States News Roundup
Schools in Texas will miss out on millions of dollars intended to help bring them into the information age, under a recent court decision.
The state's cellular-telephone industry can contribute less than regular phone companies to a public fund that provides technology grants to schools, a state district judge in Austin ruled last month.
The 1995 law would have required the two industries to pay $150 million annually for the next decade into the fund. Cellular companies filed suit, arguing that contributing $75 million annually placed an undue burden on them.
The wireless industry, the judge agreed, has smaller revenues than the phone companies. The ruling allows the wireless industry to contribute only $20 million a year to the fund, while phone companies must give $75 million.
Legal Help for Students
West Virginia students facing expulsion can now receive free legal aid if they cannot afford it themselves.
Lawyers will be made available to indigent students as part of a statewide program that offers pro bono legal services to poor clients, said Tom Tinder, the executive director of the West Virginia State Bar.
Under the state's new "zero tolerance" law, students who bring a weapon to school, assault a school employee, or are caught selling certain drugs on campus are expelled for one year. Accused students, however, can present their cases before the school board for a hearing.
Crackdown on 'Redshirting'
The increasing number of Louisiana 8th graders being held back one year, primarily to bulk up for high school sports teams, has prompted the state school board to investigate.
The practice, known as "redshirting," is a problem throughout the state, Jack E. White, the president of the Ouachita Parish school board in Monroe, La., said in a recent letter to the board. "Parents feel their children, many of them honor students, are being pressured by coaches and peers" to stay in 8th grade an extra year before entering high school. "Teachers are worried about their classes being disrupted by bored students who passed the subject the previous year," Mr. White wrote.
The state board asked Mr. White to present his concerns at last month's meeting.