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The Dallas school board last month took a crucial step toward building its "super-magnet" high school.

The board selected a site in Oak Cliff, an area with a predominantly minority population, for the school. With a projected cost of $35-to-$50 million, the school is expected to be the most expensive in the U.S. (See Education Week, Sept. 1, 1982.)

Although a public-opinion survey indicated that few white students would choose the magnet school if it were located in Oak Cliff, the school board determined that the site would be the most economical of the three under consideration.

A spokesman for the school district said that the project is still contingent on the sale of valuable downtown real estate owned by the district, and that the school probably will take three to four years to complete.

School officials will begin planning the "educational specifications" of the school this year.

Last April, the Perry County School District in western Mississippi became the first school system in 10 years to undergo a total cutoff of federal funds as the result of a civil-rights dispute.

Despite the loss of federal support, which accounted for one-third of the district's $2.5-million budget in fiscal 1981, the county schools opened on schedule this fall, according to Maniel Cochran, the district's superintendent.

"Sure, the fund cutoff hurts; we knew it would," Mr. Cochran said recently. "We've held talks with the [Education Department's] office for civil rights, but the dispute is still at dead center."

At issue are the dismissals of a high-school basketball coach and an athletic director who, according to the findings of an administrative law judge, were dismissed after refusing to carry out an illegal order to bench black players in favor of less talented white players.

The judge ordered the district to rehire the coach and the athletic director, but Mr. Cochran said that if the district complied, it would risk violating a state supreme court decision that upheld the two employees' firing on charges of insubordination.

"Hopefully, we'll see a resolution of this, but right now there's no movement either way," he said.

The district's approximately 500 educationally disadvantaged students--one third of the 1,500 students enrolled in the district--were "mainstreamed" back into regular classes, Mr. Cochran said.

Virginia's state board of education will consider the matter further before deciding whether to approve the biology teacher-training program at Liberty Baptist College, where students are taught the Biblical version of the origins of the human race.

The school was founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

A committee of the board recommended last spring that the program be denied certification on the grounds that its graduates may teach creationism in the public schools, in violation of the separation of church and state.

But late last month, Liberty Baptist's critics on the seven-member board could not muster enough votes to decertify the program. Instead, the board members voted 4 to 3 to send the matter back to committee for reconsideration.

The United Federation of Teachers, which represents New York City's public-school teachers, has been allowed to resume deducting dues from the teachers' paychecks.

The 69,000-member union lost the "dues checkoff" privilege for three months, beginning May 1, as a penalty under New York's Taylor law for conducting an illegal five-day strike in 1975.

Initially, the penalty, handed down by the state's Public Employee Relations Board, was to last for two years. But the board reduced the penalty, saying the intent of the law was to punish the union by forcing it to collect dues without the aid of the checkoff, but not to have it forfeit dues income.

The union estimates the penalty cost it $2 million in collection costs, unpaid dues, and dues lost when it offered a 10-percent discount to teachers who agreed to pay the union one year's dues in advance.

As a result of the three-month penalty, the union said, it was forced to cut back on a number of membership services.

Vol. 02, Issue 05

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