States News Roundup
South Dakota will have a new state superintendent of elementary and secondary education effective July 1.
William Sundermeyer, the executive director of the South Dakota Education Association, will take over for James O. Hansen, who announced his resignation in early April. Mr. Hansen, who has held the state superintendency for the past four years, said he was stepping down for personal reasons.
Mr. Sundermeyer, whose nomination was recently approved by both the state board of education and Gov. William J. Janklow, has directed the state chapter of the National Education Association for the past five years. Previously, he served for two years as Uniserv manager for the Illinois Education Association.
"I look at this as the greatest challenge of my career," Mr. Sundermeyer said of his appointment. "I think that the general public now recognizes the crisis that we are facing in public education. If we can present a good case for change at this time, perhaps for the first time in history we can take our proper place in the arena with respect to funding and assistance at all levels of government."
The Alabama Supreme Court last month ruled against a parent's contention that a school district was liable for an injury his child received in a physical-education class.
In upholding last year's jury deci-sion by the Calhoun County Circuit Court, the court ruled that there was no cause of action in the suit.
Major Brown, the father of Robert Brown, argued that the county board of education reneged on an "implied contract" to protect students from harm.
But the court ruled that the claim was not specific enough. The plaintiff must show a duty that, neglected, led to the injury, the court ruled.
The boy, then 11, received a concussion and lost the hearing in his right ear after another student accidently hit him in the head with a baseball bat. The incident occurred during a February 1980 physical-education class at Walter Welbourn Elementary School in Anniston.
Missouri school officials have been told not to plan on any additional state aid next year because of the state Senate's defeat of a $34.3- million supplemental appropriation measure earmarked for local education programs.
The supplemental appropriation would have raised state school aid to $733.7 million for fiscal 1984, according to John E. Moore, Missouri's assistant commissioner of education.
The supplemental-aid measure, which had been approved by the state's House of Representatives, will now be addressed during a conference of House and Senate representatives, according to Mr. Moore.
Mr. Moore said the Senate rejected the bill because of members' concern about the state's financial problems. "Some good friends of education have not voted for it," he said.
Regardless of the outcome, Mr. Moore said, school districts will not have to cut programs, since a new one-cent increase in the state's sales tax is expected to raise about $100 million for education next year.
A budget cut of $2 million by the 1983 Mississippi legislature will force school districts in the state to send more than twice the normal number of textbooks to state prisons for rebinding.
In previous years, the 100 inmates at the Parchman state penitentiary rebound about 16,200 books annually. This year, preliminary estimates show that prisoners will rebind about 35,000 schoolbooks because of the funding cut, according to Gil Evans, director of Mississippi correctional industries at the 4,000-inmate penitentiary. Mr. Evans said inmates could gear up to rebind as many as 100,000 books, with 200 prisoners put to work under the program funded by state department of corrections.
Gov. John Carlin of Kansas has organized a group of education leaders to discuss solutions to the state's major education problems and to aid him in his plan to make education the top priority in next year's legislature.
The "Governor's Education Cabi-net," made up of officials from groups such as the Kansas Board of Regents, the Kansas chapter of the National Education Association, and the associations for college faculty and school administrators, will meet monthly, according to an aide to the Governor.
The group will study a range of education issues, from teacher improvement and salary increases to school finance.
About 60 percent of Maryland's 9th graders have failed a new state proficiency test in mathematics.
Scores ranged from a 35-percent failure rate in affluent Montgomery County to an 82-percent rate in the Baltimore city schools.
State education officials said that they were not expecting the low scores and that teachers will have to spend more time on basic concepts in the future.
"The shock was greater than we expected," said Glen Cutlip, chief of the basic-skills division of the education department.
The test is the second part of Maryland's Project Basic, which began in 1977 with a reading-skills test.
Passage of that test is required for graduation now, and the mathematics test will become a graduation requirement in 1987.
Gov. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa vetoed a bill last month that would have altered the procedure for firing or laying off teachers in the state.
Under the bill, an impartial hearing officer would have made the final decision to terminate teacher contracts. Teachers who were under consideration for termination would have been able to request an informal meeting with board members in an attempt to reach an amicable solution.
Currently, decisions on firings and layoffs of teachers are made by local school boards.
Governor Branstad had opposed the bill on the grounds that it would have weakened the authority of the locally elected school board to make important educational decisions. He also argued that the bill would have adversely affected the state's collective-bargaining process.
Gary Olney, a consultant for the state department of education, said the Governor had also opposed a provision in the bill that would have given teachers who also serve as state legislators the right to retain their teaching jobs.
Vol. 02, Issue 37