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The West Virginia Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments--again--on the Fritz the Cat case, which involves a Marion County teacher who was fired in 1979 after distributing the X-rated materials to an 8th-grade art class.

The Marion County Board of Education fired the teacher, Teresa DeVito, alleging that she had distributed the materials intentionally. Ms. DeVito, however, has maintained all along that she thought the materials featured the innocuous Felix the Cat, and, not having reviewed them before class, was as surprised as everyone else when it appeared that they depicted the risque adventures of Fritz.

The recent arguments represented the second time that the case has reached the state supreme court. In 1981, the court remanded the case to the Marion County Circuit Court for a ruling on whether the teacher distributed the materials intentionally. The court said she did, and the teacher appealed that ruling.

This time, the court may rule on whether the punishment--dismissal after 18 years of teaching--fits the crime. Jacqueline Kinnaman, the staff counsel for the West Virginia Education Association, who is representing Ms. DeVito, said the justices' questions indicated they may rule on the suitability of the punishment. A ruling is expected before Christmas.

Schools in Lincoln County, Ore., will reopen following local residents' approval of a property-tax levy last week to provide additional funds for the schools. (See Education Week, Sept. 21, 1983.)

The same trend toward approving levies was apparent in other Oregon districts as well.

"Residents in 50 of 56 Oregon districts approved at least one tax-levy measure, and only one district is now in danger of closing," according to Larry Austin, a spokesman for the Oregon department of education.

Mr. Austin said schools in Junction City have operating funds to last until Oct. 21; the next tax-levy vote is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Vol. 03, Issue 04

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