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Okla. District Employeses Must Sue for Back Pay

Some 140 employees of an Oklahoma school district that suffered a $1.2 million budget shortfall must sue to receive back pay, a court has ruled. A series of budgeting mistakes left the Bartlesville district unexpectedly in the red for the 1994-95 school year. (See Education Week, Aug. 2, 1995.)

A state judge last month divided into two groups those whom the district owes money, according to a district spokesman. If the school board had appropriated money to pay an employee or vendor by last Feb. 17, those people will be paid out of a special levy on district taxpayers. Others owed money must sue the district to get paid--or appeal the court decision.

The February date is an estimate of when the district ran out of money.

K.C. Search Continues

The struggle to hire a Kansas City, Mo., superintendent continues, as the school board has failed to reach an agreement with its leading candidate, John A. Murphy. (See Education Week, Sept. 27, 1995.)

According to Shelley McThomas-Jackson, a district spokeswoman, the school board made an offer last month but was unable to reach agreement on the terms with Mr. Murphy, the superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., district.

The local teachers' union has called on the district to postpone the search until later in the year, Ms. McThomas-Jackson said. And a coalition of black community leaders has asked the board to respond to its concerns about the search procedures.

The district has been searching for a superintendent since the former chief, Walter L. Marks, was fired in April.

Desegregation Case Heard

The Connecticut Supreme Court has begun deliberations in a school-desegregation case filed against the state by Hartford parents. (See Education Week, April 19, 1995.)

As the court began hearing oral arguments late last month, some justices asked whether the state may have contributed to Hartford's segregation by passing a 1909 law calling for school district borders to correspond with town boundaries.

The plaintiffs have said the state's constitution outlaws all school segregation, regardless of its cause. The state has disputed this interpretation.

Last spring, a lower-court judge said the state bears no blame for the racial isolation of the Hartford district and thus is not responsible for remedying the problem.

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