District News Roundup

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Under the terms of a court settlement reached with the aid of a nationally known desegregation researcher, the San Francisco Unified School District will open a currently unused facility to house the entire student body of a magnet middle school affected by the district's asbestos-cleanup program.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had filed a suit against the state department of education and the district in late August to prevent the dispersal to several other schools of students from the James Lick Middle School, which was one of 18 schools targeted for increased funding and special academic programs in a 1985 desegregation agreement. The district needed the Lick facility to house 2,000 students from a nearby high school that is to undergo a year-long asbestos-removal effort.

Gary Orfield, director of the University of Chicago's National School Desegregation Project and a court-appointed consultant in the desegregation case, was called in to help work out the agreement keeping the middle schoolers together.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed suit in federal district court charging a Madison County, Ind., school district with discrimination against female employees in violation of federal civil-rights laws.

The suit, filed on Sept. 2, alleges that from 1973 to 1986 the West Central Community School Corporation discriminated against women by using separate job classifications for male and female maintenance workers--"custodian" for men and "matron" for women--and paying women less than men for the same work.

By establishing and maintaining the classification system, the suit argues, the district deprived women of employment opportunities and adversely affected their status as employees in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Michael A. Blickman, a lawyer for the district, said the school system "has not violated" federal law. Men and women "were not doing substantially similar work," he said. "Therefore, the differential in wages was legitimate."

School officials in Yonkers, N.Y., say they plan to file a lawsuit this month against the state to recover some of the costs they have incurred in implementing a court-ordered desegregation plan.

The district has thus far spent $25 million on the plan, including the cost of busing students and establishing magnet schools, according to a spokesman. District officials think the state should share the costs, as well as provide technical expertise and unspecified regulatory action, because the state was "equally reponsible" for segregation in the district, the spokesman said.

The desegregation remedy, which was ordered last year by U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand, is considered a landmark because it was the first to link mandatory housing integration to a school-desegregation case.

Both city and school officials have appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and a ruling is expected sometime this year.

The St. Louis Public Schools have been ordered by a federal judge to close 16 predominantly black schools and to spend nearly $115 million to renovate most of the 111 schools that will remain open.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh wrote in his order this month that the schools to be closed are either too small or too old to be prudently rebuilt. The closings, which the judge said should occur over the next two to three years, could affect 3,500 students, a district spokesman said.

In issuing his most recent in a series of orders concerning the district's desegregation plans, Judge Limbaugh rejected capital-improvement plans proposed by the state, the district, and a court-appointed advisory committee. As with other parts of the comprehensive plan, the district and the state are to share the costs of the renovations, although the judge did not order a bond-issue election as recommended in a ruling last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

The Taylor Academy, an alternative public school for underachieving 9th and 10th graders in a Cleveland suburb, opened as scheduled last week despite protests by the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The naacp had asked Ohio's state school chief to block the academy from opening on Sept. 9, charging that its predominantly black enrollment would promote racial segregation in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights district. About 75 percent of the new school's 200 students are black, compared with a districtwide black enrollment of 55 percent.

Officials of the civil-rights group had said they would consider court action, boycotts, and picketing if the state denied their request to close the school.

A "no-pass, no-park" policy has been adopted by the Loganville (Ga.) High School in an effort to steer students to higher grades. Students will be required to pass five of six courses each quarter to earn parking privileges on campus.

Crime in New York City schools has declined for the sixth consecutive year, according to school officials. Reported incidents of violence and other rules infractions fell to 9,743 in the 1986-87 school year, a 17 percent decrease over the previous year and a 38 percent drop since 1980-81. Schools in Brooklyn reported the most crime.

A new child-abuse reporting center will reduce the trauma of children who say they've been abused and will better coordinate the responses of health, legal, and social service professionals, say Hennepin County, Minn. officials who proposed the center.

The new facility, which is expected to open early next year, would streamline the interview process for most abused children by drawing together specialists from different areas to simultaneously conduct or watch the interviews. In its first year, the center hopes to help at least 300 children.

Vol. 07, Issue 02

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