The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 5, 1997 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Salina, Kansas
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Monday, May 5, 1997
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Prom tests Schools use breath tests to weed out drinking students / A6 INSIDE Hammered Yankees power their way to 13-5 win over Kansas City / B1 SPORTS People are growing older but they aren't always healthy / A2 • Wailing arOUnO. An inability to compromise holds up Legislature / A3 INSIDE High: 80 Low: 50 Mostly sunny today with north winds 15 to 25 mph. Partly cloudy tonight / B8 WEATHER Ann Landers / B8_ Classified / B4 Comics / B7 Crossword / B7__ Deaths / A5 Great Plains / A3 Sports/B1 Viewpoints / A4 INDEX Salina Journal O n ft/!*•> j"« l^rt«r*rtr» e+»t~tr*r\ ^ Q™7 4 ^^^^^ Serving Kansas since 1871 MONDAY MAYS, 1997 SALINA, KANSAS 50 cents T EDUCATION Bill makes it easier for Salina to adopt LOB But the extra funds wouldn't solve the district's funding problems, school officials say By CAROL LICHTI Tlie Salina Journal The Legislature's action on local-option budgets for Kansas school districts isn't enough to help solve the Salina School District's financial woes, school officials said Sunday. "The needs we have are great, and this will not come close to meeting those needs," Salina Superintendent Gary Norris said. A bill passed Saturday by the Legislature makes it easier for Salina and the other 141 school districts that do not have local-option budgets to adopt them. Under the bill, the Salina district could adopt a local-option budget without the possibility of a protest petition from voters as long as the district did not seek authority to spend more than the average local-option budget of similar-sized schools. The Salina district has twice sought a local-option budget, but both attempts were met with protest petitions calling for an election on the question. Voters defeated the local-option budget both times. The Salina district's per-pupil spending of about $3,800 is among the lowest in the state. A local-option budget would raise the per-pupil spending, over a five-year period, to $4,547, which is the average being spent by similar-sized schools. Those schools are the lowest spending in the state. "It's hard to get excited about a new law that in five years will allow us to come up to the average of the low-spending group," Norris said. Meanwhile, a former foe of two local-option budget attempts in Salina said the legislation "stinks" because it offers school officials a way to get around the will of the people. "It's ridiculous," said Ernest Cole. "They've gone against the will of the people. Now they can pass an LOB here, and there is not one thing people can do to stop it." Under the law, the Salina district could receive about $1.1 million more next fall through a combination of local property taxes and state funds or about $149 more per pupil. The law would permit the 162 school districts with local-option budgets to continue them at 100 percent funding next fall with the amount gradually decreasing in subsequent years. Sen. Ben Vidricksen, R-Salina, who voted for the legislation, said he realized the measure wasn't a big help for Salina. "It will not do much for the disparity between the rich and the poor districts," Vidricksen said. "But it does allow those districts with LOBs to continue them." Salina School Board President Linda Smith said the board won't automatically adopt a local-option budget. "We are concerned about making sure that the public is with us," Smith said. "We will be careful and not automatically embrace something even though it would help us a little. We want to be honest with the people that we need more than that." Cole, 153 S. Front, said he thinks the school district will take advantage of the opportunity to get around the voters. "There's no question they will get every dollar they can get, especially if the taxpayers have no say so,' 1 he said. T SALINA SCHOOL BOARD Study set on school funding "Study may be first step :in lawsuit against state :over school finance law By CAROL LICHTI The Salina Journal The Salina School Board will be asked to approve the district's involvement in a study about the inequity of school finance in Kansas. .. The study could be a prerequisite to litigation aimed at correcting the funding disparity. Salina School Superintendent Gary Norris said Sunday that the group Schools For Fair Funding will ask Salina arid other school boards the groups represents to approve a stjidy that could be used in a lawsuit against the state over the in- eqitjties in school funding. >>'There has been no decision 'tHat'-a lawsuit should be filed," Norris said. But the group, representing about 24 school districts, voted unanimously Friday to ask school boards to approve the study. The study would cost about 50 cents per pupil, which for Salina would be about $3,750. The board probably will discuss the issue at its May 13 meeting. Salina School Board President Linda Smith said Sunday that she was disappointed with the Legislature's handling of school funding. ••- She has no complaint with Salina legislators, but other lawmakers won't acknowledge the disparity in spending among the state's 304 school districts. Salina is one of the lowest per-pupil funded districts, spending about $700 less per pupil than other districts its size. "I continue to be disappointed with the state legislators who fail ta recognize the group of school districts that are at a disadvantage," Smith said. She made her comments in response to the Legislature's most recent action to