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Spec.-Ed., Gifted Laws Expire

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California education officials have told school districts to operate programs for the handicapped and the gifted in a "business as usual'' fashion following the expiration of state laws governing those programs.

The laws authorizing special-education and gifted programs expired June 30 under the state's "sunset'' law, which requires the legislature to review and renew programs periodically.

The same law led to a protracted--and still unresolved--battle over the fate of the state's bilingual-education program, which expired more than a year ago.

In an advisory mailed to districts this summer, state officials said they did not envision a similar controversy over the renewal of the special-education and gifted programs.

"Right now,'' said Susan Lang, a spokesman for the education department, "there is nobody out there saying, 'I don't like special education and it ought to go away.'''

State lawmakers are expected to decide whether to extend the programs when they reconvene this month. --DV

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