District News Roundup

January 17, 1990 4 min read

A Los Angeles woman has filed a lawsuit charging that the city has imposed “unreasonable and illegal conditions” on child-care services provided in family homes.

Aileen J. Halliday, who has been operating a child-care center in her home for about a dozen children aged 8 weeks to 2 years, contends the city overstepped its bounds when it imposed a set of restrictions on her center.

Following a noise complaint by neighbors, city officials launched a series of investigations and imposed several conditions on her permit. Ms. Halliday was required, among other things, to open the center later in the morning, restrict the children’s outdoor-play hours, and install a fence around the property.

Benjamin Reznik, Ms. Halliday’s lawyer, said the “onerous” process the city used to regulate her home, as well as the kinds of restrictions it imposed, violated state law. The lawsuit faults the city for allegedly failing to enact procedures for day-care regulation in accordance with state law.

Los Angeles Deputy Attorney Jeri Burge said last week that city officials were reviewing the details of Ms. Halliday’s case, but she noted that the city council is scheduled to consider an ordinance establishing one of the regulatory options laid out in state law.

“We can live with” the proposed ordinance, which would ease the process for obtaining a center permit and allow the “burden to shift to objecting neighbors if they think it doesn’t belong there,” Mr. Reznik said.

“We’re going to give them a chance to pass it” before setting a hearing date, he said.

The ordinance would still allow the city to apply local restrictions aimed at “abatement of nuisances,” Ms. Burge said, provided they do not exceed the penalties for other single-family dwellings.

A $6-million scholarship fund has been established for graduates of Winona (Minn.) Cotter High School by five businessmen who say they want students to realize more of their potential.

The businessmen are also giving $2 million for an indoor athletic facility at the 200-student Roman Catholic school in southeastern Minnesota. A year ago, the businessmen gave $5 million for teacher salaries and other school expenses.

The scholarship fund could benefit all current and future Cotter graduates by providing money for part or all of their college expenses. This year’s 39 seniors will share about $50,000, but later classes will share some $125,000 a year.

School officials in a suburb of Boston have decided to close an elementary school following complaints from teachers and parents about the presence of carcinogenic chemicals in the air.

The Needham School Committee voted last week to close the 450-student Hillside Elementary School until next fall. The school is expected to be empty by the begin6ning of next month, school officials said.

The vote came after parents, teachers, and students expressed concerns about the presence of trichloroetylene (tce) in the school’s air. The chemical, which can damage skin and has caused cancer in laboratory animals, apparently traveled downhill to the school in drainage from a nearby industrial park.

According to Frederick Tirrell, Needham superintendent of schools, the school is being closed “not because it is environmentally unsafe,” but because “its educational environment has been compromised.”

Mr. Tirrell said several teachers and students had requested transfers from the school since results of an environmental test were announced last August. The test, performed in May 1988, showed traces of tce in parts of the school, but environmental experts said the levels were not dangerous.

The students will be transferred to classrooms in the town’s high school and other elementary schools. Individual classes will remain intact, a spokesman said.

The New Jersey State Board of Education last month appointed a 15-member advisory board for the state-operated Jersey City school system.

Thirteen of the board members were chosen by the state board’s assistant commissioner for county and regional services, and two were appointed by the City Council.

Included on the board of community representatives--most of whom have children enrolled in district schools--are a librarian, an investment banker, a nurse, and a priest.

Some are in education-related fields in other districts. Most are members of the city’s school-parent council, as well as other community groups.

The board will serve only in an advisory capacity, meeting once a month with Elena Scambio, the newly appointed superintendent, and issuing a report on the district’s progress twice a year.

In 1992, the community will elect a nine-member school board if state officials determine that the school system has met certification standards.

In October, the Jersey City district became the first to be taken over by the state under a 1988 intervention law.

A version of this article appeared in the January 17, 1990 edition of Education Week as District News Roundup