July 3-7

Papers from the Columbine shooting show detailed plans (Chicago Tribune): Almost 1,000 pages of new documents from the shooting at Columbine High School, Littleton, Colo., were released Thursday. The papers include step-by-step plans made by the killers, essays, school work and computer files. The new material gives details about the killers' activities in the months before the attack.

Falling short on student testing (The San Diego Union-Tribune): The Education Department reports that 34 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have major problems with the tests that should have been in place in the school year that just ended. The states could lose the money they receive to administer the No Child Left Behind law unless the problems are improved in the coming year.

Health clinics to open at public schools in New Orleans (The New Orleans Times-Picayune): Five health clinics are scheduled to open at New Orleans public schools in the upcoming school year. The clinics will provide primary healthcare and immunizations to students and the public, and are viewed as a major step toward establishing public schools as community anchors.

Online high school planned for San Diego County (San Diego Union-Tribune): The University of California intends to introduce an online academy for San Diego County students Aug. 28. As many as 125 full-time ninth-graders will be accepted to take all of their classes from home via computer.

Switching to private busing saves Iowa district $1 million. (The Des Moines Register): In spring 2005, leaders of the Ankeny (Iowa) School District signed a three-year contract for transportation with Durham School Services. Officials originally estimated a savings of $300,000, but now the savings brought on by the switch is estimated at $1 million over three years.

Detroit school board looks to market district buildings (The Detroit News): The Detroit school board is taking inventory of the district's buildings and evaluating their potential for use or sale. Some of the buildings will be marketed to community groups and developers.

New Orleans school board approves two real estate purchases (The New Orleans Times-Picayune): The St. Charles Parish (La.) school board approved the purchase of a former Kmart building and about two acres of land. Officials plan to use the store for storage and as a computer processing center. The land is intended to house a new maintenance center.

New York Legislature Won't Allow More Charter Schools (New York Times): New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's push to create more charter schools has fallen short. The Legislature has refused to lift the cap on the number of charter schools. also: New York City Charter School Will Not Go Into School for the Gifted ( New York Times): In an abrupt turnabout, New York City has decided not to place a new charter school in the building of the New Explorations Into Science, Technology and Math school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

School reform in New Orleans (New Orleans Times-Picayune): No one ever thought fixing New Orleans' public schools would be easy. But now, after decades of failed reform efforts, the city's schools might finally have a shot at real, substantive change.

L.A. Unified Losing Staff to Charters (Los Angeles Times): Amid the continuing growth of charter schools in Los Angeles, hundreds of teachers and administrators have left the city's school system to take jobs at the independently run campuses.

Federal standards put schools in quandary (Miami Herald): Florida's education chief might defy the No Child Left Behind law unless federal officials take a more moderate stance on school accountability rules.

Vallas' future in Philadelphia is uncertain (Philadelphia Inquirer): Is Paul Vallas' tenure as head of Philadelphia schools coming to an end? At a recent private meeting, one School Reform Commission member said the district might be ready for a new leader--a "bureaucrat" rather than a "messiah."

Three Ohio charter schools merging into their districts (Akron Beacon-Journal): Three public school districts near Canton, Ohio, will merge their online charter schools into their regular operations to save money and avoid duplication of services.

Dallas school system suspends use of district credit cards (Dallas Morning News): Dallas school Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is suspending the use of district credit cards after an investigation found millions of dollars in wasteful spending, lax oversight and violations of state procurement laws. earlier: Credit card oversight is lax in Dallas district (Dallas Morning News):An investigation of the Dallas school system has found thousands of suspect purchases on district credit cards. also: Credit card used for gifts: Dallas school employees like to use their district-issued credit cards to reward students and staff with catered meals, "incentive" gifts and other awards--to the tune of $2.7 million over two years.


THIS WEEK'S QUOTE:

"I don't know if I can get rid of all of them, but I can tell you there will be a lot fewer of them around."

--Dallas school Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, on problems with district-issued credit cards. Read the Dallas Morning News article.


University of California plans to launch an online academy (San Diego Union-Tribune): The University of California is starting a virtual public high school for San Diego County students. The UC Online Academy is scheduled to open Aug. 28 and will accept as many as 125 full-time ninth-graders, who will take all their classes from home via computer.

Seattle school board plans to tap budget reserve (Seattle Times): The Seattle school district plans to spend reserves to shore up next year's budget, banking on school closures and changes to the district's transportation system to balance the budget in 2007-08.

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