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Lost art

For Stone Ishimura, the treasure hunt is over. The Los Angeles Unified School District's art curator this month finally finished cataloging about $20 million in art that the district has collected over the years.

To inventory the bounty amassed since 1900 when the first works were given, the retired teacher has been inspecting every basement, hallway, and dark corner of the district's 668 schools for the past decade.

Among his findings, Mr. Ishimura recently discovered a plein-air painting and a landscape watercolor of early California settlers that were tucked behind water pipes and long forgotten. His search also uncovered scores of Greek and Roman artifacts, hundreds of oil and watercolor paintings, and numerous photographs.

Most of the artwork was donated by graduating classes or wealthy patrons over the years.

The collection may once have been even larger because officials suspect that many pieces were sold or stolen. "We don't know how many were thrown out or walked out of the school since 1900," Mr. Ishimura said.

As the district is barred by law from selling the art, leaders of the 681,000-student system are consulting with local museums to determine how best to protect the collection. The district plans to integrate the works into a new arts curriculum.

Special honor

Membership has its privileges.

That's what students in the Northgate district in Pittsburgh are going to find out. The school board voted 8-1 last week to implement "special privilege" restrooms in the 1,700-student district's high school.

The restrooms are not intended to be for students with the best grades, but rather to provide all students who sign a bathroom honor code with a smoke- and hassle-free environment.

The idea emerged because of complaints from students who attend the grades 7-12 school. Some of the younger children were being harassed or intimidated by upperclassmen, and student smokers are also a big problem, according to Superintendent James C. Manley.

Any student can use the restrooms, as long as he or she is willing to sign the code.

Once students have signed the agreement, cards will be issued to give them access to the special bathrooms, which are expected to be available in four to six weeks. The project is estimated to cost between $6,000 and $8,000 to purchase the cards and access boxes for the restrooms.

--Jessica Portner & Karen L. Abercrombie

Vol. 18, Issue 9, Page 3

Published in Print: October 28, 1998, as Take Note

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