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A study by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln explores "critical incidents" Nebraska superintendents have experienced with their school boards.

In interviews with 80 of the state's 310 superintendents, Marilyn L. Grady and Miles T. Bryant identified 151 such incidents.

Conflicts over board members' children, relatives, and friends--particularly in regard to athletic activities--were the most commonly cited incidents.

"Board member behaviors included threatening the superintendent, intimidating the coach, lobbying other board members, and, in one instance, having a coach terminated because his daughter was not 'properly treated' on the basketball team," the report says.

Superintendents also described school-board members who evaluated personnel and purchased items without the superintendent's knowledge; ran for the school board with the intent of firing the superintendent and principal because they did not support the wrestling program; hired principals contrary to the superintendent's recommendation; and held unauthorized meetings outside the regular board schedule.

The study is available for free from Ms. Grady, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1204 Seaton Hall, Lincoln, Neb. 68588.

Four Indiana school superintendents resigned to take positions as principals in 1989, a development the state superintendents' association attributes to increased job pressure.

In addition, said Charles Fields, executive secretary of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, the Salem superintendent will return to teaching in July, with a $25,000 cut in pay.

The workload in school districts has grown with the education-reform movement's emphasis on accountability, Mr. Fields noted. In rural districts, many superintendents have had to collect, analyze, and report school data themselves.

Pressure to hold down school costs while trying to increase teachers' pay also has contributed to low morale among the state's 290 superintendents, he added.

Carnegie Mellon University's School of Urban and Public Affairs welcomed its first class of prospective principals last week under a new program designed to hone teachers' management and leadership skills.

The two-year program of part-time study is the first outside a school of education to be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

"The philosophy is that teachers already have the teaching skills, and what they need is basic management skills," a school spokesman said.--ab

Vol. 09, Issue 18

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