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Highering and Firing

George Critz, the principal of Adair County High School, has come up with a novel athletic application of Kentucky's 1990 school-reform law.

This fall, Superintendent Al Sullivan told the school's longtime basketball coach, Assistant Principal Keith Young, that he would not be allowed to coach this year. Mr. Sullivan cited a host of infractions, such as allowing someone other than a team member or coach to sit on the bench during the state tournament.

This decision did not please Mr. Critz, and the principal claimed that his powers under the state's site-based-management law give him the authority to rehire Mr. Young as head coach. Suddenly back on defense, Mr. Sullivan said he has the power to block a hiring decision.

The Adair County Circuit Court will serve as referee in the case. Mr. Young asked a judge last week to send him back to the coach's bench while the case is decided.

"The way we've got the law set up, the principal could hire him every day and the superintendent could fire him every day," said Jim Parks, a spokesman for the state education department.

Beeper Blues

Texans who carry beepers may soon be receiving a panicky message from their local cellular-service providers: "Your fees are about to go up. A lot. And schools are to blame."

According to industry spokesmen, a new state law that requires telecommunications firms to contribute to a $150 million fund to help wire schools, hospitals, and other public institutions for the information age could drive many digital-paging companies in the Lone Star State into bankruptcy and cause the survivors to raise their rates significantly.

The law requires telephone companies and long-distance carriers to pony up half the $150 million and cellular-phone and paging companies to contribute the rest. (See Education Week, Aug. 2, 1995.)

But Texas cellular companies claim that the law demands too large a share of their annual revenues of roughly $420 million--especially when the state's telephone companies earn roughly $8.2 billion annually.

Paging-industry officials claim they didn't know the law applied to them until after it was signed into law this summer. Educators have previously acknowledged that they intentionally kept a low profile while guiding the measure through the legislature.

--Lonnie Harp & Peter West

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