District News Roundup
Saying that they are poorly paid, badly treated, and lack the statutory right to do anything about it, public-school administrators in Kansas City, Mo., lashed out at the school district this month in advertisements placed in three local newspapers.
The ads, paid for by the 140-member Kansas City School Administrators Association, are addressed to "School administrators'' and read: "If respect, good working conditions, competitive salaries, fair treatment, job security, and equity are important to you, think more than twice before accepting a position with the Kansas City, Mo., school district.''
The organization intends to broaden the advertising campaign this summer by placing similar ads in newspapers in cities targeted by the district for recruitment efforts, said Elister H. Dewberry, a lawyer and spokesman for the administrators.
"For two years, we have met with the school board .. and done everything we could do, but to no avail,'' Ms. Dewberry said. The ad campaign, she said, is the "organization's way of presenting its grievances.''
School administrators in Missouri have no guaranteed right to collective bargaining, and are prohibited by law from striking, the lawyer said.
An official for the district said last week that the ads were "not specific enough to respond to.''
"Until something more specific is forthcoming, we will not have a comment,'' said Stephanie Bryant, a media liaison for the district.
Officials in Santa Ana, Calif., must review their approval of construction plans for a condominium development because they failed to assess the project's impact on a local school district, an appellate court has ruled.
The Garden Grove school district had claimed in its suit to reverse the city's approval of the project that the 81-unit condominium would lead to overcrowding in nearby schools.
The ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeals, issued late last month, requires the city to file an environmental-impact report and to repeal a city ordinance that allowed the high-density development on the 4.8- acre plot. The area surrounding the condominium project, which is now nearing completion, is primarily populated with single-family homes.
Ronald Walter, the district's assistant superintendent for business services, said that the district had sold the disputed land to the city at a below-market price in 1976, with the understanding that the plot would be used as a park. Instead, he said, the city turned the land over to a redevelopment agency.
Mr. Walter said the school district was asking the city for money to mitigate the effects of this and other development projects. A settlement is expected next month, he said.
Stiff fines and jail sentences may be imposed on Maryland parents whose children are chronically truant without good cause, the state's special court of appeals has ruled.
School officials hailed last month's ruling as an indication that the courts will uphold a state law that allows juries to determine if truants' parents should be fined or imprisoned.
The appeals court upheld the verdicts last June of two Prince George's County juries that found two mothers guilty of violating the state's compulsory-attendance law. Their daughters had missed more than 70 days each during the 1984-85 school year.
One mother was fined $1,500 and sentenced to 75 days in jail, and the other was fined $500 and sentenced to 50 days in jail. The sentences and fines were later suspended, and both women were placed on probation.
In responding to the parents' argument that they could not be faulted for their children's attendance records, Chief Judge Richard P. Gilbert wrote that "passive acquiescence in the child's non-attendance of school is no defense.'' The Prince George's school system is in the second year of a drive to improve its attendance rate. Among other sanctions, students automatically fail any course from which they are absent without excuse more than five times in a semester.