State Journal: Drug testing; Career move

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What should Alabama do with a $130,000 windfall that must be spent on sports-related projects? Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to test student athletes for performance-enhancing drugs.

The money is Alabama's share of a settlement reached last year in a price-fixing lawsuit joined by all 50 states against Reebok International Ltd., the athletic-shoe company.

Mr. Sessions recently asked the Alabama High School Athletic Association to administer the drug testing. A spokesman for Mr. Sessions said the attorney general, who has final say over how to spend the money, might give it to individual districts if the association refuses.

The association's board took no action on the proposal, although it may take it up again. Dan Washburn, the director of the association, said the board believes such decisions should be made locally, and added that there is no indication that steroid use is a problem in Alabama.

No state has instituted statewide drug testing of student athletes, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations in Kansas City, Mo., which represents high school activity and athletic groups. It costs $15 to $50 per person to detect marijuana or cocaine and $90 or more to test for steroids.

In Alabama, Mr. Washburn said, $130,000 might pay for one to two years of drug testing. "What good does that do?" he said.

A celebrity job applicant has caught Eatonville, Wash., by surprise.

Former Gov. Booth Gardner has applied to be the superintendent of schools in the 2,000-student school district. Mr. Gardner, now serving as a U.S. international-trade delegate, is one of six semifinalists.

"He wrote a letter saying that he had had two goals: one was to become governor of the state, and another was to become part of a small community," said LaVerne Nelson, one of four Eatonville school board members.

"We're all just kind of shocked about why he would want to come here," Ms. Nelson said. "He's done so many big things."

Although Mr. Gardner has not worked in K-12 education, he has held administrative positions at universities and worked on education issues as a member of the National Governors' Association. And Ms. Nelson, who met Mr. Gardner when she served as a tour guide at the state capitol, recalled that "he's very good with kids."

The board plans to announce a decision on April 23.

--Millicent Lawton
& Jeanne Ponessa

Vol. 15, Issue 29

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