Districts News

January 10, 1990 5 min read

A federal judge has granted a temporary injunction barring the Cleveland school board from considering a motion to fire or suspend its embattled superintendent, Alfred D. Tutela.

Mr. Tutela sought the order from U.S. District Judge Frank Battisti, who oversees the district’s long-running desegregation case and who appointed Mr. Tutela as part of his order in the case, after several board members said publicly that they would seek to oust the superintendent.

The superintendent’s relationship with his board deteriorated steadily last year during a heated school-board race. On Nov. 7, Election Day, Mr. Tutela filed a lawsuit against four board members charging that their support of a resolution barring him from participating in the campaign violated his free-speech rights.

In his ruling, Judge Battisti said that board members were apparently seeking to fire Mr. Tutela in retaliation for his lawsuit against them, and that dismissing the superintendent would constitute a violation of his rights of free speech and access to the courts.

A federal court is expected to decide this spring whether public-school officials in Stafford County, Va., must pay for an interpreter for a deaf boy who attends a Christian school.

The parents of 12-year-old Matthew Goodall filed a lawsuit in U.S. District6Court in Alexandria late last year. They contend that federal special-education law requires school officials to continue to provide their son with interpretive services even though the boy left the public-school system in 1988 to attend the Fredericksburg Christian School.

Scott Cairns, a lawyer for the school system, said state law forbids school officials from serving students in religious schools. The Virginia State School Boards Association is expected to file a brief in support of the school system in the case.

Members of the Boston Teachers’ Union will vote this week on whether to hold a two-day strike later this month to protest the city’s inability to pay for the teachers’ contract.

On Dec. 14, teachers and other school employees staged a one-day walkout that forced Superintendent of Schools Laval S. Wilson to close the schools.

The union’s executive committee has recommended striking again on Jan. 25 and 26, according to Edward J. Doherty, the union’s president. Members will vote Jan. 10 on whether to do so.

In early December, the City Council declined Mayor Raymond L. Flynn’s request to provide funds for the first year of the three-year contract, which calls for site-based management and other educational reforms.

The union and city administration are now deadlocked over whether the contract, which was settled in May, must be renegotiated.

Teachers in Terrebonne Parish in Houma, La., returned to work last week after a 42-day strike, the longest in the state’s history.

The teachers, who began the strike Oct. 18, had unsuccessfully sought collective-bargaining rights.

Instead, a committee of teachers, administrators, parents, and support personnel will be formed to bring concerns about instructional issues and personnel matters to the school board’s attention, according to L.P. Bordlon, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The district’s 21,000 students remained in school during the strike, as did 38 percent of its teachers, Mr. Bordlon said. Some parents worked as substitutes during the strike.

Los Angeles teachers have voted to charge nonunion members for the services they receive from United Teachers of Los Angeles.

In a Dec. 13 election, 14,632 out of the

21,641 teachers who voted were in favor of instituting “agency fee” dues; 34,000 teachers were eligible to cast ballots.

Frances Haywood, vice president of the union, said the dues for nonmembers have not yet been determined. In other California districts with such arrangements, nonunion members pay approximately 85 percent of members’ dues, according to the u.t.l.a.

The New York City Board of Education has voted to designate the Manhattan Comprehensive Night High School as a degree-granting institution, making it possible for students to complete all requirements for a high-school diplomaregular school hours.

The new high school, which began accepting students in February 1989, is geared toward students who hold full-time jobs or who are otherwise unable to attend school during the day, according to a spokesman for the board. Classes are held from 5 to 11 P.M. on Monday through Thursday, with various cultural activities offered on Sundays.

The recent board action clears the way for the school to seek certification from the state. While other high schools in the city offer night courses, the new high school will be the first such diploma-granting school in recent times, according to the spokesman.

The Prince George’s County (Md.) Board of Education voted last month to use a lottery system to fill open seats in its magnet schools beginning this spring, ending an annual ritual during which many parents camped outside the registration site in an attempt to secure spaces for their children.

The “first-come, first-served” system was believed to discriminate against single and working parents and others who were unable to devote up to a full week to wait in line, school officials said.

Spaces in the district’s popular magnet-school programs have become increasingly scarce as the district nears complete implementation of a desegregation plan that doesn’t include the opening of any new magnet schools.

Last year, the district received 5,000 applications for 1,200 available spaces in its magnet schools, district officials said. The recent board action follows a move last year to fill 30 percent of the available magnet-school seats with a random lottery.

The Westinghouse Science Talent Search, the nation’s most celebrated high-school science contest, has decided to admit entries from New York ‘s Stuyvesant High School even though they were received after the deadline.

Contest officials originally had disqualified the late-arriving entries from the 90 seniors. They reversed their decision after the overnight mail service involved admitted it was to blame.

Seniors at the 2,600-student school regularly place high in the contest, which awards scholarhips of up to $20,000 to 40 winners. Last year, 26 of the 300 contest semifinalists were students at the school.

A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 1990 edition of Education Week as Districts News