Dipping into its emergency fund, the state of Ohio has loaned almost $1.5 million to a financially ailing school district and has told it to eliminate some 25 staff positions before applying for another loan.
The Indian Creek Local School District, which serves Mingo Junction and Wintersville in eastern Ohio, fell on hard times this year when its largest corporate taxpayer, the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Company, filed for bankruptcy and failed to pay its property taxes, said Joseph Aguiar, the district superintendent.
"Out of a $10-million budget we ended up $1.7 million short, and we would have been out of money Nov. 1," he said. Last week, area voters turned down a levy increase that would have paid off the state loan, increasing the chances that the district will close one of its schools and dismiss some 20 classroom teachers, Mr. Aguiar said.
In granting the loan, the state controlling board, a joint committee of the legislature, exhausted the state's $4-million Emergency School Advancement Fund and had to draw more than $300,000 from its emergency fund. But G. Robert Bowers, the state's assistant superintendent for public instruction, said the advancement fund was so small that its depletion did not signify that Ohio districts were experiencing significant financial problems.
Pupils as Precaution
A suburban Chicago school district will be one of the first in the nation to videotape all of its elementary students as part of a precautionary campaign against child abduction.
According to Wayne Thorne, director of personnel for Maywood, Ill., District 89, 500 students have been interviewed briefly on tape to date, and all 4,700 elementary-school students are expected to be taped by the end of the year.
The videotape idea has gained adherents nationally, as parents and school officials have realized how difficult it is to provide information about children who are missing, according to L.P. Simmons, a sales supervisor for Jones Intercable, the cable company that is donating videotape and use of the cameras for the project.
As an additional precaution, off-duty police officers have volunteered to fingerprint the children, according to Pat Vangel, regional manager for the firm. Ms. Vangel said the program is expected to cost the company about $10,000 to $12,000.
Appeals Panel Saves
Detroit Busing Plan
A federal district court in Detroit will hold hearings this month on how the city's public-school system should best go about resurrecting a school-desegregation-monitoring commission and two programs related to student conduct and school-community relations.
The hearings were scheduled by the three-judge panel overseeing the city's desegregation lawsuit, Milliken v. Bradley, following a Sept. 17 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that the lower court's elimination of the panel and the two programs last year was improper.
The monitoring commission was established in the mid-1970's to oversee educational improvements ordered by federal judges in the 15-year-old school-desegregation case. Among the requirements were the creation of a new code of student conduct and the establishment of a community-relations office.
In a May 1984 order, the district court terminated the panel and the two components of the desegregation program, saying that the time had arrived to withdraw from the district's affairs. The Detroit Federation of Teachers and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People appealed the action, contending that the judges had acted without legal authority and in the absence of a fair hearing.
Lawyers for the teachers' union and the naacp have filed motions with the lower court seeking the immediate reinstatement of the monitoring panel and of the student code and community-relations unit. George Roumell, who is representing the Detroit Board of Education in the case, could not be reached for comment.
Students To Take
For Drug Use
A rural school district in upstate New York has instituted a random, "voluntary" drug-testing program for its 2,000 junior-high-school and high-school students to help drug-dependent students obtain counseling, according to the district's superintendent.
A resolution passed unanimously by the board of education calls for the voluntary urinalysis program to begin "immediately" with members of school athletics teams, according to Richard F. Heller, superintendent of the Phelps-Clifton Springs School District.
Testing of other students will begin next January. Students to be tested will be chosen at random from those who agree to the analysis, Mr. Heller said.
The school requires consent forms from both parents and students. If a test is positive, the school will schedinued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page
ule a counseling session with the student, his or her parents, and school counselors, to recommend local drug-counseling programs.
Linda Saiger, executive director of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, questioned whether the testing is indeed voluntary, or whether student rights may be violated by the program. Peer and faculty pressure may make it hard for a student to refuse to be tested, she said. The chapter plans to discuss the testing program at its next board meeting, she added.
Asked To Reinstate
A former Maryland guidance counselor, who claims she was fired because she alerted the public to school authorities' failure to report charges of child abuse, has asked the state board of education to give her back her job.
Selma Goldberg, a counselor at Arundel Junior High School in Anne Arundel County, filed an appeal with the state board early this month after being fired by the county school board on Oct. 21.
According to a spokesman for the Anne Arundel board, Ms. Goldberg was fired for insubordination. Specifically, the counselor allegedly failed repeatedly to refer students who came to her for more than five counseling visits to a pupil-services team that included her school's principal, a social worker, and other counselors.
But according to James Whattam, Ms. Goldberg's lawyer, the firing was in retaliation for her report to the local media last March that school officials routinely failed to report students' charges of sexual abuse by school employees to the police, as required by state law.
Before Ms. Goldberg contacted the local media, Mr. Whattam said, officials typically would refer allegations of abuse to an internal investigator. If the investigator determined the charges were without merit, he said, the officials would drop the matter.
Because of Ms. Goldberg's disclosure to the press, he continued, "the system is now reporting every instance of abuse."
"Of course, this caused embarrassment to the district," Mr. Whattam said. Ms. Goldberg is seeking reinstatement plus back pay and benefits.
The Newark, N.J., school board has agreed to pay $660,000 to its superintendent, Columbus Salley, to secure his resignation and the settlement of a long and bitter series of legal actions.
The money represents a buy-out of the remaining three years of Mr. Salley's five-year contract, payment of legal fees, and a settlement of his "ancillary" lawsuits against several board members, according to Vickie Donaldson, the school board's general counsel.
Mr. Salley was appointed superintendent in 1981 and negotiated a five-year contract with the board in 1983, shortly before the appointed board was replaced by an elected one.
The new board suspended Mr. Salley from office in July 1984. Among the 11 reasons cited were electioneering, using board security personnel to guard his home, failing to disclose a business relationship with a board member, and requisitioning board funds for an educational program never approved by the board, Ms. Donaldson said.
Mr. Salley then filed a defamation-of-character suit against the board members who had voted to oust him and filed a separate action to regain his post, she said.
This past summer, an arbitrator ruled that the board did not show just cause to warrant Mr. Salley's dismissal, according to Ms. Donaldson. Judge Harry Margolis of the Superior Court of Essex County confirmed the arbitrator's finding, she said.
Lawrence S. Schwartz, Mr. Salley's attorney, said after the settlement that Mr. Salley had been completely vindicated of all charges of improprieties.
Vol. 05, Issue 11