The Latest School & University Headlines

Monday, Feb. 5, 2007

Between 1997-98 and 2005-06, the number of Wisconsin school administrators age 60 or older increased by nearly 75 percent, according to the state's Department of Public Instruction. Education officials worry that not enough is being done to line up qualified people to take over from those administrators when they retire. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Texas has become the first state to require all 11- and 12-year-old girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. (New York Times)

In an education world of haves and have-nots, Chicago's suburbs have some of the most glaring disparities in school spending in Illinois, an analysis has found. (Chicago Tribune)

There are about 1 million K-12 student enrollments in virtual schooling across the nation, according to the North American Council for Online Learning. Enrollment, counted as the total number of seats in all online classes, not the number of students, has grown more than 20 times in seven years, and the group expects the numbers to continue to jump 30% annually. (Los Angeles Times)

A Dallas school principal connected to an ongoing investigation into district credit card spending has resigned. (Dallas Morning News)

A teacher at Clay County Elementary School in Fort Gaines, Ga., has been suspended after taping shut the mouth of a fourth-grade student in her class. (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

Archivists and historians are urging Southern Methodist University to reject the George W. Bush presidential library unless the administration reverses an executive order that gives former presidents and their heirs the right to keep White House papers secret in perpetuity. (Dallas Morning News)

After a bus-route consolidation plan in New York City left shivering students waiting for buses in the cold and thousands of parents hollering about disrupted routines, some have renewed their criticism of the city's school system's reliance on outside consultants. (New York Times)

Jefferson Parish (La.) voters will be asked March 31 to renew a 4-mill property tax for school system technology, capital improvements and building maintenance. The tax generates about $9.2 million a year. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

The St. John the Baptist Parish (La.) School Board has closed the deal on a $700,000 purchase of 20 acres for a planned elementary school. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

To improve campus safety, Texas Youth Commission officials have begun telling schools what crimes its newly paroled students committed. Commission workers, including halfway house employees and parole officers, soon will be required to tell principals and other school staff members when the offenses occurred and whether the juveniles are registered sex offenders. (Austin American-Statesman)

Austin (Texas) school district officials are considering a bond election in the next two years to obtain money to build three schools and upgrade existing campuses. (Austin American-Statesman)

Not everyone in Lakeland, Tenn., is happy to hear that Harding Academy plans to build a campus in the city. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

The Cajon Valley (Calif.) Union School District plans to sell a 9.2-acre site--once considered a potential home for a school–to help pay for the construction of new district headquarters. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A vacancy-filled south Irving, Texas, strip mall will be demolished to make way for a satellite campus for North Lake College. (Dallas Morning News)

Many school districts in the Detroit area struggle with declining enrollments, but in Northville (Mich.) Public Schools, the problem is what to do with all the students. (Detroit Free Press)

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Friday, Feb. 2, 2007

Recovery District officials in New Orleans have vowed an end to wait-listing public school students. They promise thta all children not in school will be placed by Monday. Civil rights lawyers have filed a pair of lawsuits seeking to hold the district to that promise. ( New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Wake County, N.C., voters might get a chance to decide whether they're willing to pay higher property taxes to avoid sending students to mandatory year-round schools. The school board has voted 5-4 to study its future building options if a school bond referendum were to succeed this fall. The study would include the costs of eventually eliminating mandatory year-round schools. (Raleigh News & Observer)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has unveiled a higher education plan that would boost spending by $1.7 billion in state and federal funds. (Houston Chronicle)

The Hawaii Department of Education will allow Manoa Elementary School to keep its sixth-grade program until 2013. Parents of students alleged they were misinformed when they voted last year to discontinue the grade level. The state had planned to move the sixth grade program to a middle school in 2007-08. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

As authorities continued to investigate the death of a youth who was being restrained at the Bowling Brook Preparatory School in Carroll County, Md., four young men held there say the school's staff routinely restrained students--sometimes for hours and for minor infractions. (Baltimore Sun)

A Flagler County, Fla., sheriff's deputy used a stun gun to subdue a student at Flagler Palm Coast High School in Bunnell, Fla., after the student allegedly punched the deputy. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)

A rosier enrollment forecast, a prospective housing development and the possibility of state-funded all-day kindergarten have persuaded the Tacoma (Wash.) school district to hold off on plans to announce more school closures. Schools chief Charlie Milligan had planned to recommend two to four more school closures. (Tacoma News Tribune)

The arsenic-tainted site for a planned new Midway Elementary School in the Seminole County, Fla., district may be dumped in favor of a clean location. Superintendent Bill Vogel says that acreage the district might buy for a future high school is clear of pollution and could be a better site for the school. (Orlando Sentinel)

The Sacramento County (Calif.) school board has given the Community Resource Project approval to open Nueva Vision Academy, a charter school in Galt geared toward at-risk, Spanish-speaking students. The vote contradicted county staff and a vote by the Galt Joint Union High School District. (Sacramento Bee)

