One month after the South Dakota Legislature approved Gov. William J. Janklow's education-reform package, a group of law and citizens is working on a petition drive to put the bill up to public vote in next November's election. (See Education Week, March 27, 1985.)
According to one of the organizers of the referendum initiative, Representative Kent Frerichs, Democrat of Wilmot, its backers are most worried about the reform bill's "family-option" plan.
That plan would give parents in districts with high-school enrollments of fewer than 45 students the option of sending their children to schools in neighboring districts, with the state picking up tuition costs.
Representative Frerichs said he is concerned that the plan focuses on school size, rather than school quality, and that it would "ultimately endanger all medium and small schools in the state," regardless of how good they are.
Supporters of the petition must get about 14,000 signatures by June 12 to put the referendum on the ballot, he said. If they are successful, implementation of the reform plan would be postponed until after the November election, Mr. Frerichs added.
Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas has vetoed legislation that would have exempted from the Arkansas Educational Skills Assessment vocational-education teachers who do not need a college education to obtain initial certification.
Arkansas educators took the controversial test for the first time late last month. (See Education Week, April 3, 1985.)
In addition, the legislation would have exempted teachers who are at least 50 years old and within five years of retirement.
In a statement issued late last month, Governor Clinton said that while he supports the "concept" of the legislation, "I have disapproved of the bill because any exemption from the requirements will weaken the state's legal position in any further litigation."
A top aide to Indiana's state chief has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges by a county grand jury investigating Superintendent Harold H. Negley's alleged misuse of campaign funds.
Parker Eaton, publications director for the state department of education, was indicted for threatening a grand jury witness, according to Joseph DiLaura, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Education. Mr. Eaton was suspended without pay from his state job and released on a $1,000 bond after entering an innocent plea to the charge.
Mr. Negley has taken a leave of absence from his position during the grand jury investigation, which is looking into allegations that he misused campaign funds, used "ghost" employees, and destroyed public records. (See Education Week, March 20, 1985.) The superintendent is scheduled to appear before the grand jury this week, Mr. DiLaura said.
Robert Krajewski, superinten6dent of East Chicago schools and a member of the state board of education, has assumed the role of acting state superintendent through April.
Gov. John H. Sununu's plan to put computers into every classroom suffered a major--and final--setback last month when the Supreme Court of New Hampshire reversed a lower court's decision that surplus state-lottery funds could be used for the project.
Superior Court Chief Justice Richard P. Dunfey had ruled in October that $957,677 in unanticipated surplus-lottery revenue could be sent to school districts on a per-pupil basis. (See Education Week, Nov. 14, 1984.)
Four months earlier, the Governor had announced a plan to have districts use the money to buy classroom computers under a privately negotiated "pricing agreement" with the Digital Equipment Corporation. That plan was challenged as illegal by a state legislator.
According to Bruce Mohl, the assistant attorney general who represented the Governor in the lawsuit, the Supreme Court ruling is "certainly the end of this particular lawsuit and this particular issue."
Vol. 04, Issue 29