Cities News Roundup
Los Angeles school officials are considering disciplinary action against 87 school employees who allegedly submitted false college credits in order to obtain salary increases.
An official of the school system, who asked that he not be named, said that if an investigation by a five-member committee substantiates the allegations on a case-by-case basis, the Los Angeles school board will likely dismiss the 84 teachers and three principals implicated in the scheme.
Publicly, Superintendent Harry Handler has said that he is reviewing a number of punitive measures, including demotions, the cancellation of salary increases, and the filing of claims to recover the pay increases won through the false courses.
The Los Angeles District Attorney's office initiated the investigation into the phony courses--all of which were offered over the past 10 years through extension programs at two small schools, California Lutheran College and Ottawa University in Kansas--and will decide whether to bring fraud charges against the employees.
The school official said that the system may start dismissal procedings against the employees even if the district attorney's office does not press criminal charges.
A federal appellate court has found the state of Ohio liable for past racial segregation in the Cleveland and Columbus schools. As a result, the state may eventually have to pay half the6cost of desegregating the systems.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in separate rulings late last month, ruled that state authorities had reason to know of illegal segregation in the state's two largest cities during the 1960's and early 1970's. But, the court said in affirming lower-court decisions, the state school board continued to give the two systems financial support and failed to take action to correct the problems.
In the late 1970's, both systems were ordered by federal courts to desegregate.
The state will ask the Supreme Court to review the decision, said G. Robert Bowers, assistant state superintendent of public instruction.
"We're probably one to two years away from any final resolution of the matter," he said.
The lower-court decisions have said Ohio should pay half the costs of desegregation. But if the state does eventually have to pay, Mr. Bowers said, the amount is likely to be disputed.
Cleveland school officials, he said, have claimed that they will have spent some $70 million to $80 million complying with the desegregation order byel15the end of this school year.
Included in that sum, however, are some items--such as security and reading programs--that many observers say would have been incurred even without the desegregation order.
A Seattle schools' task force on student discipline last week asked the city school board to adopt tough new policies toward students who commit crimes on school grounds.
Students found guilty of weapons possession, assault, arson, and other serious offenses while at school would be expelled immediately under the recommendations proposed by the task force, according to district Assistant Superintendent Mary R. Carson.
Students found guilty of lesser offenses--including the sale or use of drugs, threatening teachers, and vandalism--would be suspended from school and reported to the police on6their first violation and expelled permanently upon a second violation.
The nine-member task force, which worked full time for three weeks, formulated its policies after surveying students, teachers, administrators, and parents about their perceptions of discipline problems in the school system, according to Ms. Carson.
"When we first started meeting I was certain that we would end up approaching the board asking for additional time to complete the report," she said. "But I was surprised by how much the total saturation in the subject and the pressure of a three-week deadline helped."
Ms. Carson said the general consensus among those questioned by the group was that their own classrooms and schools did not have major discipline problems, but that conditions were worse in other schools in the district.
"One of the main things that we tried to emphasize in the report was that the school district has a responsibility to protect the education of the majority of students from the 10 percent or so who violate school rules and break laws," she said.
Vol. 01, Issue 09