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ABC Board Votes to Expand Controversial TV Program

February 24, 1991

CERRITOS — Despite the continuing objections of state officials, the ABC Unified School District board has voted to expand a controversial, satellite-delivered television news show called Channel One that broadcasts commercials in the classroom.

The board voted 4 to 2 last week to enter into an agreement with Whittle Communications of Knoxville, Tenn., to allow a daily 12-minute teen-oriented newscast to classrooms in five junior highs and two additional high schools.

The broadcast, which includes two minutes of commercials, has been airing at Gahr High School since November, 1989.

The program is expected to start in about six weeks at Carmenita, Faye Ross, Haskell, Tetzlaff and Killingsworth junior high schools and Tracy and Whitney high schools.

Bill Honig, state superintendent of public instruction, is opposed to the program and plans to withhold a portion of state funding to schools using the program, said William L. Rukeyser, Honig's special assistant. "School districts have no legal authority to sign contracts to sell access to the kids," Rukeyser said.

ABC board President Robert Hughlett and members Catherine Grant, Jim Weisenberger and Dixie Primosch voted in favor of the agreement, while Sally Morales Havice and Dean Criss voted against it.

Only one other public school, William C. Overfelt High School in San Jose, is presently airing the program. About 60 parochial schools in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas use it.

Whittle will provide each school site with equipment, including a satellite dish and television monitors.

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