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The education committee of the Idaho House has rejected comprehensive school-finance revisions proposed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jerry L. Evans.

Panel members have indicated they will consider a scaled-down version of the plan, however.

Mr. Evans's proposal, announced last month, would have altered the state's existing school-finance system to favor districts with low levels of property wealth.

The plan would have provided significant amounts of additional state funding to only about 30 percent of the state's schools. Those schools, however, enroll some 70 percent of Idaho students.

Implementing the proposal would have cost an estimated $18 million. (See Education Week, Jan. 24, 1990.)

In another development, the state Senate has approved an open-enrollment bill. Under the bill, districts would be allowed to decide if they will receive students, but would not be able to prevent students from applying for transfers.

The Iowa Senate voted last week to ease a restriction on athletes who transfer to a school outside of their home district under the state's open-enrollment law.

By a 28-to-16 vote, the Senate approved a change in the 1989 open-enrollment law that would allow students to retain their athletic eligibility if they transferred before entering 9th grade.

Currently, students who transfer after entering 8th grade are ineligible for athletic competition for one year. The provision is designed to discourage the recruitment by outside districts of star elementary-school athletes.

The Georgia House has approved most elements of a package of child-protection bills sought by Gov. Joe Frank Harris.

House-passed bills would create a statewide clearinghouse for information about child-abuse cases; require local child-protection panels to review suspicious childhood deaths; require autopsies for suspicious deaths of children under 7 years old; and allow limited access to child-abuse records.

Lawmakers rejected, however, a bill that would have required anyone with knowledge of child abuse to report it to authorities. But a4weaker version of the measure did pass, and a spokesman for the Governor said Mr. Harris would attempt to restore the bill to its original form in the Senate.

An Alabama Senate committee has killed a proposed constitutional amendment declaring an effective system of public education "an essential function" of state government.

The measure, drafted by Attorney General Don Siegelman as part of his gubernatorial campaign platform, was a "symbolic move" to place education high on the public agenda, a spokesman said.

While Alabama's constitution initially included such language, it was removed following the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 school-desegregation ruling. Instead, new language was added stating that "nothing in this constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense."

The proposed amendment, tabled by the Senate Education Committee on a 6-to-3 vote, also would have prevented the legislature from prorating, or cutting back, the state education budget when tax revenues fell short.

Gov. Norman H. Bangerter of Utah has signed legislation providing $10 million to districts for textbooks.

The Governor had vowed early this year that every Utah pupil would have the proper textbook and school supplies--a goal the one-time appropriation seeks to ensure.

Districts must use their allocation for textbooks unless they certify to the legislature and the state board of education that they already have sufficient books.

A top official of the Oklahoma education department has lost his job amid allegations he was campaigning for the state superintendency on state time.

David Fisher, who was director of the department's accreditation division, announced his candidacy after the current superintendent, Gerald E. Hoeltzel, said he would run for the state Senate.

The two officials then worked out guidelines for Mr. Fisher designed to eliminate any conflict of interest.

Although he admits to voicing reservations about the school-reform bill currently before the legislature, Mr. Fisher denies he broke any of the rules worked out with Mr. Hoeltzel.

Mr. Fisher said he was fired after being told he was "a distraction in the department." He said he will continue his campaign.

Vol. 09, Issue 23

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