District News Roundup

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Oklahoma City Schools Get Federal Aid For Counseling

The Oklahoma City public schools will receive a $1.4 million federal disaster grant to offer counseling to schoolchildren in the wake of last April's bombing of the federal building there.

The one-year grant came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, officials announced this month.

It will pay for administrative staff members, 20 licensed clinicians, 30 graduate interns, and 10 community liaisons to provide counseling and support to students and their families.

The April 19 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building left 169 people dead and hundreds more injured. About 300 of the district's 40,000 students said that a family member or someone else close to them was killed or injured in the blast, The Daily Oklahoman reported.

Building-Supply Stockpile

Chicago school officials have discovered millions of dollars worth of building supplies stashed away in the district's warehouses.

The supplies, worth an estimated $5 million, were discovered during inventories this month of five school system warehouses, district officials said.

The discovery was the latest in a series of similar finds. School officials have been conducting inventories of the facilities in an effort to get the district's finances in order.

Paddling Conviction Overturned

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned a teacher's 1992 conviction for assault in the paddling of a 4th-grade student.

The 1991 charges should have been dismissed because the teacher did not cause serious injury to the girl, a three-judge panel said in a unanimous ruling last month.

Anita Holbrook paddled the student at Lawton Elementary School in Carter County in October 1990. She was not charged until nearly a year later after the girl's parents filed a complaint. Ms. Holbrook received a $500 fine.

Ms. Holbrook, who now teaches at Olive Hill Elementary School in Grayson, could not be reached for comment.

Employee Payback

A Washington state jury has directed a public school employees' union to pay $1.08 million in back pay and damages to its former executive director, who was fired in March 1994.

Public School Employees of Washington, based in King County, had fired Jerald Vaughn due to conflicts over management of the employees of the 22,000-member group.

The union did not pay him for the remaining 39 months of his five-year contract, despite a clause in his contract requiring them to do so, according to Jim Handmacher, one of Mr. Vaughn's lawyers.

A union spokesman said last week the group did not plan to appeal the decision.

Suit Over Demotion

A school administrator in Texas is suing his district, claiming that school officials demoted him after he spoke out against a bond proposal.

Lewis Anderson asserts that the superintendent forced him into a lower central-office position after he refused to accept money to resign. The district also asked him to publicly support the Dec. 2 ballot measure, he said.

The 40,000-student Pasadena district is trying to raise $45 million to build a new high school and renovate another building.

Kirk Lewis, a district spokesman, denied Mr. Anderson's allegations last week. He said Mr. Anderson did not lose pay or job status, although his position changed during a reorganization. The associate superintendent now oversees projects for the district.

Professional-Development Teams

The Indianapolis public schools and Indiana State University have jointly formed professional-development sites at five Indianapolis schools.

Teachers and administrators from each site began working last month with the university's education faculty and students to improve the learning of elementary students while preparing new teachers for the classroom. Schools in the program commit to a five-year partnership.

The program began in 1991 with 10 sites in four Indiana school districts. The addition of the Indianapolis schools increased the number of sites to 15.

Asbestos Contamination

A library and six classrooms in a Colorado elementary school were closed after falling ceiling tiles contaminated the area with asbestos and injured six 4th graders.

Officials from Colorado Springs School District 11 said the asbestos-laden tiles fell from a classroom ceiling earlier this month at Monroe Elementary School. One student was treated for neck pain. Five others were treated for minor bruises.

The fallen tiles broke, contaminating surrounding rooms with asbestos, said Tracy Cooper, a spokeswoman for the 33,000-student district.

Exposure to asbestos, once widely used as a building material, can cause lung ailments.

Vol. 15, Issue 13

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