District News Roundup
Gov. Joe Frank Harris of Georgia has charged that the Atlanta Board of Education may be trying to circumvent the state's education-reform act by rehiring 47 teach6ers who have not yet passed the state's teacher-certification tests.
At a news conference Sept. 16, Mr. Harris said he was "greatly" concerned by the board's plan to allow the teachers to keep working as substitutes.
"Unavoidably, this action creates the impression that the accountability provisions of the Quality Basic Education program are being circumvented," he said. The Governor added that, if necessary, he would move to strengthen the state's policies and laws governing substitutes.
But Eugene Bales, director of support services for the Atlanta public schools, said that the district was observing the law.
He argued that the 47 teachers were among the best substitutes the district could find, since they were already familiar with the school system. "In a system our size, we need more substitute teachers every day than we have bodies to fill," he said.
Georgia is one of only three states that require veteran teachers to pass a test to be recertified.
School employees suspected of having aids in Colorado's St. Vrain Valley School District may be required to undergo testing for exposure to the aids virus under a new policy on communicable diseases outlined by school officials.
Those employees who test positive may be fired, the new rules state, if school officials determine that the infected employees are either physically unable to continue work or pose a threat to the health of others. The policy, announced last month, has so far provoked little controversy and is supported by the St. Vrain Valley Teachers' Association.
A federal judge in Illinois is expected to decide this month whether school officials in Belleville acted properly when they barred a 6-year-old boy with aids from attending school in that community.
In the first lawsuit of its kind in Illinois, the boy's lawyer and the American Civil Liberties Union in Chicago charged last month that officials of Belleville School District 118 unfairly discriminated against "Johnny Doe" by keeping him out of school. The child, a hemophiliac whose identity iskept secret at his parents' request, has been tutored at home since August.
Concern over the spread of aids has prompted a municipal task force in Alexandria, Va., to recommend distributing condoms to students at a proposed school-based health clinic.
The task force said in its report that the city-funded clinic should be located inside Alexandria's only high school or on the school grounds. Gary Syphers, assistant city manager, said the school board and city council planned to hold joint public hearings on the controversial proposal in November.
The ltv Corporation, which had suspended its tax payments after filing for bankruptcy, has paid Cuyahoga County, Ohio, $8.7 million in personal-property taxes--about half of which will go to the financially troubled Cleveland school district.
The Dallas-based conglomerate stopped paying property taxes in Ohio--where its steel-making operations are headquartered--and in other states last year, after filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.
Cleveland school officials say the district expects to receive $4.4 million of the corporation's 1987 county tax payment. Even with the additional funds, the district anticipates a deficit of between $6 million and $7 million in the current school year.
Ku Klux Klan members in Toccoa, Ga., have told the local school board they will work "day and night" to mount a recall campaign if the board does not reverse a recent redistricting of the Stephens County elementary schools.
Wearing hooded robes that did not conceal their faces, nine Klan members attended the Sept. 15 board meeting to register their opposition to the plan, which was designed to achieve racial balance. Board members said they could not take any action before consulting their lawyer.
Officials in New Jersey's largest school district say they will impose new controls on the use of district motor vehicles in the wake of a state audit that found evidence of abuses by district employees and school-board members.
State education officials have recommended that the Newark school board request a prosecutor's investigation.
The audit included charges that some board members and their families used chauffeur-driven cars for their personal business. According to a state official, New6ark is the only district in the state that provides drivers for its top officials.
Officials in the South St. Paul, Minn., school district are urging school employees to help "sell" their schools to parents.
As part of a new marketing strategy designed to bolster public-school enrollment in a state pioneering parental-choice options, officials met with the district's 350 employees last month and distributed supplies of business cards imprinted with the slogan, "Our Family Serving Yours."
"Each staff person represents the school district both in how they perform on the job and what they say off the job," explained Jeanne Morphew, director of community education for the school system.
Ten Indiana school districts will receive between $90,000 and $150,000 each from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., this year for programs to improve their middle-level schools. The 10 urban school systems are among 19 that received smaller grants from the Indiana-based foundation last year to set improvement efforts in motion.
The $1.4 million in projects--intended, the foundation says, to get at "the specific educational needs of an age group that often gets lost in the attention devoted to the primary and high-school years"--include counseling and support activities involving parents and community agencies.