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Agency and Union Oppose Math-Science School

The Maryland Department of Fiscal Services and the state's largest teachers' union have urged the legislature to reject Gov. William Donald Schaefer's request for $13.3 million to establish a statewide residential high school for mathematics and science.

In a report to the Senate's budget and taxation committee, the fiscal agency argued that the Governor had not adequately justified the need for such a school, said Chad Littleton, a legislative analyst for the committee. The agency, he said, found that "alternatives to the school have not been sufficiently explored."

In a related development, Beverly L. Corelle, president of the Maryland State Teachers Association, said the proposed school "is a good idea whose time has not yet arrived."

Ms. Corelle said the union, an affiliate of the National Education Association, questioned "the wisdom and the equity of lavishing so much of the state's educational resources and attention on 600 of the brightest and most gifted students in the state" at a time when many districts "are starved for funds."

Mr. Schaefer called for the establishment of the school last month in his State of the State address.

Minnesota Board Backs Community-Service Rule

Acting hurriedly on a request from Gov. Rudy Perpich, the Minne4sota Board of Education has voted to require all school districts in the state to offer elective credits for volunteer and community service at all grade levels.

The proposal would also require districts to incorporate lessons on the importance of volunteerism into their curricula.

In addition, it directs the state education department to study the feasibility of requiring all students to perform community service.

In an unusual move, the proposal was introduced and unanimously approved during one meeting of the state board. Governor Perpich reportedly requested the quick action so he could announce it at the National Governors' Association's winter meeting this month.

The proposal must now pass through a rule-making process that includes public hearings; it is expected to take up to six months.

The Missouri House of Representatives has overwhemingly defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have required the state to earmark nearly half of the proceeds from its lottery to support public education.

The measure, sponsored by Representative Harry Wiggins, a Kansas City Democrat, would have shifted 45 percent of the revenues to schools and colleges. The funds currently go into the state's general fund.

Mr. Wiggins's bill was defeated by a vote of 117 to 32.

Eight months after a Texas judge declared the state's school- finance system unconstitutional, Gov. Bill Clements has named a 15-member task force of educators and businessmen to examine the poten8tial impact of that ruling.

The state is appealing the decision, which held that funding inequities between property-rich and poor school districts violated the state constitution.

Governor Clements said the task force would recommend ways to address the "drastic changes" that would result if the ruling, issued by District Judge Harley Clark last June, is upheld by the state supreme court. Judge Clark ordered the state to develop a new funding formula by September 1989.

Texas education officials estimate it could cost as much as $24 billion a year to bring revenues in all districts up to the same levels as in the state's wealthiest school systems.

South Carolina's Supreme Court has dismissed a suit that charged that the state's education-funding laws were unconstitutional.

The suit, filed by officials in Richland County, contended that the methods used by the state to distribute school-reform funds under the Education Improvement Act unjustly required many districts to raise taxes. No other counties or school districts joined Richland County in the suit.

Gov. Evan Mecham of Arizona has decided not to resign, setting the stage for a recall election on May 17.

The Governor was notified late last month that enough voters had signed petitions to force the new election. Under state law, he was given until Jan. 31 to decide whether to resign or run in the contest.

Mr. Mecham also faces a trial next month and possible impeachment on charges that he illegally concealed a campaign loan in 1986.

Vol. 07, Issue 20

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