News Update

March 21, 1984 1 min read

Following the release of a state audit that criticized his handling of the district’s budget crisis, Robert C. Coney, superintendent of the Alameda County (Calif.) public schools, has announced he will resign from his post at the end of the school year.

Mr. Coney, who was first elected county superintendent in 1978 and took office in January 1979, said his decision was prompted in part by a state auditor’s findings that he “intentionally and significantly” distorted the budget figures, forcing the district to issue iou’s instead of paychecks to school workers. (See Education Week, Feb. 15, 1984.)

The state auditor, according to Mr. Coney, “reacted in horror” to budget decisions made by the district that caused a “cash-flow problem.”

Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelly said earlier this month that the State Board of Education’s decision to disassociate itself from the brief the state filed in the Grand Rapids “shared time” case before the U.S. Supreme Court will have no impact on the outcome of the lawsuit.

The Court agreed to hear the case, Grand Rapids v. Bell, late last month. (See Education Week, March 7, 1984.) At issue in the lawsuit is the city school district’s practice of paying a nominal fee to lease private-school classrooms. Public-school teachers then offer nonreligious courses to the schools’ students, who are listed as part-time public-school students.

On March 7, the state board voted to reject the state’s brief in the case, saying that the shared-time practice violates state and federal constitutional provisions regarding the separation of church and state.

In a letter to the board, Mr. Kelly replied that the practice was specifically approved by the state legislature and has been upheld in state courts.

A version of this article appeared in the March 21, 1984 edition of Education Week as News Update