District News Roundup

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A Wisconsin student who was not elected to his high school's chapter of the National Honor Society does not have a constitutional right to an impartial review of his application, a federal court has ruled.

The Penwaukee High School student's grades were high enough for admission to the society, but a faculty committee judging his "scholarship, service, character, and leadership" did not select him for membership, even after the student's father sought and won a second vote.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin, the parent charged that because the society membership "can have a substantial effect on the possibility of admission to a prestigious college," membership constitutes a "proprietary interest" that is protected by due-process guarantees.

U.S. District Judge Terence Evans rejected that argument, saying the student "has no constitutionally protected liberty or property interest in election."

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the School District of Philadelphia must honor a contractual agreement to give maintenance workers and bus drivers a 10-percent salary increase, in accordance with an arbitrator's earlier decision.

The workers won the pay increase after a brief strike in February 1981, but the board soon announced that it was rescinding the raise because of financial difficulties. An arbitrator appointed after a ruling by a Common Pleas Court judge held that the workers were entitled to the raise.

But another arbitrator, appointed at the direction of a Commonwealth Court judge, has not made a decision on the case.

The supreme court's decision essentially approves the first arbitrator's right to make a binding decision, a board spokesman said.

A similar pay increase negotiated by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers was also cancelled by the board, but the two sides later negotiated a compromise raise.

The victory for Local 1201 of the International Brotherhood of Fireman and Oilers will cost the already strapped city government $13.3 mil-lion, a spokesman for the department said.

The same day the decision was announced late last month, Mayor William Green said that the city would have to raise taxes by nearly $100 million to balance the $1.46-billion budget for 1984.

A Kansas district this month joined the districts in at least 13 other states that are experimenting with a four-day school week.

The main reason for the experiment in the North Lyon County School District is to reduce utility and busing bills, said Superintendent James W. Fraley. Busing costs alone add up to more than $1,000 per day in the large, rural district of 670 students, he said. The experiment will last only for the month of April, and then the district will survey teachers for their reaction, he said. The school day will be lengthened by 36 minutes during the four days on which classes are held.

In New Mexico, where the concept was pioneered 10 years ago in one rural district, the result of four-day weeks has been a greater emphasis on academics and a reduction in athletic events, said a spokesman for the state education department. All student activities, including athletics, must be conducted on Fridays only, he said.

Vol. 02, Issue 29

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