News in Brief

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Gov. Guy Hunt of Alabama has acted to make available to schools $14.2 million in funding that had been set aside in this year's education budget.

The Governor announced at a news conference this month that tax receipts earmarked for education were sufficient to release the funds, which had been included as "conditional appropriations" in the state's $2.4-billion education budget this year.

Of the total, $2.6 million will be used to reimburse school districts for a state-mandated, 7.5 percent pay raise for teachers. The remaining funds will go for textbooks, capital improvements, supplies, and transportation, Mr. Hunt said.

Utah's public- and higher-education systems could save up to $3 million a year by coordinating purchasing practices, according a legislative audit.

Auditor General Wayne Welsh called on the legislature to appropriate $200,000 to $300,000 to allow education agencies to hire more workers to coordinate purchasing.

Such efforts could result in substantial savings, since schools in the state spent $160 million last year on food and supplies, the report said. The report lauded educators for purchasing more through the state, but it called for even more buying to be done through state contracts.

A growing number of states are offering community-service opportunities to young people, a National Governors' Association survey has found.

States are becoming the pivotal players in the creation of a network of youth-service programs across the country, the study suggested.

Of 42 states responding to the survey, 30 have some form of community-service program. In addition, 13 have a policy specifically to increase youth-service opportunities.

Seventeen states reported having a coordinating mechanism at the state level for their youth-service programs, while 14 said they collected and disseminated information about such programs through a state office.

The survey indicated that 20 states are currently developing initiatives on youth service.

Gov. Richard F. Celeste of Ohio, who has proposed that schools in his state offer youth-service opportunities, urged in the report that all states emulate successful service programs in existence.

The Vermont affiliate of the National Education Association has called for reforms in the state's property-tax system, in the wake of the rejection by voters of 37 local school budgets this year.

The union's plan, presented to legislators this month, would permit homeowners to deduct $50,000 from the assessed value of their primary residence, saving them an average of $900 a year.

To help reimburse communities, a surcharge of up to 20 percent of a property-tax bill would be imposed on second homes and some commercial property.

Marlene R. Burke, the union's president, said the plan was not designed to raise additional revenue, but to curb the growing number of school-budget defeats in the state.

Vol. 09, Issue 04

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