News Updates

May 24, 1989 3 min read

The Boston School Committee has approved plans for clinics providing a wide range of medical services--but not birth control--to students at two high schools.

The committee this month endorsed the clinics, which will open this fall if the state agrees to provide a requested $120,000 grant.

In 1987, the panel narrowly rejected plans for clinics that would have prescribed contraceptives to students. (See Education Week, March 18, 1987.)

Donald Sparks, a former transportation official for the Chicago Public Schools, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine for accepting bribes from two school-bus contractors.

U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur this month also sentenced Julius Polan, former owner of Northtown Bus Service Ltd., to an identical jail term and fined him $300,000 for offering bribes to Mr. Sparks.

Bernard Cohen, owner of the Student Transit Corporation, has pled guilty to attempted bribery in the case.

Key evidence in the investigation was obtained by Lois Kaltenbach, a school-board auditor, who worked for two years as an uncover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to document the bribery scheme. (See Education Week, March 8, 1989.)

The Birmingham, Ala., school board has unanimously approved a plan to close, consolidate, or restructure more than half of the city’s schools.

The reorganization was proposed by Superintendent of Schools Cleveland Hammonds Jr., who argued that the system needed to address “an unevenness of programs and quality” in the schools. (See Education Week, May 3, 1989.)

Minority opponents of Boston’s new “controlled choice” student-assignment plan have filed a motion in federal court to block its implementation.

The plan, approved by the Boston School Committee in February over the objections of its black members, would replace a mandatory busing plan ordered by the federal courts 15 years ago.

The motion filed in the district’s ongoing desegregation suit this month charges that the proposal does not do enough to guard against resegregating students by race.

Despite the challenge, the school department has been working to implement the initiative according to its original schedule, a district spokesman said last week. (See Education Week, March 8, 1989.)

The Atlanta board of education has approved a $500,000 program of incentives to encourage teachers to consult with parents in their homes.

The innovative program was proposed by D.F. Glover, president of the board, after panel members rejected several proposals for tying salary bonuses for teachers to improvements in student attendance and achievement.

District officials said the visitation plan would be designed to allay the fears of some teachers about visits to high-crime areas.

The $315-million budget approved this month also includes $1 million for the district’s effort to infuse African-American history and culture throughout the curriculum. (See Education Week, May 3, 1989.)

Many of the functions of the Little Rock, Ark., schools and two neighboring districts should be consolidated to promote desegregation, a court-appointed monitor has recommended.

In doing so, Aubrey McCutcheon dismissed as inadequate the districts’ separate proposals for desegregation within their own boundaries.

The recommendation, which will be considered by U.S. District Judge Henry Woods when he rules on the districts’ plans, could pose a serious obstacle for Little Rock’s effort to disband a controversial “controlled choice” plan and replace it with one that would provide significant extra resources to schools that remain predominantly black.

Mr. McCutcheon also urged Judge Woods to approve an agreement under which the state agreed earlier this year to pay $120 million to help defray the costs of desegregation incurred by the three districts over the next 10 years. (See Education Week, Oct. 19, 1988.)

The apple industry will voluntarily stop using Alar by this fall, the International Apple Institute said last week.

The group said it was “forcefully directing growers” not to use the chemical, which promotes crispness in apples.

Many school districts stopped serving apples in March, after an advocacy group said that Alar-treated fruit posed a significant health threat to young children. (See Education Week, March 22, 1989.)

A version of this article appeared in the May 24, 1989 edition of Education Week as News Updates