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Tom Clausen, state superintendent of education in Louisiana, has been acquitted of charges of payroll fraud. Mr. Clausen and Paul Fresina, a former aide to the superintendent who was also acquitted, had been accused of paying an education-department employee for work that was never performed. (See Education Week, Oct. 9, 1985.)

A state district jury returned the verdicts on May 19. The acquittal leaves Mr. Clausen, a Democrat, free to pursue his campaign for Governor, which he announced last fall. Louisianans last year voted to change Mr. Clausen's current elective office to an appointed position at the end of his term.

A judge in Texas has indicated that he will give the state legislature until 1989 to develop a more equitable school-finance system.

Judge Harley Clark of the state district court in Travis County said late last month that he would include the deadline in his final judgment in a landmark suit brought against the state by a group of Texas school districts.

In a preliminary ruling in April, Judge Clark held that the state's three-year-old school-aid program was unconstitutional because it failed to remove broad spending disparities between rich and poor districts. (See Education Week, May 6, 1987.)

At a May 22 hearing, the judge said he would allow the legislature to develop a new allocation formula that meets the state constitution's guarantee of an "efficient'' system of public schools.

The state will have until September 1989 to approve the new system and must begin allocating aid under the new formula by September 1990, he said. Full implementation of the system could be phased in over several years.

"He is giving the state first shot at coming up with a solution,'' said Albert Kaufman, a lawyer for the plaintiff districts.

Judge Clark is expected to issue the final judgment this week. The state, however, is expected to appeal the ruling.

Nathan Quinones, chancellor of the New York City school system, has announced a plan for direct intervention in schools and community districts that fail to meet minimum standards set by the city's central board of education. The plan establishes a formal process for actions such as those taken against local officials by Mr. Quinones in two instances over the past two years.

Earlier this year, the chancellor ousted and replaced the board and superintendent of Community School District 6 after a review panel cited the district for "mismanagement'' and "poor pupil performance.'' (See Education Week, April 1, 1987.) During the 1985-86 school year, several schools were placed "on notice'' and threatened with closure because of low levels of student achievement.

Under the policy announced last month, the central administration began monitoring schools on the basis of such criteria as student test scores, attendance, and dropout rates. Community school boards and individual schools that fail to make progress toward correcting deficiencies will face intervention by Mr. Quinones, who could require certain reforms and replace local officials.

Mr. Quinones has also announced that the New York City school system will stop using a controversial training manual to instruct new teachers about racism.

The 247-page manual was sharply criticized last month by state Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn, who urged the city's board of education to drop the book from its training program because it contains passages characterizing all whites as racists. (See Education Week, May 27, 1987.)

In a statement late last month, Mr. Quinones said he had withdrawn the book, the "Lora Training Manual: A Leader's Guide,'' on the recommendation of the system's executive director of curriculum and instruction, Charlotte Frank.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has set June 23 as the date for oral arguments in the appeal by the Alabama State Board of Education of a decision that textbooks used in the Mobile, Ala., schools promote a religion of "secular humanism.''

The appellate court, based in Atlanta, has agreed to try to expedite the appeal of U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand's widely debated ruling in the case. (See Education Week, March 11, 1987.)

The Henniker, N.H., school board has agreed to end a court fight and pay for the special education of a former honors student who said she could barely read when she finished high school. (See Education Week, April 1, 1987.)

Board members voted to pay tuition of $17,000 at a special school for Karen Morse, who was diagnosed as dyslexic in the 11th grade, the chairman of the board, Jolene Schillinger, said last week. Ms. Morse, who is now a college freshman, has said that she masked her reading problem, in part, by cheating.

Vol. 06, Issue 36

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