Districts News Roundup

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Two school officials in the District of Columbia were reassigned and another lost his job last week after revelations that the district has spent less than 1 percent of a $395,000 grant for dropout prevention.

The director of the dropout program told officials that he had been unable to hire the personnel needed to implement the major objective of the one-year federal grant--the creation of individualized education plans for 400 at-risk junior-high-school students.

The dropout director was forced to resign when it was revealed that he had ended that portion of the grant program without seeking clearance from the district's superintendent, Andrew E. Jenkins.

The deputy superintendent, Cecile Middleton, and one of her assistants were also reassigned when the school board demanded ac5p6tion after learning of the unspent funds.

Mismanagement of the dropout program is the latest and most serious of a series of charges leveled at Mr. Jenkins by board members dissatisfied by his performance after nine months in the post.

A 14-year-old high-school student in Jefferson City, Mo., shot and killed himself March 15 during class, according to a district spokesman.

School officials said they had not yet determined why Donald Payne committed suicide, but they noted that he had been receiving counseling for an emotional problem.

There were 21 other students in the classroom at the time of the shooting, the spokesman said.

A new District of Columbia law setting a curfew for those under age 18 was blocked last week by a federal judge.

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had filed suit against the city, charging that the law violates young people's constitutional right of free association, according to Elizabeth Symonds, a staff attorney for the chapter.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey last week granted a 10-day temporary restraining order barring enforcement of the law.

A North Carolina school board's plan to move from an at-large representation system to one in which board members will represent specific districts has been approved by a federal judge.

The settlement came in a lawsuit filed against the Nash County board of education by minority plaintiffs, who agreed with the board's efforts to switch to the new system.

The board, all of whose current members are white, designed the plan to attract minority representation by creating three districts that have a majority black population.

The board called for the lawsuit because it was concerned that the legislature might not approve the change, said Anthony W. Brown, the lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Vol. 08, Issue 27

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