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The West Virginia Supreme Court, in a 4-to-1 decision, has ruled against plaintiffs who sought a court-ordered timetable for improving West Virginia's public schools.

In its decision, the court said the 1982 ruling of a Kanawha County circuit judge that the public schools should be reformed "at the earliest practicable time" should remain intact and not be replaced with a timetable that would establish deadlines for implementing the reforms. (See Education Week, May 26, 1982.)

In 1982, Special Judge Arthur M. Recht found that the quality of a school district's educational program correlates directly with the district's property wealth, and that neither state financial aid nor state education policies compensate for the disparities.

Judge Recht set forth education standards for the state's schools, ordered that the legislature and tax department devise a more equitable system of financing education, and appointed a monitor to oversee the changes.

In the wake of an administrative investigation into charges of racial segregation in DeVilbiss High School's freshman honors courses, the superintendent of the Toledo (Ohio) Public Schools has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against an undetermined number of administrators and some teachers at the school. (See Education Week, Nov. 21, 1984)

Such disciplinary action could include letters of reprimand, suspension, demotion, or dismissal, according to Crystal Ellis, administrative assistant to the superintendent. During the administration's investigation, 23 staff members at DeVil-biss were interviewed, Mr. Ellis said. Hearings to determine any wrong-doing are scheduled throughout this month. Based on the results of the hearings, the Toledo Board of Education is expected to take disciplinary action in February.

The superintendent also has ordered an immediate reassignment of freshmen in honors classes. The new assignments will be based on the students' first-quarter grades and standardized achievement-test scores.

Fifty-nine teachers in the Bayonne, N.J., school district who failed to comply with a court order to end a strike there in November have pleaded guilty to contempt charges; each will perform 20 hours of community service. (See Education Week, Dec. 5, 1984.)

Three other teachers who violated the back-to-work order have pleaded not guilty to the charges and face trial this month.

While it is not illegal for teachers to strike in New Jersey, school officials in Bayonne had asked Hudson County Superior Court Judge Gregory Castano to issue a back-to-work order.

"It's strictly a punitive action," said Donald Rosser, a spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association. Mr. Rosser added that courts issue such orders "almost automatically" because they are bound by precedent.

A county judge in Idaho has released three brothers and their wives from jail after receiving a promise from them not to interfere with the education of their children.

Judge B.E. Behrmann last month released Robert, Floyd, and Sam Shippy and their wives from jail. The six had refused to abide by a state law requiring that home instruction meet public-school standards. (See Education Week, Dec. 12, 1984.)

The six, who have 16 children of school age and a total of 41 children, had served three weeks of a six-month sentence.

The Shippys' school-age children have been placed in foster homes and are being sent to public schools. Judge Behrmann released the Shippys on the condition' that they not interfere with the placement or education of their school-age children, and that they work with state officials to develop appropriate home-instruction programs.

Two New York district attorney's offices announced last month that they had found no basis for any criminal charges against Anthony J. Alvarado, former New York City schools chancellor.

Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman said Mr. Alvarado had agreed to pay the state board of education $569 as a reimbursement for his improper use of school-system employees for personal jobs.

A third investigation of the former chancellor by the city's U.S. attorney is nearing completion, a spokesman said.

Mr. Alvarado resigned as head of the nation's largest school system last spring after he was charged with several professional improprieties. (See Education Week, May 23, 1984.)

California's superintendent of public instruction, Bill Honig, has asked Gov. George Deukmejian to guarantee that the proceeds of the state's new lottery will not be used to supplant state spending for schools. Mr. Honig would like the Governor to ensure that the state will spend at least 40 percent of its 1985-86 budget for schools, matching this year's proportion.

The lottery proposal approved by voters last November requires that some $500 million of the proceeds go to schools. (See Education Week, Nov. 14, 1984.) Mr. Honig and others fear that lawmakers may argue that the $500 million should replace some state funding.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a civil-rights group can present evidence dating back to May 1969 in its desegregation lawsuit against the Los Angeles public schools.

The Dec. 21 ruling modified a September 1983 ruling by a three-judge panel of the court stating that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People could press its case against the school district but had to limit its claims to events occurring since September 1981. (See Education Week, Sept. 14, 1983.) That was the month that a final order was entered in an earlier school-desegregation case brought in state court.

The May 1969 date selected by the full Ninth Circuit Court represents the month that the trial in the state-court case ended. The case is Los Angeles Branch naacp v. Los Angeles Unified School District.

Vol. 04, Issue 16

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