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The power of school administrators to censor student newspapers would be limited, under a measure approved late last month by the Wisconsin legislature.

The bill would protect student newspapers from censorship except in cases where the material to be published was considered libelous or obscene or was thought to cause disruption in the school. An amendment to the bill would also permit school administrators to censor advertisements they deemed inappropriate.

The measure was a response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, which expanded school administrators' rights to curtail some forms of student speech.

If Gov. Tommy G. Thompson signs the bill into law, Wisconsin will become the fourth state to establish censorship protections for student press in the wake of that 1988 decision, according to the Student Press Law Center. Kansas enacted a similar measure in February. (See Education Week, Sept. 20, 1989.)

The Georgia legislature has approved a measure to require school boards to review the material taught in sex-education classes.

Under the measure, parents would have to be provided written notification about their right to review the material as well as their right to hold their child out of sex-education classes. A 1988 law required all school districts to offer sex education.

The bill also bars instruction about issues that encourage violation of state law, which prohibits homosexual sodomy and intercourse between unmarried people.

An Oklahoma bill to create statewide guidelines for transfer of students between school districts has failed to get out of a legislative study committee.

The House panel voted 8 to 4 late last month not to send the bill to the House Education Committee.

The bill's House author, Representative Dwayne Steidley, has argued that a statewide set of rules was needed because some districts are more strict than others about allowing transfers.

But Representative James Hager, the chairman of the study committee, said the panel did not want to authorize the state education department to promulgate regulations for open transfer without first reviewing the rules.

Property-tax bills in Texas rose more than 14 percent in 1991 as the result of a school-finance bill passed by the legislature, according to the state comptroller's office.

Total school taxes were more than $7.5 billion in 1991, up from $6.6 billion a year earlier, a financial survey indicated. Homeowners saw property-tax bills rise an average of 6 percent, while businesses saw increases of as much as 39 percent.

Tax bills were pushed higher by the establishment of 188 county education districts, which were required to set a minimum property-tax level. The system has already been declared unconstitutional by the state supreme court, although the court allowed the levies to stand through next year.

Vol. 11, Issue 29

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