News in Brief
Gov. George S. Mickelson of South Dakota has vetoed a bill altering the state's year-old "report cards" of public-school performance.
Mr. Mickelson wrote in his Feb. 14 veto message to the legislature that he was rejecting the measure because it would have required that report cards be issued on a district basis, with school reports averaged so that there was one each for elementary, middle, and high schools.
"This type of averaging would only mask the data applicable to each building and, thereby, minimize the value of the information," Mr. Mickelson wrote.
"The passage of this bill makes a mockery out of the commitment to educational accountability that we and all taxpayers agreed to two years ago," the Governor added.
The report cards include information on enrollment, curriculum, standardized-test scores, and dropout rates.
The averaging of reports, Mr. Mickelson said, would also put small districts at a disadvantage. Because many operate only one of each kind of school, they would not be able to take advantage of averaging the data.
Ten pilot districts volunteered for performance report cards for their schools in 1991, and this year report cards will be released for all 798 accredited schools in the state.
Gov. Mario M. Cuomo violated the New York State constitution by failing repeatedly to submit budget bills to the legislature by the mandated deadline, a state appeals court has ruled.
The ruling, handed down this month, said the "clear and unambiguous" language of the constitution requires the governor to deliver the bills at the same time he presents his spending proposal to lawmakers.
Until this year, Mr. Cuomo had not met a deadline for budget-bill submission since 1984. His budget presentations, however, were on time.
In 1991, Mr. Cuomo sent over his budget to the legislature on Feb. 1, but another 30 days passed before he submitted 119 bills. As a result, lawmakers had only a month before the deadline for approving the budget, which state leaders have consistently missed.
"Cuomo budget practices have brought New York State to the brink of financial ruin," said John J. Faso, one of three Republican members of the Assembly who brought suit against the Governor. "The ruling forces the executive to reveal its proposed tax and spending plans, giving the public the ability to truly assess the state budget."
Any education bills passed by the Mississippi legislature would have to be accompanied by a source of funding, under a bill passed by the House.
The bill, sponsored by the chairman of the House Education Committee, Representative William J. McCoy, is in response to the fate of Mississippi's BEST, a school-reform plan proposed by former Gov. Ray Mabus that passed the legislature in 1990 but fell into limbo because of the lack of an agreement over where to find the money to pay for its new programs.
Under the new measure, any education measure without a designated funding source would automatically be killed.
A bill to allow Michigan teachers to use force when needed to quell student disruptions was hung up in the legislature last week, after the House and Senate disagreed on its wording.
The measure was sent to a conference committee after the House rejected wording in a Senate version of the bill that allowed teachers to use force "to maintain order and control" in the classroom.
A 1989 law banning corporal punishment in schools allowed teachers to use force to defend themselves or to prevent students from hurting each other. But the Michigan Education Association has complained that the law prevents teachers and school employees from using reasonable force to maintain order.
The South Carolina budget and control board has agreed to spare state schools from at least part of a 1 percent across-the board funding cut it ordered earlier this month.
Following an announcement that revenues for the current fiscal year have been lower than projected, the beard which is made up of the governor, state treasurer, comptroller general, and two legislators--ordered the round of cuts in state programs, which resulted in an $11million reduction in the state's education-foundation program.
After lawmakers and the state education department protested, however, the beard voted to exempt schools from cuts of about $5.5 million.
In two earlier rounds of cuts this fiscal year, schools have lost about $33 million.
Vol. 11, Issue 23