continue local-option budget funding for districts that have them and allowing those without to raise their spending up to the average spent by other districts the same size in the next five years. "They have not fixed our disadvantage," she said. "We will still be way behind." A Wounded Nation Medical missionary waits in Salina for fighting to end in African country By GORDON D. FIEDLER JR. The Salina Journal W hen Dr. Dean Samuelson finished his residency, he intended to set up a family practice in his home state of Kansas. Instead, he found himself a half a world away in the jungles of Zaire, where for most of the past 18 years he has served as a missionary doctor supported by the Evangelical Covenant Church. Now an emergency room physician at Salina Regional :§alth'Ceriter,-the McPherson resident and his family are sitting out the civil war that is threatening to topple longtime President Mobutu Sese Seko. "It was getting close to where we were," Samuelson said of the fighting. As he plans to return to Zaire once tensions ease, Samuelson was reluctant to talk publicly about the war or offer opinions on the political situation. His family — wife Gretchen and children (three of six were born in Africa) — were evacuated with fellow church workers and other Westerners who were working in the northwest part of the country. He has been at Salina Regional for several months. See DOCTOR, Page AS TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Dr. Dean Samuelson has spent most of the past 18 years practicing in Zaire. Recent tensions forced him and his family to evacuate, and Samuelson now works In the emergency room at Salina Regional Health Center. Zaire's leader meets with rebels for first time By HOWARD W. FRENCH The New York Times K INSHASA, Zaire — In his first meeting with the rebel leader who is trying to overthrow him, Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko said Sunday that he would relinquish power but only to a transitional authority that would organize national elections. At a meeting on a South African warship in the Congolese port of Pointe-Noire, Mobutu's foe, Laurent Kabila, insisted that power be handed over to him directly. He vowed to press ahead with his military campaign against the government. With the failed meeting between the Zairian president and the rebel leader, the stage appears to be set for a rebel takeover of the country. -.* President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who has been trying to broker an agreement, said after a day of talks that the two sides had agreed to meet in six to eight days to resume discussions. But the gulf between Mobutu, who has ruled Zaire for nearly 32 years, and Kabila appeared as large as it was when the day began. And the stage appeared set for a rebel military takeover before a second meeting can convene. A communique read at the end of the talks by the U.N. mediator, Mohammed Sahnoun, consisted of a restatement of each side's position. Kabila said he had ordered a halt to fighting while Sunday's talks were under way. But he repeated his determination to press ahead with a war that has already brought his fighters to the outskirts of Kinshasa, the capital. Kabila said the rebels could reach the city by Sunday night, but a regional military analyst said that though some rebels could infiltrate the city, it would take a week for Kabila's troops to arrive in force. "Mobutu has asked me to give him eight days while he considers our demand to resign," Ka- bila said in a telephone interview with Reuters shortly after the meetings ended. "I have agreed to that request and we shall meet again on this same ship within the next eight days. But I have told him and the mediators that there will be no cease-fire while he considers our demands." The Associated Press Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko says he would step down under certain conditions. Kent State remembered Wendy Semon, 20, of Kent, Ohio, hugs Carol Meyer (with headband) of West Palm Beach, Fla., before Semon's speech Sunday at the 27th anniversay of the 1970 Kent State shootings. Photo by The Associated Press T FLIGHT 800 FBI head: Terrorism unlikely cause for crash of jet By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Evidence points to a "catastrophic mechanical failure" and not a terrorist attack in the crash in July of TWA Flight 800, FBI Director Louis Freeh said Sunday. Freeh, interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press," said neither the FBI nor the National FREEH Transportation Safety Board has reached a conclusion as to what caused the crash off Long Island that killed the 230 people. But "the evidence is certainly not moving in the direction of a terrorist attack," Freeh said. "It is in fact moving in the other direction." He also discounted speculation that a missile, possibly from a Navy training exercise, downed the plane. "I don't think there is any evidence of that," he said, adding: "It's unfair particularly to the families for people to propagate that without any evidence." More than 90 percent of the plane has been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean floor. None of the retrieved pieces has provided a conclusive answer as to whether the explosion that decimated the plane July 17 resulted from a bomb, a missile or mechanical malfunction. TWA spokesman John McDonald said the company was disappointed that "after 10 months and almost $30 million of taxpayer expense, the investigation still has not produced conclusive evidence or a probable cause as to why Flight 800 crashed last July."

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