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The Colorado Senate has adopted a measure that would exempt nearly 200 buildings from adhering to the requirements of the federal asbestos law.

The bill would exempt 183 buildings administered by the state's Department of Institutions from being classified as schools. The buildings are used as as educational facilities for the mentally retarded and for children in mental hospitals and juvenile-corrections institutions.

The federal law requires all schools to inspect for asbestos and to submit management plans for containing the substance by May 9.

Sponsors of the Colorado bill said its purpose was to save the state from having to spend $200,000 for inspections and the development of management plans for these buildings.

The Kansas legislature has adopted a new school-finance formula that would generally benefit rural districts.

The new formula contains a provision for two-year averaging of district wealth as a way of offsetting the effects of higher property values that resulted under the state's new reappraisal program.

The formula also contains an 87.5 percent "hold harmless" provision for districts that may lose money as a result of the reappraisal program. The legislature is expected later this month to appropriate $5.7 million to carry out this provision.

The formula would also allow districts that spend below the median in per-pupil expenditures to raise their budgets by an extra half-percent, from 4 percent to 4.5 percent.

Gov. Cecil D. Andrus of Idaho has vetoed a bill that would have imposed a limit on certain funds used to support education.

The measure would have limited to $418.6 million the amount of state support for precollegiate education from both the general fund and a special endowment fund. By eliminating the limit, the Governor has allowed an expected $2.4-million surplus in the endowment fund to be used for education.

North Dakota's governor has signed legislation that will make it easier for parents to teach their children at home.

The new law, which expires at the end of June 1993, allows parents who have only high-school diplomas to teach their children under the supervision of a certified teacher from their local school district. Parents with college degrees can teach without supervision, provided they follow the state-mandated curriculum, file annual statements with local officials, and have their children take an annual standardized test.

Senator David O'Connell, the education-committee member who managed the bill on the Senate floor, said it was regarded as a fair compromise by both educators and home-school advocates.

"We have four years to find out if it works," he said.

The Indiana Senate has voted to restore many of the provisions of an education bill backed by the state's Democratic governor that had been altered by a Senate panel.

In order to address concerns of the Republican school superintendent, the Senate education committee last month made several modifications in Gov. B. Evan Bayh's "Project Excel" program.

The full Senate, which cleared the bill on a 41-to-9 vote last week, restored a provision scrapped by the panel that would direct $8 million in funds for at-risk children to preschool education.

Reversing other actions of the panel, the Senate also voted to count two days for parent-teacher conferences as part of the 180-day school year, and to establish an autonomous licensing board with a teacher majority to set standards for the profession.

Bowing to Superintendent of Public Instruction H. Dean Evans, however, the Senate kept intact a $10 million performance-awards program he had favored. It also adopted another measure he had sought that would toughen the passing standards for statewide standardized tests.

Differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill must now be reconciled by a conference committee.

A coalition of Utah business and education leaders has presented Gov. Norman H. Bangerter with recommendations for strengthening the partnership between the two interests.

In its report to the Governor, the Utah Partnership for Educational and Economic Development says the state can expand its economy through an orchestrated effort to "help education become more responsive to the needs of business and industry."

The group recommends more market-driven training programs, more attention to basic education, enhancing college and university research to stimulate new business, and improving the image of Utah's economic, educational, and cultural assets.

A series of committees is being formed to develop more specific recommendations for each of the broader objectives.

Vol. 08, Issue 30

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