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New Mexico state education officials have taken over the financial affairs of the Espanola Public Schools after the district failed to meet state requirements for providing financial information.

"There have been a number of business-management problems which have occurred in the district in the last several years," said Stan Rounds, associate state superintendent for school management. Problems include poor bookkeeping and an inadequately trained financial staff, officials said.

This is the third district in as many years to have its finances taken over by the state education department, Mr. Rounds said. State supervision lasted six to eight months in the other two cases.

The Espanola district, near Santa Fe, has 6,000 students and an annual budget of approximately $28 million, Mr. Rounds said.

A Colorado school district's ban on the distribution of religious and political publications by students violates their freedom of speech, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch ruled against the East Otero School District, where two students were suspended from La Junta High School in 1987 for distributing "Issues and Answers," a newspaper published by Student Action for Christ Inc.

The district had argued that distribution of the religious newspaper interfered with the school's educational mission and violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.

But Judge Matsch rejected the arguments, writing that "a school policy completely preventing students from engaging other students in open discourse on issues they deem important cripples them as contributing citizens."

Ten current and former Dallas high-school students have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 25 years for their roles in 11 armed robberies in the Dallas area over the past year.

State District Judge Joe Kendell also ordered that an 11th youth be sent to a prison boot camp for young offenders; a 12th was put on probation.

Among those sentenced was 17-year-old Gary Edwards, a football player at Dallas's Carter High School who led his team's drive for the state championship after winning a challenge to Texas's controversial "no-pass, no-play" regulation.

The judge lectured the students as he announced their sentences, according to Rodney Davis, a spokesman for the Dallas school district.

An elementary-school principal in suburban Washington resigned last week after school officials decided that he had "compromised the security of his school" by allowing a male prostitute to use the building after school hours.

Harry Pitt, superintendent of the Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools, said in a statement that he would not have recommended that Gabriel A. Massaro be retained if the principal had not resigned his $67,975-a-year job at Chevy Chase Elementary School.

Mr. Massaro was implicated in the sex scandal involving Representative Barney

Frank of Massachusetts, who has admitted having a sexual relationship with Stephen L. Gobie, a male prostitute. Mr. Gobie told The Washington Times last month that he had been sexually involved with Mr. Massaro, who had let him use a school guidance counselor's office to make appointments with clients.

Mr. Pitt noted that the school investigation found "no evidence of criminal conduct on [Mr.] Massaro's part, nor any evidence of improper conduct involving children or other staff members."

The oldest public school in the nation has received a $1-million gift from an alumnus.

Marshall S. Cogan, a New York businessman, will make the donation to the Boston Latin School over the next three years. The school recently received the first third of the gift.

The high school will use most of the money for college scholarships to graduating seniors. Funds are also earmarked for a language laboratory and for teacher enrichment, said Cornelia Kelley, assistant headmaster.

The school, which enrolls students from across the city, was founded in 1635. The gift is the largest it has ever received.

All teachers, directors, and students in grades 7 through 12 at Indianola Academy in Indianola, Miss., must submit to a urinalysis on demand or face dismissal under a policy implemented at the beginning of the school year.

The private school's drug policy is one of the most stringent in the nation. Students who test positive for drugs for the first time must undergo counseling; those who test positive a second time face suspension from extracurricular activities.

Meanwhile, the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) County Commission has endorsed a drug-testing program for all public-school students.

The proposed program, which would apply to approximately 13,000 1st- through 12th-grade students enrolled in the coun6ty's schools, would require all students to undergo urinalysis before the start of the school year and periodically thereafter. Dogs would be used to search for drugs on school grounds.

The commission voted last month to give the county's highway-safety coordinator permission to seek a source of funding for the tests.

Des Moines voters have approved a $14.5-million bond issue and a 10-year extension of the city's schoolhouse levy to finance the repair and construction of schools.

Both measures passed easily in elections late last month. Combined with other revenue sources, the bond issue and levy extension are expected to raise about $55.5 million for school-building improvements.

City officials had warned that Des Moines would lose students to the suburbs if its schools are dilapidated when an open-enrollment plan takes effect next year.

A rule banning students from carrying backpacks and book bags to class appears to have quietly won acceptance at six high schools in Atlanta.

"We haven't had anyone directly complain," Murdell McFarlin, public-information officer for the Atlanta public-school system, said of the ban, which went into effect at the beginning of the school year. She said the schools' principals, with support of local parent-teacher associations, adopted the measure as a way to stem the flow of "food, drugs, and other contraband" into the classroom.

Under the rule, students may bring their bags to school, but they may not use them to tote books between classes.

The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, located in Atlanta, has received no complaints about the policy, according to Hilary Chez, the chapter's director.

According to one school administrator, the ban may eventually be extended to the district's other 11 high schools.

Vol. 09, Issue 05

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