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Federal and state prosecutors in New Jersey have charged a dozen school officials and bus contractors in a widening statewide investigation of corruption in the pupil-transportation industry.

The probe began with allegations of theft and bribery in the Woodbridge school district. (See Education Week, April 13, 1988.)

The latest round of accusations, brought against officials of six school districts in July, indicates a "very disturbing pattern of corruption,'' according to U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Alito Jr.

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's order requiring a suburban Philadelphia school district to allow a performance by a Christian magician in a school auditorium.

In a one-sentence ruling issued June 16, the appellate panel supported U.S. District Judge Louis C. Bechtle's temporary restraining order last year forcing the Centennial School District to allow a Halloween-night performance by an illusionist affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ. The district had attempted to bar the event, citing its policy forbidding the use of school facilities for religious services, instruction, or activities. (See Education Week, Nov. 4, 1987.)

Judge Bechtle has indicated that he will issue a permanent injunction against the district's policy prior to the start of the upcoming school year.

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops have reached a compromise on teaching about the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS.

At a June 27 meeting, the bishops let stand a controversial church document suggesting that information about condoms may be included in AIDS-education programs. But they also agreed to work on a further clarification of their policy. (See Education Week, Jan. 13, 1988.)

A federal appeals court has overturned a jury verdict ordering the Hawkins County, Tenn., school board to pay $70,000 to a parent involved in a dispute over textbooks.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in July that Vicki Frost's constitutional rights were not violated when she was arrested for trying to remove her daughter from a 2nd-grade reading class at Church Hill Elementary School.

In the wake of the November 1983 incident, Ms. Frost had sued local school and law-enforcement officials, on the grounds that she had been wrongfully deprived of custody of her child.

Ms. Frost was the spokesman for a group of parents who, in a separate suit, sought to have their children exempted from reading classes because certain textbooks violated their religious beliefs. The Sixth Circuit Court ruled against the parents last year. (See Education Week, Sept. 9, 1987.)

Virginia education officials envision "parent resource centers'' as one way of tackling the state's special-education problems.

Staffed by parents, centers in each school district would provide information and assistance to the families of special-education students.

The proposed centers, outlined in a June 23 report to the state school board, were among several steps proposed in response to criticisms in two recent reports of Virginia's education programs for the handicapped. (See Education Week, April 6, 1988.)

The officials also proposed that the state step up its monitoring of special-education programs in local schools and provide inservice training in special education to all teachers.

Thousands of North Carolina students have been turned away from state-funded summer remedial programs because of a shortage of funds.

North Carolina has funded summer school for low-achieving students in the 3rd, 6th, and 8th grades since 1985. But when eligibility for the program was extended this year to all students who failed to meet state or local standards, some school systems lacked the funds to enroll many who had been recommended by their teachers.

The Wake County school system, for example, could not accommodate 2,800 elementary- and middle-school students who had been told that they might be eligible for the program.

Dennis O. Davis, director of support programs for the education department, said the shortage of slots reflected the increased popularity of summer school among parents, as well as a higher-than-expected failure rate in some districts. (See Education Week, June 22, 1988.)

Gerard T. Indelicato, former education adviser to Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme.

Mr. Indelicato pleaded guilty in April to federal charges that he had defrauded the state of $80,000 in adult-education grants. He was ordered to repay that amount to the state. (See Education Week, May 4, 1988.)

Mr. Indelicato has pleaded not guilty, however, to 42 counts of forgery, larceny, and conflict-of-interest charges brought by two state grand juries. The indictments allege that, as a gubernatorial aide, Mr. Indelicato had a financial interest in contracts awarded by the state, and that he forged signatures on consulting contracts awarded to his business partner, Patrick B. Mullarney.

The indictments also charge that Mr. Indelicato, as president of Bridgewater State College, forged documents to obtain land from a foundation that raises money for the college. Mr. Indelicato, who became Governor Dukakis's aide in 1983, was named the college's president in 1986 and resigned in 1987.

Attorneys general from 10 additional states have joined a multistate lawsuit against major insurance companies that charges the firms with illegally conspiring to restrict the liability-insurance coverage offered to school districts and municipalities.

The action by the prosecutors--from Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington--brings to 19 the number of states involved in the case. Attorneys general from nine states filed charges against the companies in March after a two-year investigation. (See Education Week, March 30, 1988.)

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in San Francisco, alleges that 31 insurers, reinsurers, brokers, and a trade association conducted an illegal boycott to limit the availability of general liability insurance.

Vol. 07, Issue 39 Extra Edition

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