News Updates

March 07, 1984 4 min read

In the seven-week-old strike by teachers in the Sauk Rapids (Minn.) School District, some students have returned to schools staffed by substitute teachers.

District officials have hired 85 substitute teachers at approximately $125 a day to teach students in the district’s elementary and senior high schools.

Students in grades 6 through 10 have not yet returned to school, according to Superintendent Bill Fure. He explained that finding substitutes for the elementary grades is easier than finding teachers for the high-school grades. But providing classes for high-school students was a priority because of graduation requirements, he said.

In the last remaining teachers’ strike in the state this school year, the district’s 124 teachers are seeking increased salaries and improved insurance benefits.

In addition, the teachers are unwilling to work five extra days without additional pay, and have said a proposal by the board to add a sixth teaching period would reduce the quality of education and increase the amount of preparation time needed.

Twenty-two negotiating sessions between the Sauk Rapids Education Association and the board of education have failed to produce a settlement.

The Alabama Board of Education last week voted 7 to 2 to approve a 47-item reform package. The measures range from mandatory parent-teacher conferences to higher graduation standards.

The resolutions were drawn from a “plan for excellence” prepared by Wayne Teague, state superintendent of education.

Also last week, Gov. George Wallace called for support for his education tax package.

The Governor had requested a 6-mill property-tax increase, with half of the revenue going to education, and a 1 percent income tax increase. Last week, however, a legislative committee approved a revised proposal that would allocate only one mill to education, resulting in a $24-million cutback in the proposed increase.

Mr. Teague has said the state will not be able to pay for the reforms with that level of funding.

Those taxes require legislative and voter approval.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association has approved several restrictions on the scheduling of athletic events.

The association, at the request of State Superintendent Wayne Teague, agreed to eliminate junior-high-school playoffs and reduce the regular season from 10 games to eight.

The association also voted to bar athletes from participating in more than one event weekly on a school night.

The new regulations also seek to cut travel time by requiring schools to schedule competition with other schools in the same class within a five-mile radius of the school before going outside that circle.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association and three other public-employee unions last week approved a tentative settlement that was reached by negotiators half an hour before the coalition of unions was scheduled to go on strike.

Among the provisions included in the settlement, are a 5-percent increase in wages over the next 15 months, an increase in their employers’ contribution to medical insurance, and an agreement to approach the legislature to amend the state’s collective-bargaining law to make medical insurance negotiable, according to Henry Epstein, a public-relations official with the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

The 9,100 members of the teachers’ association had been involved in collective bargaining for 16 months.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has agreed to take over the operations of the Clairton School District, state education officials announced last month.

The district’s $5.1-million budget was operating about $1.36 million in the red when it asked the state to take over its operations last October. (See Education Week, Oct. 12, 1983.) The deficit occurred because the local board of education refused to approve a loan to balance the bud-get, according to Hyman Haffner, the district’s superintendent.

Pennsylvania last took over the operation of a district in 1975, when the former General Braddock School District near Pittsburgh failed to implement court-ordered desegregation.

The Alameda County school district, which had to issue iou’s instead of paychecks to workers last month amid confusion over the status of its $17-million budget, has moved a step closer to receiving an emergency $5.5-million emergency loan from the state. The California Senate approved its request for a loan late last month.

A different version of the loan bill was approved by the state Assembly, and a negotiating committee was scheduled to meet last week to work out a compromise, which would be likely to require repayment plus interest within five years.

The Senate bill orders the state auditor to evaluate the county’s education office and report its findings to the legislature.

County Superintendent Robert C. Coney has maintained that deficits in state reimbursements for busing 300 handicapped students--as well as the state’s policy for paying busing costs a year after the costs are incurred--has created a “cash-flow problem,” amounting to a $6.2-million budget shortfall by last June.

A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 1984 edition of Education Week as News Updates