Construction delays have postponed the first day of classes at The Pine School's new campus in Hobe Sound, Fla., for a least another week. The new campus will house grades 7 to 10, and grades pre-K to 6 will remain at the school's Stuart campus. ( Stuart News)

A deputy mayor and a deputy schools chancellor in New York City are reassuring parents that they are working hard to solve problems caused by changes to the city’s school bus routes this week. (New York Times)

A lunchtime intramural basketball game at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Washington, D.C., turned into a brawl that left a gym teacher injured and four students facing criminal charges. (Washington Post)

Nearly 40 percent of urban high school students in Massachusetts do not graduate within four years. (Boston Globe)

Many schools in California have become popular sites for skateboarders to practice their stunts, and that has administrators concerned. They say skaters elicit complaints from neighbors and tear up benches and rails. Administrators also worry about the risk of serious injury. (Los Angeles Times)

Educators and advocates for more school funding complain that Illinois taxpayers don't supply enough money to adequately educate elementary and high school students in this state. (Chicago Tribune)

One day after a research report panned the test-score performance of outside managers in Philadelphia's public schools, one of those managers--Edison Schools Inc.--says it will seek even more business from the school district. Edison, which operates 20 of the 41 district schools under private management, wants the district to hire it for after-school programming, staff training, data analysis, instructional planning and other services. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007

The Philadelphia School District's privately run schools--the largest experiment of its kind in the country--have failed to deliver higher test scores than the district despite costing an extra $90 million, a study says. Sidebar: Many districts across the country have turned to private companies to run schools, but researchers say the management change hasn't transformed the schools. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Fairfax County (Va.) School Board has approved a plan to spend nearly $795 million over the next five years to build, renovate and maintain schools. The capital improvement program includes $55.3 million to build three elementary schools and about $580 million for renovations at 14 elementary schools, four middle schools and six high schools. (Washington Post)

Catholic school officials in the New Orleans area have received more than 500 phone calls since they offered to take in students being kept on waiting lists by a public school system. Related: The head of the state-run Recovery School District in New Orleans says that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's administration has ignored months of pleas to cut red tape that is strangling efforts to repair buildings and find classroom space for the growing student enrollment in the city. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

With angry parents in an uproar over plans for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Rev. William Maestri will turn over the reins of the school system to a more patient full-time executive. Maestri will step down at the end of the school year, and the archdiocese hopes to hire a replacement by June. Before Hurricane Katrina, the archdiocese had 107 Catholic schools and 48,000 students. Today 88 Catholic schools have reopened, educating 42,000 students. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Officials are trying to determine how six eighth-grade students at Sebastian River Middle School in the Indian River County (Fla.) School District may have become exposed to the insecticide Malathion. The students found a quart container of the insecticide was uncovered when their class was working in the garden on the school grounds. (Stuart News)

An all-modular elementary school in Polk County, Fla., was meant to be an interim facility to ease crowding at other schools until permanent structures were completed. Now officials say the district will be using the modular school for five more years before a permanent structure can supplant it. (Lakeland Ledger)

Broward County (Fla.) school district auditors have discovered that $421,370 worth of property is missing from Piper High in Sunrise. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Business administrators for school districts in Michigan have released a survey showing that more districts across the state could face operating deficits if shortfalls in the school aid fund come out of per-pupil funding. (Detroit Free Press)

A proposed bill in Hawaii would give public schools $40 million over the next two years to air-condition buildings and move toward energy efficiency. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

A 29-year-old who had enrolled as a 12-year-old at an Arizona middle school is part of a web of child predators. (New York Times)

Parents of children at Barrington (Ill.) Community Unit District 220's Woodland Early Learning Center say the facility has serious health and safety issues. They want the district to place a referendum before voters that would include funds to replace the building. (Chicago Tribune)

It seemed like an easy way to save millions of dollars: consolidate school bus routes so New York City was no longer paying for children who never actually rode them. But when the plan went into effect, it left parents raging at Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. (New York Times)

After a public school teacher in the Kearny (N.J.) district was recorded telling students they belonged in hell if they did not accept Jesus as their savior, the school board has banned taping in class without an instructor’s permission, and has added training for teachers on the legal requirements for separating church and state. (New York Times)

The mayor of Country Club Hills, Ill., helped arrest two men Wednesday night suspected in the random shooting of a 15-year-old boy as he was leaving a basketball game at Hillcrest High School. The student suffered a graze wound on his arm. (Chicago Tribune)

School construction costs in Wake County, N.C., are in line with other school systems but can still be reduced, according to an audit. (Raleigh News & Observer)

New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has opened an investigation into the relationships between lenders and the colleges and universities that steer their students toward them for loans. (New York Times)

