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The Andover, Mass., school committee has decided to postpone a vote of the local citizenry on a proposal to establish and operate a school with the city of Lawrence, its more populous and racially diverse neighbor.

The committee decided to remove the proposal from the agenda of next month's Andover town meeting on the advice of the project's planning board, which had argued that a vote in April would be premature since a number of details regarding the proposed school remain to be worked out.

For example, legislation that would provide money for the school's operation and allow the collaboration to occur is still pending, and a legal operating agreement between the two districts has not yet been completed, said Dennis A. Richards, the project's director.

In addition, Mr. Richards said, the planning board wants to prepare and distribute a final report on the feasibility of the proposal, as well as conduct a survey to determine if local parents and teachers support the idea.

As envisioned, the two districts would build, staff, and run a 1,200-student elementary school that would be attended on a voluntary basis by students from both communities. (See Education Week, Nov. 11, 1987.)

Final approval must come from the Lawrence city council, which meets every two weeks, and the Andover citizens, who normally gather once a year in a town meeting to vote on such issues. Rather than waiting until next year's meeting, the Andover school committee will probably ask that a special town meeting be held next fall to consider the proposed school, Mr. Richards said.

In recent months, the collaborative-school idea has become increasingly controversial in Andover, where supporters and opponents of the plan have each organized to push their positions.

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