District News Roundup

September 13, 1989 4 min read

The Cleveland school district will begin phasing in a voluntary career-ladder plan for teachers this fall, one year after a proposed mandatory ladder led to a teachers’ strike.

The teachers’ union and the district agreed on the new ladder after more than a year of negotiations, according to Timothy O. Giles, district chief of supportive services.

The district had proposed spending $2.5 million to begin the program, but the school board last month ordered Superintendent of Schools Alfred D. Tutela to find an extra $7.5 million to implement the program fully.

Under the plan, teachers can earn extra money based on their progress in meeting goals set forth during meetings with their principals at the beginning of the school year.

“It allows people to make some decisions about how they can contribute to improving the educational-delivery system,” Mr. Giles said. “They will have some input into how [progress] will be measured, and then we’ll compensate them for it.”

The four-rung career ladder will provide experienced teachers with the opportunity to earn up to $58,000 a year, while top-paid teachers who choose not to participate in the ladder will be paid $44,600.

Some parents at a Bryn Mawr, Pa., Catholic elementary school are angered by a requirement that they sell $100 raffle tickets to avoid a steep tuition increase.

The St. Thomas-Good Counsel School has asked parents with one child in the school to pay $700 in tuition, plus sell three $100 raffle tickets.

Parents who don’t participate will be charged $1,100 in tuition, which pays for the raffle tickets plus a $100 penalty. Families with more than one child in the school have been asked to take more raffle tickets. The raffle, the school’s major fund raiser, will be held next March.

The Rev. James E. Martinez, pastor of one of the two parishes that run the school, declined comment on reports that many parents were angry and were considering removing their children from the school.

In a letter to parents, quoted by The Philadelphia Inquirer, church officials said the advantage of the raffle plan is that it means participating parents will “have little, if any, increase in tuition.” Tuition for one child last year was $625.

A small Texas school district near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport has granted American Airlines a 15-year, $50-million property-tax abatement in exchange for construction of a maintenance facility that eventually will employ 4,500 workers.

In return for the abatement, Northwest Independent School District will receive over four years a $1.6 million gift from H. Ross Perot Jr., a spokesman for the district said.

Mr. Perot, son of the Texas billionaire, is the project’s developer. He also pledged to give the district, which enrolls 3,000 students, a 15-acre site for a new elementary school and to pay for a study into academic improvements in the school district.

Steadily increasing numbers of Hispanic and Asian students enrolling in the Providence, R.I., public schools have rendered the district’s 22-year-old desegregation plan obsolete, according to a new report commissioned by Joseph Almagno, the state superintendent.

Thirteen of the district’s 33 schools no longer meet state desegregation guidelines, which require the enrollment of minorities in individual schools to fall within 15 percentage points of the districtwide minority enrollment.

The report recommends that the superintendent begin devising a new plan, with broad community consultation, for implementation by September 1991.

A group of Asian high-school students in Philadelphia has charged that anti-Asian biases pervade that city’s public-school system.

“School officials see Asian students as being whiz kids,” Somara Tav, a high-school sophomore, told the Philadelphia school board during a meeting late last month. “We just wanted to point out that we do have problems in school, and one of our major problems is racism.”

Mr. Tav and another student, Gina Kim, interviewed fellow Asian students for a local community group, Asian-Americans United. They said students told them, for example, of teachers who used the term “chink” and other racial slurs when referring to Asian students.

They asked the school district to address the problem by hiring more Asian teachers and expanding lessons on the history and cultures of Asian nations.

District officials pledged to investigate the students’ allegations.

Police in Fort Worth, Tex., last week arrested a 12-year-old boy in connection with the stabbing death of a 24-year-old teacher found dead during her first day at work.

News accounts, which described the youth as being emotionally disturbed, quoted police sources as saying the boy may have killed teacher Jana Simpson after she confronted him on the grounds of Glen Park Elementary School.

Ms. Simpson, her body stabbed numerous times and her spinal cord severed, was found dead Aug. 28 outside a portable classroom building behind the school.

The youth, described as being half the size of the 5-foot, 9-inch, athletically built teacher, formerly attended the elementary school. He was arrested at the middle school he now attends, located five blocks away.

Reports said that police initially were searching for the boy as a potential witness, but that during questioning, he gave them statements about the murder. As of late last week, the youth had not been formally charged in the crime.