District News Roundup

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Five nationally recognized leaders in education have agreed to serve on a new commission to advise New York City Schools Chancellor Nathan Quinones on urban-education issues, the city board of education has announced.

The members of the Chancellor's Advisory Commission are Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Theodore R. Sizer, chairman of the education department at Brown University; John Brademas, president of New York University; Patricia A. Graham, dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and Harold Howe 2nd, a senior lecturer on education at Harvard and a former U.S. commissioner of education.

The task of the commission, which has received a three-year, $57,900 grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, is to suggest approaches to such concerns as teacher shortages, dropout prevention, and early-childhood education, and to help develop programs in those areas, according to Robert Terte, a spokesman for the board.

"I think the key thing is to get the theoreticians and the practitioners together, translating ideas into ongoing programs," Mr. Terte said.

Following the death of a student in a school-bus accident in neighboring Putnam County, the Westchester County (N.Y.) Board of Legislators has renewed its call for a state law requiring seat belts in new school buses.

The board's resolution is similar to a measure it sent to the state leg-islature last spring, according to James Cavanaugh, a board spokesman. The board repeated its action to indicate its continuing concern, he said.

Bills to require seat belts in school buses have been introduced by state lawmakers for several years but have not passed, according to Robert Daggett, a spokesman for the state education department.

Opinion is divided on the merits of school-bus seat belts. In an ongoing National Transportation Safety Board study of school-bus accidents, set for completion in 1986, "no clear pattern has [yet] emerged to show that seat belts would have made a significant difference in most accidents," said Suzanne J. Stack, a spokesman for ntsb In 1984, the board said there was "not sufficient justification" to recommend seat belts in large school buses.

A ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court this month will permit the Albuquerque Public Schools to withdraw from a new state program designed to reduce the cost to school districts of providing health insurance for their employees.

The Albuquerque district appealed to the court after the state's Group Health Insurance Authority denied the district's request for awaiver from the plan. School officials argued that their present insurance plan provided better coverage for employees.

The authority, established by the legislature last January to provide a standardized, comprehensive health-insurance plan for the state's 20,500 public-school employees at the lowest possible cost, had previously granted waivers to four of the state's 88 districts on similar grounds, according to Luciano R. Baca, president of the authority's governing board.

The court did not issue a written opinion explaining its decision in the district's favor.

The state plan is projected to save participating districts nearly $3.5-inued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page

million in its first year and could save them several million dollars more over the life of the three-year contract, Mr. Baca said.

A leak in a storage tank containing liquid bromine, a dangerous, volatile chemical that can cause burns and severe illness on contact, forced five public schools near Malden, W.Va., to close for one day this month.

Although the spill was contained to the grounds of the J.Q. Dickinson and Co. chemical plant and posed no "immediate threat," the schoolsrdered closed and 3,500 local residents were evacuated "as a precautionary measure" while the corrosive chemical was being transferred from the leaky tank to a truck, said Michael G. Bell, a spokesman for the Kanawha County Public Schools.

One of the schools, a 400-student vocational high school, is located about 500 yards from the chemical plant. The other four schools are within several miles of the site. Nearly 2,000 students were affected by the closings, Mr. Bell said.

Vol. 05, Issue 13

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