the Westchester County school that day, following an earlier expulsion for fighting.

Paddling Brings Charges

A Tennessee school administrator has been charged with assault in connection with the paddling of a 9-year-old boy last spring.

David Edmonds, the assistant principal at Oakland Elementary School in Fayette County, faces up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine if convicted on the misdemeanor charge. He is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 8.

In an affidavit, the boy's mother said her son had a large bruise on his buttock after Mr. Edmonds paddled him three times.

Tennessee law allows individual school boards to authorize corporal punishment in schools. Since the incident, however, the 4,700-student Fayette district has changed its policy and now allows paddling only in the principal's office.

Discrimination Settlement

A federal investigation has prompted Bismarck, N.D., school officials to change the way the district places Native American students in special-education classes.

The U.S. Education Department's office for civil rights found that Indian students were being placed in special education at twice the rate of other students.

When the investigation began a year ago, American Indians made up 3.8 percent of Bismarck's roughly 13,000 students and 8.4 percent of its special-education enrollment.

According to a recent agreement between the O.C.R. and the Bismarck officials, the district must devise exams that rule out cultural bias by Feb. 1. The tests the schools had been using were not deemed valid for Native American students.

District officials must also evaluate anew every Indian student who transfers from a special-education program in another district.

Left in Limbo

Hundreds of substitute teachers in Delaware County, Pa., are out of paychecks after a company that placed them in area schools folded last month.

Educational Placement Services Inc., in Media, Pa., owed the U.S. Internal Revenue Service over $300,000 in back taxes, Donna Hargrave, a spokeswoman for the i.r.s., said. No one answered the telephone last week at the company, and officials there could not be reached for comment.

Some teachers who were left in the lurch notified county investigators, who were looking into the complaints.

Under the Knife

New York City's board of education would be one of the departments hardest hit by an $800 million budget-cutting plan proposed last week by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. The plan would carve $190 million from the school system's current $7.7 billion budget.

The proposed cuts include letting go 504 assistant principals and lowering special-education costs by $23.9 million.

The cuts are part of Mr. Giuliani's efforts to close a $1.1 billion gap in the city's $31.6 billion budget. The budget cuts would affect virtually every city department.

Despite the city's fiscal problems, school officials quickly criticized Mr. Giuliani's proposals.

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