Districts News Roundup
Boston's Mayor Flynn Intervenes In Search for New Superintendent
Mayor Raymond Flynn of Boston has offered to help the divided Boston School Committee with its fitful searcheachers, we make it difficult to be certified," said Molly Reed, a lobbyist for the Florida Teaching Profession, an affiliate of the National Education Association.
"I know of several people who were waiting to be certified who said, 'The heck with you,"' she said. "That's something we can't afford.''
Ms. Reed and Mr. Voss expressed disappointment over the budget for the next fiscal year, which would provide the slowest growth in education spending in years.
"It's a maintenance budget, one that will get us by," said Mr. Voss.
Ms. Reed also noted that the actual increase may be smaller than 5.4 percent, since the budget provides a portion of state funds only to districts that increase local property taxes by 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The legislature rejected a plan to require local jurisdictions to raise property taxes, she added.
"The school boards have to take the flak," the union lobbyist said.
But Mr. Voss noted that, despite the relatively small increase, the budget provides more funding for education than did the one proposed by Gov. Bob Martinez. That budget, which would not have enabled school spending to keep up with inflation and enrollment growth, had sparked protests and an advertising campaign by the state's two teachers' unions.
Ms. Castor's spokesman also noted that the legislature agreed to create a fund for school construction--fi8nanced by an increase in the tax on utilities--that would provide "millions of dollars" over the next 10 years. While the fund would benefit public schools, he said, it would be a particular boon to community colleges and universities, which have no other source of construction funding.
Testing, Sex Education
In other action in its two-month session, the legislature:
Approved Ms. Castor's plan to revamp the state's testing program. Under the plan, the state would replace the existing minimum-competency tests, administered in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, with new norm-referenced achievement and writing tests in grades 4, 7, and 10. The new tests would focus more on measuring higher-order and problem-solving skills.
Adopted a controversial plan to require the teaching of sex education in grades K-12, after rejecting a provision that would have authorized districts to establish school-based health clinics.
Rejected a proposed "children's bill of rights," which would have placed before the state's voters a constitutional amendment guaranteeing that the legislature provide for the needs of all children to age 18.