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A federal appeals court has rejected claims by a black educators' group that Las Vegas school officials intentionally segregated students.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last month upheld a lower-court decision dismissing the suit the Las Vegas Alliance of Black Educators had brought against the Clark County school board.

The suit, filed in 1989, alleged that district officials intentionally discriminated against black students by building several new schools in predominantly white sections of the Las Vegas Valley while building none on the city's heavily black west side. (See Education Week, Oct. 14, 1992.)

The court, however, held that the plaintiffs failed to show such decisions were made with discriminatory intent. It cited last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Dekalb County, Ga., case holding that school segregation is not unconstitutional if it is caused strictly by housing patterns.

The appellate court also rejected claims that the district had engaged in discrimination because many school staffs are overwhelmingly white and many schools lack black administrators. Such statistics do not prove segregation in a district with a population that is 10 percent black, the court held.

The Los Angeles school board last week overwhelmingly approved a pay agreement with its teachers' union, ending months of tense relations between the groups and heading off a teachers' strike that was to have begun May 7. (See Education Week, May 5, 1993.)

The pact, which restores 2 percent of a 12 percent teacher-pay cut, is expected to cost the district $36 million this year.

After school officials unexpectedly received a $35 million reimbursement for desegregation costs from the state late last month, a superior-court judge lifted a restraining order that barred the board from approving the plan until it could prove it could pay for it.

Speaker of the Assembly Willie L. Brown Jr. persuaded state officials to release the funds, according to Shel Erlich, a spokesman for the district. Mr. Brown, who brokered the agreement between the district and the union, had promised to help the schools find new funds to pay for the plan.

Superintendent Sid Thompson indicated last month that the schools' financial troubles may not be over when he announced that the district still faces an estimated $143 million shortfall in the current fiscal year.

Pennsylvania's Independent Regulatory Review Commission has approved the regulations for the state's controversial outcome-based education reform.

The commission, which must clear all state regulations, voted unanimously in favor of the measure last week. Its approval, however, may not be the last hurdle the reforms need to clear.

Although the state Senate has supported the reform, the House has voted to block the initiative and may continue to do so.

The long-awaited reforms, which emphasize mastery of learning outcomes rather than course requisites, have been in the works for three years.

State education officials had hoped to begin implementation last fall, but a loose coalition of opponents successfully lobbied state lawmakers to slow the process.

Their efforts also prompted Gov. Robert P. Casey and key legislators to revise the outcomes. (See Education Week, April 14, 1993.)

Vol. 12, Issue 33

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