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Gov. Norman H. Bangerter of Utah has signed a school-choice bill that expands on the state's decades-old policy of open enrollment.

The "public-education options" bill signed by the Governor March 7 will allow parents to apply to have their children attend school in another district.

Districts will be able to exclude all outside students, but those that decide to participate must establish standards for accepting or rejecting students based on program, school, or grade capacity--not on individual students' academic achievement, athletic ability, or discipline problems.

State aid will follow the student to the new district, and sending districts must pay half of the per-student expenditure above the state contribution.

But most districts will probably decide not to participate in the options program, predicted Douglas F. Bates, a lawyer for the state education department.

The new law did not supersede the existing state program, which since 1947 has allowed students to seek transfers to other districts. Under the old law, districts can review transfers on a case-by-case basis.

  • Citing a projected drop in tax revenues, Gov. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa has vetoed a bill providing a $760-million state budget for education.

Mr. Branstad, a Republican, told members of the Democrat-controlled legislature on March 14 that he was vetoing their proposed budget for public schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education programs because it exceeded his recommendations by more than $11.6 million and failed to take into account the anticipated decline in state revenues.

The Governor, who also recently vetoed a $590-million human-services budget, urged lawmakers to trim both measures and send them back to him.

State officials this month lowered their revenue estimate for the coming fiscal year by $51 million.

  • The New York legislature last week gave final approval to a bill giving the chancellor of the New York City schools the authority to transfer principals.

The bill would enact into law an agreement reached between Joseph A. Fernandez, the city's schools chancellor, and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, the principals' union. (See Education Week, March 21, 1990.)

For the past 15 years, principals in the city have been tenured in their particular schools.

  • A Connecticut legislative committee has defeated a proposal to give cities and towns the right to reject binding-arbitration awards for teachers.

The proposal, which would have enabled municipalities to force school officials and teachers' repre8sentatives back into negotiations for 30 days, was offered as an amendment to a bill making changes in the state's binding-arbitration law for settlement of teacher contracts.

The action was taken by the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, which in December proposed several procedural changes in the law.

Many local governments have been seeking the right to reject arbitrators' decisions, arguing that they do not take into account a municipality's ability to pay.

The bill is now before the state's Joint Committee on Education.

  • The Georgia legislature has approved a graduated pay raise for teachers, giving a greater increase to veteran instructors than to beginners.

The plan will give experienced teachers a raise of up to 7.6 percent, while their more junior colleagues will get a 1 percent raise.

Gov. Joe Frank Harris had requested a 3 percent across-the-board raise.

The new salary for beginning teachers will be $18,541; the top salary will be $37,923.

  • Advocates of increasing North Dakota's sales tax to raise more money for the schools have successfully petitioned for a place on the June 12 primary ballot.

The proposal to raise the sales tax from 5 cents to 6 cents would generate an estimated $44 million.

The move comes just a few months after state voters rejected the legislature's attempt to increase sales, income, and motor-fuels taxes, resulting in a severe fiscal crunch.

Vol. 09, Issue 27

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