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CALIFORNIA STUDENTS TURN VIOLENT IN WALKOUT OVER BUDGET CUTS

A high school principal was hit in the head with a rock and youths vandalized campus facilities during the latest class walkout by students protesting state cuts in education funding.

Marguerite LaMotte was slightly injured Thursday by the rock thrown from a group of students protesting the budget cuts outside George Washington Preparatory High School.She was treated at a hospital and released, said Los Angeles County deputy sheriff Benita Hinojos.

About 100 other students roamed the campus, vandalizing vending machines and disrupting classes, Hinojos said. Deputies and school district police were called in to restore order. There were no arrests.

It was the latest walkout by students upset that a shrinking budget will cancel bands, sports and other extracurricular activities and increase class sizes in the nation's second-largest school district.

The 640,000-student district faces a $400 million budget gap related to reduced state funding. About 85 percent of its $4 billion-plus budget comes from the state, and teacher pay cuts are being contemplated.

On Wednesday, teenagers involved in a protest at Kennedy High School shoplifted items from a nearby liquor store. Last week, students at a demonstration at Eagle Rock High School stormed a milk truck stopped at a red light nearby.

Most of the protests have been peaceful. Hundreds of students have walked out of classes at more than a dozen schools.

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(Additional information)

California building activity fell 10% in July

California's construction activity, already depressed by the state's lingering recession, dropped 10 percent in July from the previous month, a report said Thursday. The Construction Industry Research Board said July's volume, measured by building permits and contract awards, declined to $2.59 billion. That figure was also off 5.9 percent from July 1991. The board said it expects the state's total for this year to hit $29.2 billion, off 5.4 percent from $30.86 billion last year. Construction activity in California has plunged in the past two years. Last year's volume was the lowest since 1982, and off sharply from $38.8 billion in 1990 and $49.3 billion in 1989.