District News Roundup
Attacking what she calls her "unfinished agenda" for the Philadelphia public schools, Superintendent Constance E. Clayton has announced plans to restructure the city's 19 comprehensive high schools.
In a January speech to the school board, Ms. Clayton also said she would be considering a reorganization of remedial and academic-support programs.
"The high school is in many ways the pinnacle and the linchpin of public education," she said. "It must be made to work."
Ms. Clayton has appointed task forces to study various ways the programs could be reorganized, such as by reducing the schools' size, allowing students and teachers to work more closely together. Some of the changes could be put in place by next fall, she said.
She added that her unfinished agenda was a key reason she had chosen to remain in Philadelphia, rather than pursue the chancellorship of the New York City school system. Ms. Clayton was one of three finalists for the New York post, but withdrew her name from consideration shortly before Richard R. Green, superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, was named chancellor last month.
The school board in Camden County, N.C., has agreed to revise its election procedures to settle a voting-rights suit brought against the county by the U.S. Justice Department.
The Camden board was one of 22 North Carolina school boards named in a suit filed by the department in 1986. Most have already agreed to settlement terms.
The Camden agreement requires county voters to elect all of the school board's members in a single, at-large election. Under the old system, three of the five members were elected from individual districts.
Black civil-rights activists in the county charged that the old system diluted their votes by preventing them from pooling their ballots to elect a single at-large candidate. Blacks make up one-third of the county's population, yet a black has never served on the school board.
The Justice Department entered the dispute because of a 1977 state law that first allowed the local election of board members. Members were previously appointed by the legislature. The department claimed that approval for the change--required under the Voting Rights Act--had not been sought.
The Camden settlement is unusual, in that it replaces district elections with an at-large system. In most such disputes, the elimination of at-large elections has been sought.
A U.S. subsidiary of Toyota Motor Co., the Japanese automobile manufacturer, has agreed to pay a Kentucky school district more than $8.3 million over 20 years as compensation for lost tax revenues.
The agreement covers land in the district purchased by Toyota several years ago for the construction of an $800-million assembly plant. Because the plant was partially financed through industrial revenue bonds, the property is exempt from local property taxes until the bonds mature in 2007.
Officials in the Scott County School District say enrollment could increase by 25 percent when the plant goes into operation.