District News Roundup
Approximately 550 public-school employees in Cleveland face layoffs and some schools may close as a result of the school board's recent decision not to vote on whether to place a school levy on the May ballot, district officials said.
The board last month failed to vote on a 9.8-mill operating levy that the district's superintendent, Frank J. Huml, said was needed to offset a projected $30-million deficit by the end of the next school year.
Several board members said the public was not likely to support the levy, however, and their decision not to act on the measure effectively ensured that they would miss the deadline for placing the question on the May 7 ballot.
Mr. Huml said administrators affected by the reduction in force would be notified by March 31 and would work through August, while teachers would be notified by April 30 and would work through the close of the school year on June 15. Other school employees could lose their jobs earlier, he said..
To help reduce the size of its elementary-grade classes, the Minneapolis school district is planning the unusual move of leasing unused suburban and parochial-school classrooms, district officials have announced.
According to Gerald R. Menefee, the district's associate superintendent for finance and operations, the district also plans to hire approximately 350 new teachers to help reach a teacher-student ratio of 1 to 22 for the fall 1991 term and 1 to 19 by 1993-94.
Adoption of the goals follows voter approval of a $160-million tax increase, spread over six years, Mr. Menefee said.
He said that in some instances the district will rent space in empty school buildings, including those owned by parochial school systems. In other cases it will use temporary, portable classrooms and renovate unused rooms or space in other school buildings to produce classrooms. Three schools also will be built, he said.
Trustees of the City University of New York last week unanimously called for the development of course standards for its incoming students.
The trustees have asked Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds to develop a plan that would outline a series of college-preparatory courses all high-school students would be required to complete. If the students had not sucessfully completed the courses in high school, they would be required to take them as cuny students.
The trustees expect the strategy to complement similar plans under consideration by the New York City Board of Education. Although cuny has an open-admissions policy, officials said the new standards were designed to improve the level of preparation students bring to the system and that the standards would not scuttle open admissions.
"Our goal is to enhance students' chances for success in college and the workforce and to provide them with the greatest number of career choices," said James P. Murphy, chairman of the board of trustees. "There is a strong correlation between the completion of a college-preparatory curriculum and academic performance and success in college."
The trustees directed Ms. Reynolds to submit her plan in early 1992, with the idea that it will be implemented in the fall of that year.
The parent of a senior at a Georgia high school was recently arrested when he attempted to bring lunch to his son in the school cafeteria.
In three separate incidents in mid-February, Jim Pattee, owner of a delicatessen in Blairsville, brought food from his shop to the cafeteria at Union County High School. School policy prohibits the presence of commercially prepared food on school grounds.
The school claims that Mr. Pattee refused to follow this policy, but he asserts that he removed all commercial wrappings from the lunches after the principal first warned him of the violation.
"It's so ludicrous, I'm beside myself," Mr. Pattee said
Mr. Pattee is a member of a parent organization that recently attended a school-board meeting to complain about, among other things, the lunch policy. Mr. Pattee believes his involvement in this effort may be related to his arrest.
Earl Odom, superintendent of Union County school district, said Mr. Pattee was arrested not because of the food, but because of his unauthorized presence on school grounds. Mr. Pattee maintains that he went through the principal's office for each visit.
"I followed school visitation policy and I did not compromise the lunch program," Mr. Pattee said. "They don't have the right to prevent me from having lunch with my son."
His court hearing is set for May 6.
A 16-year-old Maryland youth was shot and killed last week by a police officer during an early-morning struggle inside a school building.
Rahsaun Landrum Richardson of Forestville, Md., was shot twice by Cpl. Mary Shields and pronounced dead at Andrew Jackson Middle School, said Cpl. James Shaffer, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Police Department.
The teenager, a student at Largo (Md.) High School, allegedly was attempting to steal computer equipment, Corporal Shaffer said.
The youth was one of two suspects discovered hiding in the school auditorium after When Corporal Shields and her K-9 dog escorted the youths outside, Mr. Richardson began to struggle with her, police said. The teenager was able to grab the dog's chain and struck the officer's head and face with it. Believing her life was in danger, the officer shot him, according to police.
The other youth, a 15-year-old, was charged as a juvenile with breaking and entering, police said.
A Texas woman has been indicted on a charge of trying to hire a hit man as part of a plot to improve her daughter's chances of making her junior-high-school cheerleading squad.
A Harris County grand jury last month charged Wanda A. Holloway, 37, of Channelview, with one count of solicitation of capital murder, according to a county assistant district attorney, Alice Brown. Ms. Holloway, who is free on $10,000 bond, faces up to life in prison if convicted.
The indictment says Ms. Holloway tried to get her former brother-in-law to hire someone to kill Verna Heath, who is the mother of a girl on the cheerleading squad that Ms. Holloway's daughter was trying to join, Ms. Brown said.
Ms. Brown declined to elaborate on Ms. Holloway's scheme, nor would she confirm the amount of money that was to have been paid to the hit man.
Ms. Holloway was slated for arraignment late last week.
Principals in the Dallas Independent School District will experience a new kind of teamwork as district officials begin pairing school administrators in hopes of raising students' achievement-test scores.
After a generally poor showing on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, the Dallas district said last month it will team principals from schools that recorded low scores with their peers from higher-scoring schools in an effort to raise the average grade.
About 60 percent of the students in the district failed at least one part of the standardized test, which assessed students' reading, writing, and mathematics skills.
police responded to an alarm, police said.
Vol. 10, Issue 24