Districts News Roundup

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Teachers in two school districts in Ohio, where the budget year begins on Jan. 1, remained on strike last week after negotiations for new contracts broke down.

Talks in Willoughby-Eastlake, a 10,000-student district east of Cleveland, stalled after teachers rejected the school board's offer of an immediate 3.7-percent raise on the base salary of $13,310, with another 1.5 percent to come in September. The teachers wanted 7 percent now and an additional 5.3 percent in the fall.

Teachers are also seeking a no-layoff clause and a share of any revenue above the $26.7 million currently projected for 1983.

A federal mediator said no further talks had been scheduled in the strike, which began on Jan. 10.

In the Lake Local School District near Akron, about 86 percent of the district's 350 pupils were in school last Tuesday despite a teachers' strike that began on Jan. 3, a spokesman said. A mediator has been unsuccessful in bringing together the board and the 140 teachers whose contract expired on Dec. 31, the spokesman said, and no talks were scheduled as of last week.

Teachers and the school board in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights district reached agreement in mid-January, ending a nine-day strike by 550 teachers.

The three-year pact calls for 9-percent raises this year and next year and a 5-percent raise in 1985.

The central kitchen and food warehouse for the St. Paul public schools was closed Jan. 25 for a week-long, $200,000 cleanup after a routine check found traces of pcb's.

The contamination apparently leaked from old electrical transformers that have since been removed from the building.

The central kitchen processes food for 55 public schools, plus 10 more Catholic schools under contract. After the contamination was discovered, their cafeterias stopped serving hot food, but remained open for pupils who brought bagged lunches from home.

When the school district first announced the closing, parents were assured that food was in no way af-fected. The state pollution-control agency said that although the pcb level wasn't extreme, it was still unacceptably high for a food processing area. According to a St. Paul school-district spokesman, the contamination was detected on kitchen and warehouse floors during a routine examination that was a follow-up to detection of pcb traces last fall.

pcb's, or polychlorinated biphenyls, have been suspected to be cancer-causing agents and are linked to liver damage and birth defects.

Free bus service to school may soon become a thing of the past for more than 40,000 of New York City's students.

School Chancellor Frank J. Macchiarola, who plans to leave his post in March, proposed transportation cuts for public- and parochial-school children in the 1st through 6th grades as one way to help close his budget's $37-million deficit.

The proposal would affect 1st and 2nd graders living within one mile of school and older children living within one and a half miles.

Reaction to the idea has been heated. Parents objected that their children would be exposed to danger, and bus drivers slated to lose their jobs tore down the door of the room in which the city council's education committee was meeting. Last week, Mr. Macchiarola submitted a second proposal that would curtail rides only for 5th- and 6th-grade pupils.

School officials in Pittsburgh have received more than 2,700 applications from parents hoping to secure places for their children in one of the district's 25 magnet-school programs.

At several of the more popular magnet schools, the parents began forming lines 24 hours before the applications were scheduled to be accepted, according to Patricia Crawford, a spokesman for the school district.

Ms. Crawford said that one middle school was opened at 11 P.M. on the day before the applications were accepted so that a group of parents who had assembled "could be more comfortable" during their wait.

The district estimates that there will be about 1,300 openings in the various programs next year. Those who do not make it will be placed on a waiting list until the school year starts, according to Ms. Crawford.

The district's magnet program includes an all-day kindergarten class, a bilingual program, and a classical academy, which emphasizes Greek and Roman cultures in addition to a basic academic curriculum.

Following a number of arguments at a junior high school near St. Louis, a 14-year-old student fatally shot one classmate, then shot and wounded another before killing himself.

Witnesses said classmates taunted David F. Lawler about his brother for days before he brought two pistols and 100 rounds of ammunition with him to Parkway South Junior High School on Jan. 20.

The Lawler youth stood up in a study hall, took the two guns from a gym bag, and fired one shot into the ceiling, said one witness.

The student shouted at Randall Koger, 15, and fatally shot him in the back. He then shouted at Greg Palmer, 15, walked over to where he was lying on the floor, and shot him in the side.

Then, after walking to the front of the room, Mr. Lawler shot himself in the head.

Mr. Palmer was listed in satisfactory condition in a Kirkwood, Mo., hospital, near the affluent school district.

The principal of the school, Donald Senti, said the school district would arrange for special counseling for the teacher and students who were in the class at the time of the incident.

In the resolution of a 13-year property-tax dispute, an Illinois school district will forfeit $2 million to an automobile maker.

The dispute between the Chrysler Corporation and the Belvidere Board of Education ended last month when the board decided not to contest a recent assessment of the automaker's property.

The dispute centered on the two parties' different assessments of the value of Chrysler's property. Officials for the district, which receives 63 percent of all property taxes raised in Boone County, appealed what they said was the unduly small assessment of $17 million set in 1969.

Since then, the parties have appeared in court twice and before the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board four times.

In the latest judgment, the appeals board assessed Chrysler's property at $32 million.

Because the taxes have been collected at a 1972 assessment of $56 million, the district must forfeit $2 million to the company, said Curtis Tobin, attorney for the district.

The two sides made significantly different assessments of the property because they disagreed about whether the property was "subject to substantial obsolescence," Mr. Tobin said. An appeals court eventually agreed with the company's contention that the property had a low resale value.

With their $3.5-million budget out of balance by about $600,000, North Chicago High School officials announced last month that they were eliminating all after-school activities--including sports--and laying off several teachers and staff members.

Jerome Brolley, the principal of the school, said loss of impact-aid funds and a reassessment of property taxes had aggravated what would already have been a difficult situation. He was also critical of voters who have consistently voted down tax referendums.

A referendum that could save some of the after-school activities is scheduled for April 12, but Mr. Brolley said he was "not overly optimistic" that the measure would pass. Voters defeated a similar measure last November.

North Chicago's federal aid under the impact-aid program was cut by $200,000 this year, and a reassessment of property values reduced revenues by another $100,000, Mr. Brolley said. Increased costs have accounted for the remainder of the deficit.

The after-school-program cuts will save about $150,000, Mr. Brolley said. Across-the-board cuts in personnel and supplies will account for the rest of the savings.

Vol. 02, Issue 19

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