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The superintendent of the Las Vegas, Nev., public schools has proposed ending the busing of elementary school students out of the predominantly black western section of town.

Superintendent Brian M. Cram of the Clark County school district, which includes Las Vegas, late last month announced a plan to allow students in West Las Vegas to attend neighborhood schools rather than be bused elsewhere for the sake of desegregation.

The plan, drafted in response to school boycotts and other protests by black parents in West Las Vegas, calls for the district to abandon a desegregation program it adopted in 1972. (See Education Week, Oct. 14, 1992.)

Under the existing student-assignment plan, schools in the western part of the city are used to educate 6th graders bused in from throughout the district. Except for 6th graders, West Las Vegas students are bused to other sections of town.

The plan proposed by Mr. Cram calls for the neighborhood's "6th-grade centers'' to be transformed into innovative schools with a multicultural focus for children in prekindergarten through 3rd grade, as well as grade 6.

As proposed, West Las Vegas children would have a choice of enrolling in their neighborhood schools or attending schools in other areas, while children from other areas would have the option of attending the West Las Vegas schools.

With an estimated enrollment of 136,000 students, the district is one of the nation's 15 largest.

The school board will consider the plan after a public hearing.

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered the state of Georgia to pay 15 percent of the costs of desegregating the Savannah-Chatham County public schools.

The judge added, however, that local officials should bear the brunt of the school-desegregation costs because they have the "overwhelming responsibility for perpetuating the dual system'' of separate black and white schools.

U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield issued the order late last month as a follow-up to his August ruling that the state had historically supported school segregation and, therefore, should help pay district costs for remedying it. (See Education Week, Sept. 9, 1992.)

The judge last month ordered the state to make an initial payment to Savannah-Chatham County of $6.69 million, 15 percent of what the district spent on desegregation last year. The settlement includes funds for capital outlays, transportation, and magnet programs.

Observers expect the decision to spur other districts to seek help from the state in paying for their local desegregation efforts. DeKalb County had already filed a similar suit.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig of California has lost a bid to have his indictment on conflict-of-interest charges dismissed.

The state's Third District Court of Appeals late last month summarily denied the appeal by Mr. Honig to quash any further prosecution of the case.

The superintendent was indicted by a state grand jury in March on charges that he used his position to influence local districts to enter into contracts with the Quality Education Project, a nonprofit foundation headed by his wife. (See Education Week, April 1, 1992.)

Mr. Honig has denied the charges.

The case is scheduled for trial in early January. Mr. Honig's lawyers are expected to file one last appeal for dismissal in Sacramento Superior Court later this month.

Vol. 12, Issue 09

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