Urban News

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Dec. 19, 2002 at 1:25 AM   |   0 comments

(ST. LOUIS) -- The latest report card on metropolitan St. Louis schools is not good. The city's public schools have, according to the Post-Dispatch, fallen short of their goals of making enough educational gains to warrant full accreditation.

A new statewide report, released this week in Jefferson City, shows that while many schools scored 100 out of 100 points, some fell woefully short, including some in the Gateway City.

A school district must score at least 66 points for full state academic accreditation. The St. Louis district, overall, is at least 10 points shy of that mark.

A total review of the accreditation of all schools occurs in March.

Meanwhile, St. Louis officials know they have their work cut out for them. Recent results from surveys in Kansas City, the state's other major metropolitan area, show the city still has problems but is at least 9 points higher on the scale than St. Louis.


(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- Efforts by the Charleston, S.C., transit system to get some financial help from the county have failed. The CARTA system, as it's locally know, is about $1.5 million in debt. Management went to Charleston County to ask for assistance. This week that request was officially denied.

Meanwhile, there are some indications that if something doesn't give in the next few months, the entire system could be forced to shut down. If that happens, it would be the first major urban transit system to come to a grinding halt in recent memory.

The news provider charleston.net says that debate in the council was spirited.

Some council members noted that as far as they are concerned, the woes of the transportation agency were being heard in the wrong forum.

Another member bristled, telling his colleagues that they should consider the "people being left on the side of the road, trying to get to work or the hospital."


(MIAMI) -- The way the weather people divide southern Florida into evacuation zones has been changed. Because of a perceived improvement in hurricane forecasting, some zones have been made smaller. That means that there can be fewer all-encompassing evacuation orders. Where entire small towns might once have had to head for higher ground, now only parts will be under an evacuation order.

The Miami Herald says that while the plan, announced by the area's emergency management people has its proponents, others think it's a silly idea.

Some contend that even though computer modeling may be able to better predict where a hurricane will go, the big storms are not like tornadoes. Their paths are not "precise," but often spread over a wide area.

One southern Florida resident who survived Hurricane Andrew blasted the idea, telling the publication that just because he might not be in a new evacuation area, he doesn't intend to "stay home and drown."


(PITTSBURGH) -- The City of Pittsburgh has a new budget, but new taxes are included. In the new fiscal plan for Pittsburgh, that city's mayor, Tom Murphy, has laid out a funding plan for 2003. But, according to the Post-Gazette, despite some objections in the city council, that body said "yes" to the plan, after strenuous debate.

Even some members of the council who backed the budget tell the publication that their decisions were tough ones and that the plan is pretty Draconian in some areas.

One supporter, though, was more positive. Councilwoman Barbara Burns noted that "we are all Pittsburghers. We need to start acting that way."

The budget addresses an anticipated city-wide $60 million shortfall, but with only about $7.5 million in savings over this year's plan.

Additionally, more than $13 million in debt payments have been delayed until well in the future, to 2014.


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