State News Roundup

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The National Education Association-Alaska has filed suit against the administration of Gov. Walter E. Hickel, charging that some state retirees are being treated unfairly by the Teachers Retirement System and the Public Employees Retirement System.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 25 in state superior court, charges that some younger retirees have been denied cost-of-living increases similar to those received by older retirees; that retirees older than age 65 are paying more in premiums but receiving fewer medical benefits; and that the administration has "arbitrarily" denied cost-of living increases to some retirees even though the retirement plans are financially sound.

"The retirement programs are being administered in a way which discriminates on the basis of age," charged Don Oberg, president of the N.E.A.-Alaska, which represents some 7,000 classroom teachers and support staff members in the state.

An official of the state's division of retirement and benefits said last week that he and other state officials had not yet seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

The Iowa Board of Education is considering a rule that would prohibit high-school athletes from playing on nonschool teams composed of more than one of their school teammates and coached by their school coaches.

Under the proposal, for example, a girl who wanted to play on her school's basketball team could attend a summer basketball clinic. But she could not participate in a scrimmage if more than one other member of her school team played in the game or if the summer coach was her school's coach.

Proposed for the 1992-93 school year, the rule changes would prevent coaches and teams from using the summer for team practice and would enable more teenagers to participate in a variety of sports, according to Kathy Collins, a legal consultant for the Iowa education department.

"The whole idea is to keep sports in perspective," Ms. Collins said.

But some groups have expressed opposition, including the Iowa American Legion. "All of our Legion baseball teams are basically the high-school teams," said Jim Demarest, the group's state adjutant. "It would just kill Legion baseball in Iowa.

State education officials have extended the public-heating process from the typical one day session in Des Moines to three evening hearings at various sites across the state.

A decision is expected in mid-December at the earliest.

A politically conservative group in Arkansas has filed suit to block the distribution of condoms to students in state-funded school clinics.

The Family Council, in a suit filed in Pulaski County court last month, said the distribution of condoms in state-funded school clinics is a violation of a 1991 state law that prohibits the use of state funds to buy or distribute condoms in public schools. Currently, 3 of Arkansas's 20 comprehensive school-based clinics distribute contraceptives.

Officials at the state health department said that only federal and private monies are earmarked for the condom-distribution program.

Vol. 11, Issue 06, Page 2

Published in Print: October 9, 1991, as State News Roundup
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