District News Roundup
Drop in White Enrollment Blamed on High Court Decision
Kansas City, Mo., school officials have blamed a sharp drop in the district's white enrollment on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The high court ruling forced the district to scale back its ambitious magnet school programs earlier this year. (See Education Week, June 21, 1995.)
The number of white students enrolled in Kansas City schools has dropped by more than 8 percent, to about 8,200, since last year, even though total enrollment rose slightly. White children make up about 22 percent of the 37,200 students enrolled this fall, down from 24 percent last year.
The drop in white student enrollment was the most severe since 1985, when the district began the nation's most expensive desegregation plan.
Overspending Probe Requested
A Virginia panel of judges has been asked to convene a special grand jury to examine why the Virginia Beach school district ended last fiscal year $12.1 million in the red.
Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Robert J. Humphreys said this month the probe into possible wrongdoing by district officials was necessary to explain why an audit turned up millions of dollars in excess spending in the 76,000-student district, which had a total budget of $360 million.
"Spending just wasn't controlled. They were moving the money around like a shell game," Mr. Humphreys said last week. But there was no evidence of embezzlement, he said.
An aide to Sidney Faucette, who was the district's superintendent last year and is now the chief of the Gwinnett County, Ga., schools, said Mr. Faucette acted based on information his budget officers had given him.
The judges are scheduled to decide within a few weeks whether to appoint a special grand jury.
Teacher and Student Slain
A 17-year-old student at a school near Lynnville, Tenn., was charged last week with fatally shooting a teacher and a fellow student and with wounding another teacher, authorities said.
Police said Carolyn Foster, a teacher, and Diane Collins, 14, a student at the Richland School, a K-12 regional public school in Charles County, were killed when the student opened fire before classes started on Nov. 15. A second teacher wounded by the gunfire was taken to a hospital in Nashville, about 50 miles away.
The suspect was charged with 1st-degree murder, felony murder, and attempted murder, authorities said. A second youth was also arrested late last week and charged in connection with the shootings.
A Mississippi 17-year-old was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with five years suspended, last week for the slaying of a classmate at her high school in April.
Marsha Mayfield pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this month in Marshall County Circuit Court. Ms. Mayfield fatally stabbed a fellow Holly Springs High School student, Shelisa Hunt, 17, in the heart with a pocketknife. The incident took place in the front of a classroom while classes were changing. Ms. Hunt died the following day.
An altercation between the girls apparently arose from a quarrel about a young man the preceding week, according to local investigators.
No Private Nurse
A Tennessee school district does not have to provide a full-time nurse for a 7-year-old student with a life-threatening respiratory disease, a federal court of appeals has ruled.
The court ruled last month that the student needed medical services, which school districts are not required to provide under federal disability law. The decision overturned a lower court's ruling that the Rutherford County school district had to hire a nurse to monitor the condition of the girl, who can only breathe through a tube surgically inserted into her throat.
The student's parents reportedly have not decided whether to appeal the court's ruling.