State Journal: Brawling for dollars Date-rape veto

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As a growing number of states face fiscal problems this spring, disputes over education funding are heating up.

In North Carolina, for example, Gov. James G. Martin recently lit into the state's school chief, Bob R. Etheridge, over possible cutbacks in next year's budget.

Mr. Etheridge, a Democrat, had warned that a 5 percent across-the-board reduction proposed by Mr. Martin would lead to the loss of 2,350 teaching jobs and 1,860 other school positions.

"Absurd," the Republican Governor retorted.

Mr. Martin criticized the superintendent for failing to seek other ways of saving money.

"Instead, he offers the least attractive option as the only one," the Governor said. "What if all departments used that tactic?"

In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, a broad coalition of education groups held a rally at the State Capitol last week to protest Gov. Robert P. Casey's budget.

The groups say the Governor's call for a relatively small increase in education spending will leave school districts in a precarious financial position.

But that claim was countered by Secretary of Education Donald M. Carroll Jr., who argued at a news briefing that districts could get by with a little belt-tightening.

"First we have to look at how available money is being spent, like a prudent family," he said. "You look at what you have in your savings account, you look at what you have in other resources, and you try to balance your budget before you decide you have to go out and try to figure out ways to raise money."

Wisconsin lawmakers have upheld Gov. Tommy G. Thompson's controversial veto of a measure requiring school districts to warn students about date rape.

The bill would have mandated that students receive instruction on ways of preventing sexual assault at least three times during their school careers.

Mr. Thompson had been criticized for being insensitive following his veto of the bill last month.

At the time, Mr. Thompson said he feared the measure would force the schools to teach students in grades 1-3 about date rape.

"I didn't know these students dated," he said.

An aide to the Governor said, however, that Mr. Thompson had vetoed the bill for fiscal reasons.

The Assembly voted 61 to 38 this month to override the veto--several votes short of the two-thirds majority required.--hd & dv

Vol. 09, Issue 36

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