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A state judge in Kentucky has ruled that private-school students in two counties who need remedial summer classes may enroll in public-school summer programs without being charged tuition.

The injunction issued last month by Franklin Circuit Judge Joyce Albro has effectively opened up public summer remedial programs to virtually all private-school pupils in the state who need them, said Kenneth Dupre, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.

Parents of two children in Roman Catholic schools in Fayette and Campbell counties had filed suit against the state education department over its requirement that districts charge tuition for summer-school programs for any pupil who normally attends a nonpublic school. (See Education Week, June 12, 1991.)

Judge Albro rejected arguments by lawyers for the state and two school districts that opening up the summer remedial program to private-school students would indi6rectly provide public aid to private schools.

A small New Hampshire-based testing firm has won the competition to develop the state of Kentucky's pioneering new assessment system.

Advanced Systems in Measurement and Evaluation Inc., which has developed alternative assessments in Vermont and Maine, among other states, outbid such larger firms as the Educational Testing Service and ctb/Macmillan/McGraw-Hill. A team of five national testing experts, which advised the board of education on the process, said the Advanced Systems bid was "conceptually cleaner, more responsive to the request for proposals, and technically superior" to those from other companies.

Although the firm's proposal called for $29.5 million over five years to operate the assessment system, the exact amount the state will provide must still be negotiated, according to Jim Parks, a spokesman for the state education department. The first-year funding for the assessment will be $3.5 million, he said.

Kentucky's new assessment system, a central element of the state's 1990 education-reform law, is expected to be, when fully implemented, the first statewide system to measure student abilities exclusively through the use of performance-based assessments, rather than multiple-choice tests. It will also be used to reward and punish schools on the basis of performance. (See Education Week, May 8, 1991.)

The Boston public schools cannot use teacher layoffs as an excuse for not achieving and maintaining court-ordered goals for hiring minority teachers, a federal judge has ruled.

Responding to plaintiffs who had asked the court to reopen the city's landmark desegregation case to address the question of lagging hiring rates for minorities, U.S. District Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. said the district should base its layoff decisions on affirmative-action guidelines, not seniority. (See Education Week, May 8, 1991.)

Judge Garrity also reaffirmed the right of the district superintendent to transfer white teachers from the city's Latin School so that more black teachers can be hired.

School officials responded by developing a plan to hire more African-Americans and other minorities in the district, where minorities represent almost 80 percent of the student body but fewer than 35 percent of classroom teachers.

A federal judge has refused the state of Missouri's request to place the Kansas City schools under state receivership.

U.S. District Judge Russell G. Clark, who has been overseeing desegregation in Kansas City, rejected the state's claim that a state receiver was needed to keep the district's finances on track.

The judge did, however, order the district to make the cuts necessary to balance its operating budget and criticized recent salary increases given to district administrators as "astonishing."

Judge Clark also said he would consider ordering the state to pay some of the district's operating expenses directly related to desegregation. (See Education Week, Feb. 27, 1991.)

Teachers and office workers in the financially strapped Cincinnati public schools will receive 4 percent salary increases for 1991, 1992, and 1993 if voters pass a tax-levy increase in November.

Teachers, who had been working without a contract since January, had planned to stage a one-day strike in the fall.

The tentative agreement, said Tom Mooney, president of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, "paves the way for a united effort to pass the next school levy."

Under the proposed three-year contract agreement reached last month, third-level "career teachers," who have advanced educations and outstanding evaluations and experience, would also receive $1,000 salary increments beginning in September 1992.

The accord, which will be put to a vote of union members at the start of the coming school year, also incorporates a tougher student-discipline code and pilot school-based management programs. In addition, it would create a committee of union leaders and administrators to oversee reform initiatives.

The contract would also entitle the parties to reopen all economic matters should the levy fail. Cincinnati voters last approved a school levy in 1987.

In April, the state agreed to guarantee a $27.1-million loan to the district, which was nearing bankruptcy. (See Education Week, April 10, 1991.)

District of Columbia officials and lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union have agreed on a plan to revamp the city's troubled foster-care system and substantially reduce worker case loads.

In a first-of-its-kind decision, a federal judge this year ruled Washington's system unconstitutional, maintaining that it failed to protect children from harm. (See Educa6tion Week, May 1, 1991.)

Under the agreement, which is pending approval by U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, the Center for the Study of Social Policy would monitor the system and have substantial authority to bring it into compliance with the law within three years.

Marcia Robinson Lowry, director of the a.c.l.u.'s Children's Rights Project, said the plan "contains all the elements of a good child-welfare system that were absent." It could become a model for other cities, she said.

The plan would set new requirements for worker training, services to help preserve families, timetables for timely placement and adoption when warranted, increased foster-parent-reimbursement rates, and computerized record keeping.

It would limit the case load of workers providing services to children in foster care to 20 and also set limits on case loads for child-abuse investigations, handling adoptions, providing home-based services, and serving special-needs children.

Ms. Lowry estimated that the city will have to triple its number of caseworkers to comply with the new limits.

Bowing to pressure from the state and the city's government, the Paterson, N.J., school board last month voted to end its opposition to a state takeover.

In response, New Jersey Commissioner of Education John Ellis ordered the education department to begin oversight of the district in anticipation of a vote by the state board of education at its Aug. 7 meeting to seize control of the state's third-largest school district.

The Paterson board initially had resisted last April's announcement by Mr. Ellis that the state would begin moves to take over the district, which Mr. Ellis contends is ineptly managed. State officials say Paterson has not been certified since 1976. (See Education Week, April 24, 1991.)

The board's lawyer, Joseph J. Ryglicki, said the board opposed the move mainly to "set the record straight" on what members felt were exaggerated charges of mismanagement.

A panel of experts convened by former Boston Schools Superintendent Thomas McDonough has recommended the elimination of student tracking in the city's public school system.

The report by the 18-member panel, com6posed of educators, teachers, parents, and school administrators, called on the schools to use staff training to increase heterogeneous student grouping, and to fully integrate such programs as Chapter 1, vocational education, bilingual education, and special education into regular classroom programs.

The panel also recommended the elimination of most grade retention and the expansion of ungraded programs.

The panel recommended a three-year time frame for enacting the proposals, identifying pilot schools in the first year to full implementation in all Boston schools by the third.

A report by the Massachusetts Advocacy Center, a nonprofit children's advocacy group, also called for an end to the system. (See Education Week, March 28, 1990.)

Edward Dooley, executive director of the Boston Compact, stressed the need for the district's new superintendent, Lois Harrison-Jones, to support the panel's recommendations.

"The criteria for picking a new superintendent included a commitment to detracking, and she has been given a powerful set of recommendations to support," said Mr. Dooley.

Vol. 10, Issue 40

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