A federal judge has approved a plan to transfer 10 minority students from the Kansas City, Mo., schools to a suburban system, but concerns over court-ordered oversight of the transfers may cause the effort to collapse.
U.S. District Judge Russell G. Clark ordered the oversight Sept. 5 when he approved the plan to transfer the students to the Missouri City school district, the only one of more than 20 districts that agreed to participate in a voluntary-interdistrict transfer program. (See Education Week, May 2, 1990.)
Last week, the Missouri City school board voted to refuse the oversight by the state's desegregation-monitoring committee, according to Belinda Turner, the board's vice president.
School-board members "don't want to see their authority impinged," said Jay Jackson, district superintendent and principal of the participating elementary school. "It's a simple but deep philosophical issue."
Both Mr. Jackson and Ms. Turner said they would withdraw from the state transfer program to avoid the committee's oversight and search for private funding to keep the 10 students in school.
If the district refuses to comply with the oversight, approximately $100,000 in state funds could be cut off, Mr. Jackson said. If no funding alternatives can be found, the students might have to return to their inner-city schools, he added.
Eugene E. Eubanks, the desegregation committee's chairman, said his panel only wants access to information that would safeguard the minority students' well-being.
Judge Clark could issue a ruling on Missouri City's revised transfer plan by the end of this week, a spokesman for the judge said.
New York State's attorney general has appealed a federal-court ruling that barred disclosure of test questions under that state's "truth in testing" law.
Acting in a case brought by the Association of American Medical Colleges, U.S. District Judge Neal P. McCurn ruled in January that the disclosure of test questions and answers conflicted with federal copyright law. Citing that ruling, testing agencies later sued and won a settlement that permitted them to administer college-admissions tests without disclosure. (See Education Week, Jan. 31, 1990.)
Daniel Smirlock, an assistant attorney general for the state, said that, in his ruling, Judge McCurn did not consider "factually controversial" evidence about the effect of disclosure on the value of the test questions and answers. "All we are saying is, you should have heard the evidence," Mr. Smirlock said.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit could consider the case as early as Oct. 29, he added.
School officials in Jersey City, N.J., have taken the city to court to collect $14.9 million in payments they allege are overdue.
In a lawsuit filed this month, officials of the state-run district asked the New Jersey Superior Court to order the city to pay the balance of the $90.9 million in local tax revenues due the district during the 1989-90 academic year.
In turn, the city has sued the state, claiming it cannot complete its budget process until the state sets local aid figures.
The city was scheduled to pay its first installment of $7.3 million for the current school year last Friday.
"The practical problem is how much cash can we put our hands on," said Charlotte Kitler, a lawyer for the district. "Right now, we have enough cash to get us halfway through September."
Since the state declared the district academically bankrupt and took over its operation last October, Ms. Kitler said the 27,000-student school system has eliminated 117 positions, saving more than $1 million, and reorganized the central administration. (See Education Week, April 18, 1990.)
Anchorage district officials have dropped the lawsuit they filed against the city's police department after a search of school offices last year.
School and city officials reached an agreement Sept. 4 stipulating that each side would pay its own legal expenses and that the lawsuit against the police department would be dropped.
School officials sued after the police searched district offices last fall as part of an investigation of a teacher-student sex scandal. The police were searching for evidence that school officials had covered up evidence of a relationship between the teacher and a 17-year-old student. (See Education Week, Oct. 25, 1989.)
The district charged in its suit that police broke state and federal laws protecting the confidentiality of student and personnel records. All but one of the charges in the suit were dismissed last summer. The teacher was charged with sexual abuse of a minor, but a judge later ruled that no crime was committed because the student was older than 16, the age of consent in Alaska.
Left-side emergency doors will be standard equipment on the biggest buses Kentucky school officials buy over the next year, the state school board decided last week.
In addition to the extra emergency door on buses seating 60 or more passengers, the state board will require a fourth pull-out emergency window on all new mid-size school buses.
The state estimates that districts will buy more than 200 transit-type buses with the new escape door over the next year. State education department officials last week were unable to say how much the new safety features would increase the cost of a bus.
The added escape routes and a handful of minor interior safety modifications are the result of an intense statewide bus-safety debate following a May 1988 church-bus crash in Carrollton, Ky. Twenty-seven people died after a collision and fire blocked the front exit and passengers were unable to reach the rear door. (See Education Week, May 25, 1988.)
Vol. 10, Issue 3