The Star-Ledger reports that the New Jersey Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in a suit over whether Gov. Chris Christie’s cuts in education spending are unconstitutional. The court is revisiting one of its most progressive and far-reaching cases, the 1985 Abbott vs. Burke decision, which has diverted billions of dollars toward education in the state’s poorest communities, at a time when the governor is trying to rein in a court he says has overstepped its bounds.
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the treasurer of a community (charter) school was a public official who could be held strictly liable to the state for lost public funds that the school accepted but was not entitled to receive. The court concluded that it was well-established under Ohio law that public officials are liable for the misuse of public funds they receive. An officer, employee or duly authorized representative of a charter school is a public official, the court decided. Moreover, the Ohio law that precludes corporate officers from being held personally liable for the debts of the corporation does not protect public officials from personal liability for lost public funds.
According to the Washington Post, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) officials have agreed to allow an epileptic elementary school student to attend school with his specially-trained service dog on a two-week trial basis. Andrew Stevens will be attending classes at Fort Belvoir Elementary School with his dog who is trained to detect and respond to seizures that their son experiences as a symptom of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
On his final day as state superintendent of public instruction, Tom Horne, Arizona’s new attorney general, issued a finding, says the Tucson Sentinel, that Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD) Mexican-American studies program violates the state’s new ethnic studies law. Horne’s findings conclude TUSD “Raza studies” program violates the law’s requirement that classes not be “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.” However, TUSD’s school board has steadfastly maintained its ethnic studies programs comply with the law.
Two female student-athletes at North Oldham High School (NOHS) in Goshen, Kentucky and their parents have filed a suit against the Oldham County Board of Education, according to Courthouse News Service, alleging use of NOHS’s fieldhouse, constructed in 2008, is restricted to male student-athletes in violation of Title IX.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the random steroid testing program for University Interscholastic League (UIL) athletes in Texas is shrinking. Although the state legislature initially funded the effort in 2007 with an annual budget of $3 million, the current allotment is $750,000, after a cut to $1 million a year earlier. A total of 4,560 athletes are scheduled to be tested in 2010-11, compared with 35,077 in 2008-09. While Don Hooton, an anti-steroid advocate, concedes shrinking state financial resources have played a role in reduced funding for steroid testing, he believes state politicians don’t fear steroid use as much as they did when the bill was enacted because the 51,635 tests done over the last 2 ½ years have resulted in 21 positive tests, two unresolved and 139 not passing for procedure violations, such as unexcused absences.
According to Courthouse News Service, two students have filed suit in federal court against Seneca R-VII School District claiming that they were kicked off the cheerleading squad in violation of their constitutional rights after being accused of cyberbullying.
According to On Point, Pembroke Pines Charter High School (PPCHS) has agreed to settle a free speech suit brought by former student Katherine Evans. Evans was suspended by PPCHS Principal Peter Bayer after she used her home computer to write, “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met!” in a Facebook posting. As part of the settlement, PPCHS will expunge Evans’s three-day suspension from her disciplinary record. The school has also agreed to pay Evans $1 in nominal damages and $15,000 in attorney fees.
A mother has filed suit in federal court against Kilgore Independent School District (KISD) on behalf of her daughter claiming invasion of privacy, says Courthouse News Service. The suit claims high school coaches invaded the student’s privacy by aggressively confronting the girl about her sexual orientation, and that the school district covered for them with the bogus excuse that the school was “legally obligated to share this information with the parent.” In addition to KISD, the suit names the head softball coach, the assistant softball coach, and the assistant athletic director.
The attorney for a cheerleader who was kicked off the squad for refusing to chant the name of an athlete she said had raped her plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate her free-speech suit against Silsbee school district, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The suit drew national media attention following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s ruling in September 2010 that the cheerleader, identified as H.S., was speaking for the school, not herself, and had no right to remain silent when called on to shout the athlete’s name.