California Urban-School Aid Restored

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Shortly before adjourning for the year, the California legislature this month restored $86 million in school aid for urban districts that had been cut from the fiscal 1987-88 budget by Gov. George Deukmejian.

The measure will revive the program for one year under a new distribution formula, which will make newer urban communities eligible for the aid for the first time.

The legislature also passed by a wide margin a bill supported by the Governor that will require minors to receive parental permission or a court order to obtain an abortion.

A legal challenge to the new law is expected by abortion-rights groups, which have filed lawsuits in at least 11 of the 20 states that have passed parental-notification or consent laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of a similar Illinois law this year. In Georgia this month, a federal district judge barred the state from enforcing its parental-notification law pending the High Court's decision. And a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit this month struck down a 1981 Minnesota law similar to California's.

Other Measures

In what has become an annual event, legislators approved a bill that would lower class sizes to 20 pupils in "core" high-school courses, costing the state an estimated $754million per year to implement. Governor Deukmejian has vetoed similar bills in past years, and state officials expect this bill will meet the same fate.

Efforts to weaken or eliminate a one-year-old law that allows districts to assess developers' fees on new residential construction were defeated in both houses.

Legislative committees are scheduled to hold hearings during the recess to examine other ways in which districts can finance the mainte8nance and construction of schools.

A compromise was also reached over the distribution to taxpayers of the state's $1.1-billion budget surplus. Most of the money will be distributed in the form of income-tax refund checks, but nearly $200 million will be paid to renters, who typically have lower incomes than homeowners. Bill Honig, the state school superintendent, had lobbied intensively to have at least a portion of the surplus earmarked for aid to schools.--ws

Vol. 07, Issue 03

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