City News Roundup
The United Teachers of Los Angeles approved a "reopeners" contract that will give the district's 31,000 teachers a 7-percent raise. An additional 1-percent raise, also included in the contract, is contingent on the outcome of three school-finance bills pending in the California legislature.
The 7-percent raise is about on par with salary increases gained by other unions across the country this year, according to a spokesman for the union, which is the second-largest teachers' local in the nation.
In addition to the salary increase, the teachers' contract includes several other clauses sought by the union, including one that gives female coaches of girls' athletic teams a salary supplement equal to that received by male coaches of boys' teams. Also, the contract includes a "return rights" clause for teachers who were displaced by school closings, enrollment changes, or other factors. Teachers who were forced to change schools now are first in line to fill vacancies at their old schools.
The satisfactory settlement does not eliminate other problems faced by the district, particularly those created by federal budget cuts. Los Angeles receives federal funds for numerous programs, particularly bilingual education programs and Title I programs for disadvantaged students. All lost approximately 20 percent of their federal money for this school year. The district also loses teachers' aides and other school personnel who were paid with Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (ceta) funds. Proposition 13, the California property tax limitation measure, also limits the district's funds.
But, union leaders point out, the school system will save millions of dollars that would have been spent on mandatory busing for desegregation, which was ended this year by a change in state law and by a subsequent state court order.
Considering all of these factors, a union spokesman says, the 7-percent increase is "not bad."
The first two years of busing in metropolitan Wilmington, Del., resulted in academic gains, but racial attitudes worsened, according to researchers at Michigan State University.
The study of the New Castle County School District, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and presented last week at the foundation's education conference, found that:
New Castle County students as a whole were 0.4 years ahead of the national average on standardized tests in 1978, the year busing started, and 0.8 years ahead of the average after the first year of busing.
Black elementary-school students were 0.4 years behind the national average before busing and 0.1 years ahead of the average after two years.
White elementary-school students were approximately a year ahead before busing and 2.4 years ahead after two years.
Junior-high students of both races gained 0.1 year on the national average, and black students remained substantially behind their white classmates. Blacks scored 1.6 years below the national average after busing, while whites scored 1.1 years ahead.
Racial attitudes worsened during the first year of busing and tended to be worst among older students. Black students showed the most positive racial attitudes; students from all-white neighborhoods were most negative.
The 55,000-student New Castle County district was formed in 1978 by the court-ordered merger and desegregation of the Wilmington city system and 10 suburban districts. Last summer, the county was divided into four independent school districts, each of which continues busing.
School officials in the county declined to comment on the report because they had not yet read it.
One member of the Boston School Committee was found innocent last week of charges that he accepted a bribe from a transportation firm that does business with the school system.
A jury in U.S. District Court acquit3ted John J. McDonough of charges that he had accepted $5,000 from ara Services Inc. in return for his vote to award the firm a $40-million busing contract.
But another committee member has been implicated in the bribery scheme that already has sent two people to jail.
One of those already convicted, former school committee member Gerald F. O'Leary, testified that he delivered money to Mr. McDonough and to Elvira Pixie Palladino, also a member of the school committee.
Ms. Palladino, who is seeking re-election to the school committee, has denied that she received any payment. No charges have been brought against her, according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.
Mr. McDonough, also a candidate for re-election to the school committee, finished ninth of 10 candidates in the preliminary elections last month. But in light of his acquittal, there is some speculation that Boston voters' customary support for the underdog could help his bid for a seventh term.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers last week was fined $10,000 per day for contempt of court as striking teachers continued to defy a judge's back-to-work order.
Common Pleas Court Judge Edward J. Bradley fined the union for failing to return to their jobs and to observe court-ordered limits on picketing. Judge Bradley and Judge Harry A. Takiff ruled earlier this month that the strike was illegal because the teachers were under contract.
Nearly 20 teachers had been arrested by Wednesday, adding to the few dozen already arrested during the lengthy strike.
The 22,000-member union has been on strike since Sept. 8, contending that the contract signed last year was violated when the school board laid off 3,500 employees and rescinded a scheduled 10-percent pay raise.
By last Wednesday, the school district had opened 178 elementary schools for fourth-graders, and some 1,400 teachers and other employees had reported to work. Approximately 11,000 students were attending classes by mid-week, out of a total enrollment of 213,000.
Ruth B. Love's successor as superintendent of schools in Oakland has been named after a seven-month search.
J. David Bowick, a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles system, was named this month to a four-year term as superintendent of California's fifth-largest school district. He will take office on Nov. 16.
"Children have the ability and the capacity to learn and their lives should be enriched through the educational experience," said Mr. Bowick, now a deputy area superintendent in the Los Angeles district. "Therefore our school district should be child-oriented, or, if you will, child-centered."
In Los Angeles, Mr. Bowick has served as principal of an elementary school, a junior high, and a senior high--an unusual accomplishment for school administrators.
For the past year, he has been second in command for Area Three of the Los Angeles school district--an area that, like the Oakland district, has a large minority-student population.
"This district's going up," Mr. Bowick said upon his appointment. ''It's the only way to go. I did not come here to bring this district down."
Vol. 01, Issue 07