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Gov. John Waihee 3rd of Hawaii was expected to sign this week a bill that will radically restructure the state's education system.

The bill aims to give schools increased independence and responsibility. (See Education Week, Feb. 9, 1994.)

Under the new law, 40 percent of central-office administrators will now be working for the schools, rather than for the state education department.

The bill also separates state education funds--which make up 90 percent of education dollars in Hawaii--into administrative and instructional money, capping administrative funds at 6.5 percent of the total education budget. Instructional dollars will go directly to schools.

Included in the legislation are two constitutional amendments to be put before voters in November. One asks whether the statewide school board should remain an elected body or be appointed by the governor. The other amendment would reduce the board's role to statewide policymaking, leaving the administration of the education department to the schools superintendent.

The bill also includes provisions for charter schools and for the establishment of a commission to oversee restructuring efforts.

Background Checks: Wisconsin teachers will be required to undergo criminal-background checks, under a new state law.

The measure requires background checks for those seeking or wishing to renew teaching licenses. The state plans to fund the background checks by boosting teacher-license fees.

Vol. 13, Issue 33

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