Districts News Roundup

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Teachers in the Nanticoke (Pa.) Area School District--angered by the district's moves to force them to stay in the classroom--began their second official strike of the school year early this month. As of last week, the strike continued.

Many members of the Greater Nanticoke Area Education Association have held "selective strikes" in recent weeks to protest the lack of progress in contract negotiations. The teachers have been working without a contract all year.

Teachers' union officials pulled all teachers off the job March 16 when the district decided to seek a court order that would prevent walkouts and allow dismissals of teachers.

In an effort to put new life into their night-school programs for adults, Dade County, Fla., school officials have signed a contract that will allow Jazzercize Inc., the popular physical-fitness enterprise, to operate classes in any of the county's 55 night-school programs.

The unusual commercial venture marks the first time that county officials have contracted with a business to provide night-school classes.

The school system and the California-based corporation will split the fee--usually about $2 per class session--with 20 percent of the money collected going back into the night schools for other uses.

Joseph Mathos, supervisor of adult community education, said the schools could earn as much as $1,000 per course, each of which lasts about eight weeks. Most of the money will be used to subsidize other night-school courses that are now losing money, he said.

School officials are especially interested in placing the classes in inner-city schools where financial problems brought on by sagging enrollments now limit the number of courses offered, Mr. Mathos said.

The Philadelphia school board last week approved the appointment of an executive-on-loan from private industry to help manage the business affairs of the city's school system over the next two years.

On April 1, Frederick B. Wookey Jr. will assume direct authority over the Philadelphia schools' business, personnel, transportation, physical plant, and food service operations. As a deputy superintendent for administrative services, he will report directly to Superintendent Constance E. Clayton.

Mr. Wookey is the manager of supply and distribution in the lubricant division of the Sun Refining and Marketing Co., a subsidiary of the Sun Co. His salary will be paid by the company. His most pressing tasks, according to a district spokesman, will be to improve the efficiency of the maintenance and pupil-transportation programs.

A drug-detection program in a Texas high school that offers $100 rewards to students who act as informants is working very well, a school official says. Only a few students have criticized the idea, he added.

Since last September, the informant system has led to the arrest and expulsion of 14 offenders from Lewisville High School, V.M. Burkett, the district's superintendent, said. "It's working because we're involving students," he said. "It's brought students closer together, not pushed them apart."

A report on CBS Evening News, however, depicted students as being critical of the program for turning students against students.

The program was launched by the local parent-teacher association, with support from the school district. The association pays $100 to students whose information about another student leads to an arrest and a conviction and $50 for tips that turn out not to be useful.

Mr. Burkett said some students acting as informants refused to take money and others who came in to report confidentially to the school principal would not use names, but would only describe scenes.

Vol. 02, Issue 27

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