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Special Delivery

The postal workers at Regina Elementary School in Iowa City, Iowa, are predicting no delays in service as the busy holiday season approaches.

The 3rd-grade staff at the Regal Writers' Post Office is up to the challenge.

The school's post office has become increasingly popular, with the daily volume of mail recently jumping twofold, to 94 pieces.

"Initially, you have no idea how big an idea will become," said Celeste Kleinmeyer, a 3rd-grade teacher who helped start the program.

Twelve students, supervised by adult volunteers, run the post office, which was created four years ago to encourage student writing and introduce students to the work world.

Most of the mail delivered every Tuesday and Thursday is sent by Regina's 500 students, who use stickers and drawings as stamps. Some students' relatives also send mail to the school.

As part of the literary theme, the school is divided into two "cities"--Book Land and Tale Town--and classrooms are named after authors.

A new group of students takes over the operation every five weeks. This year, all 75 of the school's 3rd graders will be sworn in as postal employees. They fill out applications and are interviewed before being hired as a postmaster, carrier, or sorter.

"Kids like it because it's like real life," said Celeste Cook, the school's assistant principal.

Pay Phones

The convenience of cellular telephones may have been just a little too convenient for Kansas City, Mo., school administrators.

The district has taken away cellular phones from about 110 administrators after phone records showed that some of them were not paying for personal calls.

Abuse of the district's honor system for reimbursement was not widespread, said Larry Ramsey, the city's acting superintendent. But at least one administrator had to make good on about $800 worth of calls.

Phones will be reissued to only about 20 district workers with a demonstrated need. Those administrators will be billed at home and have to apply to the district for reimbursement.

This new plan should help the district put back in the bottle the expensive technological genie unleashed when a cellular company first lent the phones to the district in 1992. "I think people got too used to them," Mr. Ramsey said.

--Robert C. Johnston & Drew Lindsay

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