Boys high school hockey is off the chopping block in the Anchorage (Alaska) school district. The district had been considering privatizing the hockey program as a way to balance its budget. (Anchorage Daily News)

In the aftermath of a fight after a basketball game between Bay View and Bradley Tech high schools in Milwaukee, no students from the schools will be allowed to attend basketball games scheduled over the next few days. Earlier: An overtime victory by Bradley Tech over Bay View sparked a disturbance that injured four police officers and two students and led to at least 10 arrests. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)



A parent of who allegedly attacked a referee, coach and two spectators at his daughter's Fowlerville (Mich.) High School volleyball game last weekend has been banned indefinitely from school athletic events. (Detroit News)



Sophia Academy, a private school for bright students with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, is moving to DeKalb County, Ga., from temporary quarters in Sandy Springs. The school has 128 students in kindergarten through eighth grades. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007

Detroit Public Schools' unprecedented plan to shutter 52 school buildings threatens to derail revitalization plans in pockets of the city where tens of millions of dollars are being invested, redevelopment advocates say. (Detroit News)

If the California legislature approves a proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to change the way school construction is financed in the state, growing school districts would face what they see as a host of bad choices: scale back building plans; ask voters to raise property taxes; try to get more money from developers; or stuff more kids into existing classrooms. The budget proposal calls for reducing the amount the state pays for school construction from 50 percent of the cost to 40 percent. (Sacramento Bee)

Amish residents in Lancaster County, Pa., including relatives of girls who were killed last year by an intruder who entered their school, have banded together to build a one-room schoolhouse about 200 yards from the old one. The school is set to open in March. Amish leaders demolished the old school building after the deadly shootings. (New York Times)

A construction worker died after falling from scaffolding while working on an addition to the Blue Springs (Mo.) school district offices. (Kansas City Star)

High school cafeterias in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Montgomery County, Md., routinely fail to meet federal food safety standards that require them to be inspected twice a year, a study has found. (Washington Post)

Public school teachers in the Detroit area have the highest hourly pay among 66 metropolitan areas, according to a study. (Detroit News)



Georgia officials plan to meet with local educators to figure out how they can persuade private day care centers to serve hundreds of pre-kindergarten students who will no longer be able to attend Cobb County public schools. The Cobb school district is closing its pre-K program because of a shortage of classroom space and less state funding. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The New York City Education Department will open 20 small secondary schools in September, including five schools for students at serious risk of dropping out. But the department, which has struggled to find sites for new schools, did not announce the locations for 10 of them. (New York Times)

The Camden (N.J.) school system operates under unchecked spending and lax internal controls that resulted in more than $13 million in "questionable expenses," according to a state audit. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

An independent audit of the Washington, D.C., government has found serious problems with the public school system's financial controls, Officials who say that the city's fiscal health could be at risk if the lapses are not corrected. (Washington Post)

A series of mistakes and unrealistic estimates has put the Los Angeles County Office of Education more than $20 million over budget as it attempts to upgrade its computer systems. (Los Angeles Times)

The Clark County (Nev.) School District must pay the state $5.5 million by Feb. 22 because a federal audit found it submitted several improper bills for Medicaid funds. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved $2.27 million to help repair flood damage to the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Residents of a mobile home park are concerned about Pinellas County (Fla.) School District plans to build a bus parking and maintenance depot nearby, their fears ran wild. (St. Petersburg Times)

The schools superintendent in the Trenton (Mich.) district has the results of a poll on why voters rejected a $54.2 million bond proposal last year and is asking the public for its suggestions. Most respondents favor a future bond, but 50 percent say the district should ask for less. (Detroit Free Press)

A survey that was intended to help the Farmington (Mich.) district bridge the achievement gap between white and minority students has ended up causing a racial flare-up that officials hope to temper with an upcoming community meeting. (Detroit Free Press)

More than 600 students at the University of Texas were left in the dark when the power failed at a 22-story private student housing complex in Austin. (Austin American-Statesman)

Concerned over being left in the dark about the University of Nevada at Las Vegas Research Foundation's six-figure move to a new office, university system regents are trying to clarify their oversight role in all nonprofit foundations within the system. (Las Vegas Sun)

The former managing director of Chiron charter school in Minneapolis has been sentenced to one year in the Hennepin County workhouse and must repay $285,835 and serve 10 years' probation. Kristin Laxton says she takes full responsibility for misusing state aid allotted to Chiron. ( Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Neighbors around a middle school in Jefferson Parish, La., that plans to add high school grades are raising fears about more vehicles driving to campus and exacerbating traffic congestion. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Wake County, N.C., residents think something needs to be done to deal with record school growth, but a new survey shows they're not sure how to proceed. (Raleigh News & Observer)

A property owner in the Weston, Fla., area has approached the Broward County School District with an offer to sell what appears to be a suitable property to build a new high school. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

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