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The New York City school board voted last week to modify the city schools' condom-distribution program to give parents the option of denying their children access to condoms.

The 5-to-2 vote followed a state appellate court's ruling last month that condom distribution is a health service, rather than an educational one, and must include an "opt out'' provision for parents.

The new policy, developed by Schools Chancellor Ramon C. Cortines, allows parents who do not want their children to have access to condoms to complete a form, which will be kept on file at the school.

The chancellor said he plans to send letters to parents next week to explain the new policy. In the meantime, the old policy will remain in effect.

Charter Ruling: The Michigan Employment Relations Commission has ruled that the Detroit school board's plan for chartering schools does not violate labor contracts.

The decision clears the way for the board to grant its first charters to five schools, thereby giving the schools more autonomy over curriculum, budget, and staff selection.

The union representing Detroit's school administrators had challenged the charter plan soon after its adoption in March 1992, alleging that the board violated fair-labor practices by failing to get union approval of the provisions bearing on contracts.

The commission said the school board adequately involved the union in developing the plan, which leaves room for bargaining related to contract provisions. (See Education Week, April 21, 1993.)

School Reforms Suspended: The Littleton, Colo., board of education, three of whose five members were elected last November pledging to return the schools to "traditional education,'' voted last month to put a moratorium on the district's efforts to develop performance outcomes for students. (See Education Week, Oct. 27, 1993.)

The board also is expected to vote this month to reinstitute traditional graduation requirements, or the completion of a certain number of Carnegie units in each subject, at its three high schools. Littleton High School had been considered a pioneer in developing an outcomes-based-graduation system.

Vol. 13, Issue 17

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