State Journal: Information, please; Familiar agenda; Corporate raiders

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Some members of the Kentucky Board of Education say they too often had trouble obtaining timely information from Alice McDonald, the former state school chief.

Ms. McDonald is gone now, having been replaced by John Brock in last November's elections. But with their difficulties with the past chief still fresh in their minds, board members recently voted to seek funds from the legislature to form their own research staff.

The board's decision last month came over the objections of Mr. Brock, who pledged to cooperate fully with the panel prior to its vote. He said he would support the notion of creating a separate school-board staff if, after working with him for two years, the board still felt its needs were not being met.

Board members assured Mr. Brock that he was not the problem, but voted 7 to 6 to seek the funds nevertheless.

Under the resolution, the board requested $100,000 annually to hire two researchers. Members said they would use the money only if they determined that the education department was not addressing their needs.

Finance, the teaching profession, and school governance remain the top concerns of the heads of state legislatures' education panels, according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"The sage who once said, 'The more things change, the more things stay the same,' could have been speaking about the education concerns of state legislatures," the group noted in reporting the results of its annual survey of education committee chairmen.

Other priority areas identified by lawmakers include: holding schools more accountable for student outcomes; sustaining the reform drive of the early 1980's; addressing the needs of at-risk students; increasing funding for special education; school construction and renovation; aids education; and expanding early-childhood education programs.

The Nevada affiliate of the National Education Association has launched a petition drive to force the legislature next year to impose a new profits tax on corporations doing business in the state, with all revenues earmarked for education.

If the petition is signed by 10 percent of the registered voters in 14 counties, lawmakers, who will not meet in regular session until 1989, will be required to consider the tax measure during the first 40 days of the session.--tm

Vol. 07, Issue 21

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