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Two recent court rulings in Louisiana have temporarily ended efforts by civil-rights activists to force the state to hold an election this year for the post of state superintendent of education.

Leaders of the Louisiana branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People say they will continue their fight to overturn a 1985 law that changed the state's top education post from an elected to an appointed position. The group argues that the change would dilute black voting strength by allowing the predominantly white state board of education to pick the next superintendent.

In June, a panel of federal judges ordered this fall's election to proceed while attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department studied the new law. The judges lifted that injunction last month after the department decided that the change did not violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

Naacp officials say they will appeal that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a state court's dismissal last month of a similar suit filed by the group allowed state officials to cancel the election for superintendent.

Vermont's revamped education-finance law has proven to be a boon for local schools, a survey conducted by the state department of education has found.

The survey, which was presented to the state board last month, found that 35 percent of the additional state aid to school districts provided under the law enacted in May is earmarked for school spending.

By contrast, in 1983, the last time the finance law was changed, 88 percent of the additional aid to districts was used for property-tax relief.

The study also found that 21 percent of the new aid had been placed in escrow accounts to be used for education if voters approve. A fourth of the aid will go toward lowering local property taxes.

The new law provided an addi4tional $24 million in aid to enable districts to meet state standards without raising taxes above the state average. Of the state's 251 districts, 183 will receive the so-called foundation aid.

Gov. James R. Thompson of Illinois has signed a bill requiring schools to teach youngsters in grades 6-12 about aids and sexual abstinence.

Part of a sweeping new set of state laws designed to combat the disease, the education mandates apply only to districts that already provide sex education, said Susan Mogerman, an aide to the Governor. Parents may also opt to remove their children from the new required courses, she added.

The Governor also recently vetoed bills to create six mathematics and science academies and new programs for pregnant teen-agers, gifted students, and truants. In his veto message, Mr. Thompson blamed the legislature for failing to approve the tax increases needed to fund the programs.

The Tennessee Board of Education has adopted a "master plan" for the next fiscal year emphasizing higher teacher salaries, a change in the school-aid formula, and efforts to lower the dropout rate.

The legislature ordered the board in 1984 to adopt such plans annually to help set budget priorities and guide school-reform efforts.

The plan spells out nine general areas of emphasis for the state, including 90 specific goals, but does not recommend specific funding amounts.

The Oklahoma Board of Education has asked the legislature to raise teacher salaries by a total of $84 million in fiscal 1989.

The budget proposal, which was prepared by John M. Folks, the state school chief, and approved by the board in late September, calls for a $140-million increase in state school aid, bringing the total to $912 million. It recommends raising the minimum salary for beginning teachers from $15,060 to $17,060, and raising the minimum-salary schedules by $2,000 at each level.

Teachers in the state earn an average of $22,560 a year, placing Oklahoma 40th in the nation in teacher salaries, according to the Oklahoma Education Association.

Vol. 07, Issue 05

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