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Several district-level vocational-education officials in Ohio have been accused of using fraudulent reports to misappropriate almost $1 million in local, state, and federal funds over the past decade.

Three current and former officials of the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School District, and three others from the Belmont-Harrison Joint Vocational School District, have been accused of exaggerating course offerings and enrollments to get extra money for their budgets.

The state board of education has begun disciplinary action against all six officials, who, if found guilty, risk losing the state certificates that entitle them to be teachers, administrators, or school-board treasurers.

The Ashtabula district already has repaid $438,000 in state and local education funds, while the Belmont-Harrison district has been ordered to come up with a reimbursement plan, according to a state educa6tion department spokesman.

Paul Brickner, a member of the state education board, has asked Gov. George V. Voinovich to order an investigation of the department based on district allegations that a department official encouraged the submission of falsified funding applications.

The Illinois State Board of Education has endorsed a new plan to make public schools in the state accountable for student learning.

Under the plan, schools seeking state recognition will be evaluated on a variety of student-performance measurements. State officials said a school's student performance will be compared with state goals for language arts, mathematics, social sciences, biological and physical sciences, fine arts, and physical development and health.

Schools also will be evaluated on their rates of student attendance, retention, expulsion, graduation, and post-graduation placement. Schools must also continue to meet statutory requirements in such areas as safety and staff certification.

Schools that exceed educational expectations will be monitored less often and given more flexibility in meeting standards. Schools that fail to meet expectations will face more frequent visits from state monitors.

Schools that fail to meet standards or make sufficient progress could end up on an "academic watch list." If a school is on the watch list for four years, with no improvements, the state could assume control of the school, the board warned.

The new system is expected to be in place by the 1992-93 school year.

Vol. 10, Issue 28

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