District News Roundup

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The Dallas school board has tentatively approved an extension of classroom hours for 1st- through 3rd-grade pupils that would bring the state into compliance with state accreditation laws.

For the past few years, the number of instructional hours offered by the district in these grades has fallen one-half hour short of the required six-hour daily minimum, and administrators fear that state funds could be cut.

The school board may also drop its voluntary after-school program for low-achieving children in 1st through 6th grades and replace it with a mandatory six-week summer program. The idea was proposed to the school board last month.

The after-school program proved ineffective and costly, said Robert L. Johnston, a district spokeman. The proposed program would be mandatory for all failing students who hope to gain promotion.

An audit of the Kansas City, Kan., school district criticizes the district--considered to be among the most frugal in the state--for paying maintenance workers more than teachers and administrators.

A report by the state's legislative post-audit department, an agency created by the legislature to monitor state agencies, indicates the district could save $400,000 annually by paying maintenance workers wages similar to those in other districts.

But Kansas City's superintendent of schools, O.L. Plucker, who said the district "will implement some of the audit's suggestions," was critical of the report.

Although the district does employ licensed craftsmen, Mr. Plucker said, most of the maintenance work is done by regular staff members. For the most part, maintenance workers are paid 80 percent of normal union scale, he noted.

The audit also criticized a buildup of uninvested cash reserves that cost the district $107,000 in unearned interest last year.

Mr. Plucker said keeping cash on hand is sound fiscal policy, particularly when the legislature makes large rescissions in school programs. The legislature cut aid to the district by over $1 million last year.

The Kansas City audit is one of four that the post-audit department is conducting this year. The department conducted 12 audits in 1982, the first year it began monitoring school districts.

Vol. 02, Issue 21

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