Cities News Roundup
U.S. District Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. has decided not to appoint a "special master" to monitor and supervise desegregation efforts in Boston's public schools. The judge made his decision after attorneys representing the various parties in the 10-year-old case opposed the proposal.
Instead, Judge Garrity last week ordered the Massachusetts Board of Education to monitor and supervise all aspects of the city's schools for compliance with about 400 orders that he has issued during the case. He gave the state education department until Oct. 8 to develop and submit its plan for accomplishing that task.
The appointment of a special master was one of the provisions of a preliminary draft of orders issued by Judge Garrity on Aug. 3 with the goal of ending his personal involvement in the daily administration of the city's public schools. The preliminary draft also called for the state board of education to assume responsibility for certain areas of the desegregation process.
Under the terms of those orders, the special monitor and the state board would have coordinated their efforts. But the special monitor would have had total control of compliance matters involving student assignments, faculty and administrative staff, and desegregation measures at specific schools.
Attorneys for the school committee had argued that the appointment of a special master would have prolonged the involvement of the federal court and that the arrangement would have created the potential for conflict between the state and court-appointed monitors.
Boston's school superintendent, Robert R. Spillane, is not completely satisfied with Judge Garrity's latest decision. Mr. Spillane is concerned now that the state board may not be knowledgeable enough to handle the city's complex desegregation process, according to Ian Foreman, Mr. Spillane's spokesman.
Following a heated public debate, the New York City Board of Education recently voted 6-to-1 to fund junior military-training programs at three city high schools.
Over 70 people, including parents, military recruiters, and Frank J. Macchiarola, chancellor of the New York city schools, presented their opinions to the city's board during a meeting punctuated by catcalls and shouting, according to Robert Terte, a school-board spokesman.
Many parents objected to the city's spending money for military training, Mr. Terte said.
Mr. Macchiarola spoke in favor of continuing two voluntary Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs and starting a third.
But, according to Mr. Terte, the chancellor added that if the city pays for military-training programs, it should also make draft counseling available to its students. Counseling programs will be developed by the city's high-school division.
The military-training programs, which were organized at the request of the three high schools, will cost $143,700 this year. The school board will pay $86,100, and $57,600 will come from federal sources.
There are 247 students enrolled in the programs this fall.
A strike last week by municipal bus drivers forced as many as 75,000 Los Angeles public-school students to find another way to school--or to stay home.
The Los Angeles Unified School District continued to provide bus transportation, and most of the system's more than 500,000 students had no difficulty getting to school, said Sheldon E. Erlich, a spokesman for the district.
But about 50,000 to 75,000 students--most of them in secondary schools--rely on public transportation, he estimated. He said it was impossible to tell how many of last week's absences resulted from the strike against the Southern California Rapid Transit District.
"We're trying to encourage them to carpool, bike, run, whatever, so they can get to school," Mr. Erlich said. The school district had neither the buses nor the time to expand its own transportation system during the strike, he added. "It would take weeks to set up some kind of routing," he said. "It would be almost impossible to set up."
Vol. 02, Issue 03