District News Roundup

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The Clarke County, Ga., school board has adopted the state's first "controlled choice" desegregation plan.

The board voted overwhelmingly last month to put the plan in place in the fall. It replaces a mandatory-busing policy that federal officials had disallowed as unfairly placing most of its transportation-related burdens on black students.

Under the new plan, parents will be asked their choice of public schools for their children. A computer will make student assignments based on parent preference, available space, and a requirement that all schools have black enrollments near the district average of 54 percent.

Because most of the 11,000-student district's schools are closer to its white neighborhoods, the board rejected a proposal to give students living nearest a school priority in its admissions.

Pet Defenders: A parent's safety concerns led officials of a Texas district to ban pets from an elementary school, but a campaign by students won a change of heart--temporarily.

Officials in the 13,300-student Lamar Consolidated Independent School District in Richmond had voted to ban chinchillas, prairie dogs, birds, and snakes--everything but fish in aquariums. But letters, petitions, and telephone calls from students persuaded officials to grant a reprieve.

Students will have until May 25, the last day of school, to find new homes for their pets.

Olympic Agreement: Five Atlanta public schools will have their stadiums and gyms improved under an agreement between the city's school board and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

Three high school and two middle school facilities will be repaired in exchange for their use as training sites for athletes at the Summer Olympics next year.

Seattle Settlement: Union bus drivers in Seattle returned to work last week, ending a 24-day walkout that left 12,000 students searching for alternative transportation to school.

The drivers accepted a proposal from Toronto-based Laidlaw Transit, which provides school-busing services in Seattle. The union, which had not had a contract since September, agreed to terms that provide a retirement-savings package but not the formal pension plan the union wanted.

Vol. 14, Issue 29

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