News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Private Education Trust Reaches Settlement With Hawaii Over Alleged Mismanagement
A charitable trust for educating native Hawaiians has reached a settlement with the Hawaii attorney general's office over the state's contention that five ousted trustees should reimburse the estate for millions of dollars they allegedly mismanaged while in charge.
According to the settlement agreed to by the five interim trustees of the Kamehameha Schools, the estate's insurance company will pay $20.1 million. About $14 million of that will go to the trust, which operates private schools for native Hawaiian children, while the rest will cover legal costs.
The estate became the subject of investigations by the attorney general's office and the Internal Revenue Service three years ago. The trustees, who eventually resigned, were accused of abusing their power and mishandling money. The settlement does not affect criminal charges against two of the trustees that are working their way through the court system.
"The total cost of this controversy to Kamehameha Schools and all of the individuals and groups who have been affected by it may never be adequately measured," the attorney general's office and the trust said in a joint statement.
Calif. Requires Schools To Warn Parents of Pesticides
Gov. Gray Davis of California signed legislation last week that will require each of the state's 997 school districts to notify parents before pesticides are sprayed inside classrooms, on football fields, or anywhere else in and around schools.
The measure, part of a larger legislative package promoting healthy schools, is one of only a few laws in the country requiring such notification. Beyond the general warning to parents of all students, the law also allows parents whose children have chemical sensitivities to sign a registry so they are notified at least 72 hours before pesticides are applied.
A recent state report found that 87 percent of districts used pesticides that can cause cancer or birth defects. The law does not require schools to stop using such pesticides, though state leaders hope the law will encourage districts to consider nontoxic approaches to pest control.
"Kids shouldn't be exposed to dangerous and toxic materials when they go to school," Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for Gov. Davis, said last week. "This bill is another step forward to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for our children."
Vol. 20, Issue 5, Page 21