Districts News Roundup

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A six-week strike against Ohio's Lake Local School District ended last week with a three-year contract providing retroactive raises for the district's teachers.

Under the terms of the new contract, a beginning teacher's salary will be raised from $12,000 to $12,850 this year, retroactive to Aug. 1, with raises to $13,600 next year and to $14,300 in 1984-1985.

The teachers--28 of whom were arrested during the divisive strike--ratified the new contract by a 118-to-10 vote.

Schools in the 3,500-student district, which is in the Akron area, remained open throughout the strike with substitute teachers and about 40 nonstriking teachers replacing their striking colleagues.

Voters in Austin, Tex., have overwhelmingly passed a $210-million bond authorization to build 13 new schools and repair and renovate all existing facilities.

Voters at all 115 of the school system's polling locations approved the bond proposal, despite some public dissatisfaction over a three-year-old, court-mandated busing program and the city's already expensive school property taxes. The election was held Feb. 5, less than a week after taxes were due.

Voters approved the acquisition of land for new elementary and secondary schools, as well as funds for their construction, by a 3-to-1 mar3gin. They approved funds for renovation projects by a 4-to-1 margin.

John Ellis, superintendent of the city's schools, credited the victory to the work of 14,000 citizens who have been studying the schools' needs for 18 months. During the weeks just before the election, a phone bank was operated daily, and parent-teacher association members conducted a door-to-door literature campaign.

New York City school principals will have less disciplinary power, and the district's superintendents will have more, under a new suspension policy devised by outgoing Schools Chancellor Frank J. Macchiarola.

Most suspensions will be imposed by high-school superintendents, who oversee the principals, and principals will be permitted to suspend students only in "emergency" situations.

Under the new disciplinary code--which was ordered by U.S. District Judge Henry F. Werker on Jan. 31--4,000 high-school students suspended between September 1978 and June 1982 may appeal their cases to the chancellor.

Lawyers representing students asserted in a 1980 class action that the old suspension rules abridged the students' due-process rights, guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

The new policy allows principals to suspend students for one to five days twice during a school year if the students present a "clear and present danger of physical injury" or prevent "operation of classes."

The policy states that suspension should be a last resort to be taken only after guidance efforts fail.

Mr. Macchiarola asserted his own disciplinary powers last week when he temporarily suspended two community school boards in Queens for disobeying an order to open schools after the recent blizzard.

Explorer Scouts have lost their undercover jobs with the Fairfax (Va.) City Police Department.

The police were using the older Boy Scouts to help them in their efforts to find liquor stores that illegally sell alcoholic beverages to minors.

Police Chief Loyd W. Smith said Explorers were the only effective undercover agents, since "all our officers are over 21."

But, citing a policy established three years ago "against the use of youth members in illegal or hazardous operations," officials of an Explorer branch of the Boy Scouts of America asked the police to stop the operations.

"We weren't aware of this policy until now," a police spokesman said. "The people who worked with us were very upset that they couldn't continue. These [Explorers] were getting a real knowledge of law enforcement."

Police in Montgomery and Fairfax Counties in Maryland, who use similar undercover operations, said the Explorer policy does not affect them since they have not recruited scouts as a group.

The decision of an Arizona school district to dismiss a teacher who married one of his students has been upheld by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

An appeals-court judge ruled late

last month that the Chandler Uni-fied School District Board of Education in Phoenix was justified in firing Ronald J. Welch, 40, who married a l7-year-old who had taken a course from him.

Mr. Welch originally denied that he was involved with the student when questioned by school officials about the relationship in late 1980. When school officials demanded he break off the relationship, the student transferred to another school, and the two were married.

The court's decision found that Mr. Welch had lied to the school board, which constituted insubordination and cause for dismissal. The decision reversed an earlier Superior Court decision that had found no evidence of lying.

As many as 40 percent of the elementary schoolchildren in Hartford, Conn., may not finish the academic year in the school in which they began it, according to projections from a study of student mobility in the city's public schools.

The study, conducted by the Hartford Board of Education, indicates that 15 percent of students changed schools between October and December 1982.

"It is possible, though we don't expect it, that the mobility rate could go to 40 percent by the end of the school year," said Eugene Green, assistant superintendent for the elementary divison of the district.

The high rate of student transfers is caused by a shortage of affordable housing, high unemployment, and changing housing patterns, which force low-income families to move, according to Mr. Green.

Educators in the city are concerned that frequent changes of school can severely hamper children's ability to learn.

The schools with the highest turnover rates generally have the lowest achievement test scores, they say.

The school system is taking several steps to limit the effect of frequent transfers on students, including standardizing the curricula throughout the city's schools and requiring that students in the same grade levels use the same textbooks, Mr. Green said.

Vol. 02, Issue 22

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