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Cleveland District Cancels All Administrators' Contracts

The Cleveland public school system, projecting a $146 million shortfall for this school year, has canceled the contracts of the district's 330 administrators.

Central-office staff members, principals, and other administrators will have to reapply for their jobs after the state-run district completes an administrative restructuring this spring. The revamped bureaucracy will reflect the 73,000-student district's move to a more school-based structure, school officials said in a letter announcing the contract cancellations last month.

Under the reorganization, "staff positions and compensation will be based on effectiveness, not longevity," Superintendent Richard A. Boyd said in the announcement. "Those employees with a 'this too shall pass' attitude toward change are hereby advised that long-term contracts will no longer protect ineffective or apathetic people."

Edison Contract Delayed

The Edison Project has run into a roadblock with its contract to manage two schools in the Dade County, Fla., school district.

The Miami-area district announced last December that it would turn over two schools to the New York City-based private-management company in the fall. Edison is supposed to take control of one new and one existing elementary school, but district officials have had trouble lining up an existing school. At least six schools have rejected any consideration of the idea. Last month, teachers at Fienberg-Fisher Elementary School in Miami Beach voted 35-28 against the Edison Project.

District and company officials are still discussing their options.

Desegregation Plans

The Kansas City, Mo., school district has proposed closing two middle schools and making changes to magnet schools to help meet the district's desegregation goals while operating under a tighter budget.

The five-year desegregation plan includes converting two magnet high schools and one magnet middle school to comprehensive schools. While the current desegregation plan aims for a 65 percent minority-enrollment rate at the district's magnet schools, the new plan raises that goal to 75 percent.

The budget cuts stem from a U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer that freed the state of Missouri from some of its obligation to help pay for the district's desegregation costs. State aid to the district is expected to decrease from $110 million this year to about $74.5 million.

The plan must meet the approval of U.S. District Judge Russell Clark, who is expected to make a ruling this summer.

Anti-Harassment Policy

The Dallas school board recently approved an anti-harassment policy to demonstrate its stance on a host of social issues after a former board member was recorded last year making racist, sexist, and anti-gay remarks.

The board unanimously passed a policy against racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and sexual-orientation harassment and abuse on March 28. The policy is meant to protect students and employees from discrimination and taunting, district officials said.

Board members began drafting the measure after Dan Peavy was recorded making derogatory remarks while he was still on the board. After the taped remarks became public last fall and sparked widespread outrage, Mr. Peavy apologized and resigned.

Allegations of Molestation

Eleven New Mexico students have filed a state lawsuit against the 14,000-student Gallup-McKinley district's school board and two former school employees, alleging sexual molestation by the employees.

Last month's suit follows federal civil-rights suits filed by the plaintiffs last summer. According to the plaintiffs, the district continued to employ Charles E. Johnson and Theodore M. Leyerly after both were accused of sexually molesting several male students.

Mr. Leyerly was a counselor in the district in 1981 when he resigned amid allegations he had molested students. He is now serving two consecutive nine-year sentences after having confessed to unrelated molestation incidents.

Police arrested Mr. Johnson last fall, and he is awaiting trial on criminal charges stemming from allegedly molesting numerous male students. He retired as the principal of Gallup High School in 1991.

The suit alleges that the school board caved in to legal threats by Mr. Johnson rather than discipline him or report the allegations to police.

"Nothing like that happened," said Frank J. Albetta, the Sante Fe attorney representing the board. Mr. Albetta said the board forced Mr. Johnson from his position after discovering pornography in his office.

"The only other time there had been any suggestion, it had been investigated, but there was no substantiation of the claim," he said.

Fatal Beating Alleged

A 16-year-old student at a strict religious school in rural Missouri was slashed and beaten to death by three of his classmates, according to police officials.

Will Futrelle, a student at Mountain Park Baptist Academy, was killed on March 25 after apparently refusing to go along with classmates' plans to seize the school by force, police officials in Wayne County, Mo., said last week. The death is still under investigation.

An 18-year-old student has been charged with first-degree murder in the case. A hearing was scheduled for late last week to decide whether two 15-year-old classmates also will be charged as a adults.

The Rev. Bobby Wills and his wife Betty, who operate the school for troubled youths, declined to comment on the incident.

Vol. 15, Issue 29

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