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The Ohio Department of Education has accepted a revised and reduced version of the Cleveland public-school budget, thus avoiding a court battle with the district over finances. (See Education Week, Oct. 23, 1991.)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ted Sanders and the Cleveland school board late last month agreed on a district budget for fiscal year 1992 that includes $11.6 million in spending cuts.

The superintendent, who must review the district's budget under the terms of a federal desegregation order, had threatened to go to court to force the district to adopt a "fiscally responsible" budget.

A spokesman for the state education department said that Cleveland still faces some financial problems in the 1993 fiscal year, but that district officials adopted a sound budget for this year after meeting privately with state officials.

A circuit-court judge in Fairfax County, Va., has ruled that the Fairfax school board had the authority to freeze teachers' salaries to balance its budget.

The Fairfax Education Association sued the board last spring, after board members decided not to give teachers the 3.8 percent longevity increases specified in their contract. The union unsuccessfully argued that by doing so the board was violating its own policy, state law, and the teachers' constitutional due-process rights. (See Education Week, June 5, 1991.)

Union leaders said they do not plan to appeal the decision.

Delmis Donta, the eastern Kentucky superintendent who faced dismissal by the state following a misdemeanor misconduct charge, shocked state officials last week by asking for a continuance of his removal hearing and then resigning his post after a postponement was granted. (See Education Week, Oct. 2, 1991 .)

About 90 witnesses were on hand in the state capital of Frankfort to testify at Mr. Donta's hearing, and officials said reporters from across the state had almost filled a local hotel in anticipation of a marathon proceeding.

Instead, after asking for a delay--the first on the state's charges-Mr. Donta offered a 30-minute speech recalling his career and announced his resignation.

Last week, the Boyd County school board was awaiting the return of a board member to officially accept Mr. Donta's resignation. The state had already suspended the superintendent and appointed an interim head of the 4,100-student district.

Also last week, Mr. Donta was found guilty on the misconduct charge after he failed to appear for his fifth court date. A family spokesman said Mr. Donta was being treated as an outpatient at an Ohio hospital at the time of the trial.

He will be sentenced later on the misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $250 fine.

By selling a plot of land for $3 million, the financially troubled Mobile County, Ala., school system has postponed the shutdown of its schools that officials had predicted would occur last week.

The state's largest district has been negotiating for two years to sell the 306-acre vacant lot located in an industrial area, said Gene Tysowsky, a district spokesman. The land was never meant to be a school site, officials said.

But proceeds from the sale, expected to close this month, will only carry the district through Dec. 1, and officials are still searching for a longer-term solution. State legislators, for example, are considering several tax proposals.

The school district was hit particularly hard by Gov. Guy Hunt's declaration of an across-the-board, $145-million cut in the state's education budget that went into effect Oct. 1. (See Education Week, Oct. 16, 1991 .)

Four other districts--Chambers County, Marion County, Walker County, and Wilcox County-have also announced that budget woes may force them to shut their doors sometime before the end of the school year, said Harry Toothaker, a state department of education spokesman. .

Vol. 11, Issue 10, Page 3

Published in Print: November 6, 1991, as News Updates
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