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Monitor To Oversee Detroit Schools

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Michigan's chief state school officer late last week appointed a state monitor to oversee the financially troubled Detroit schools.

Donald L. Bemis announced the appointment of Calvin Cupidore, a state education official, to the post on June 2 after the Detroit board missed a deadline the previous day for filing a deficit-reduction plan with the state.

Last month, the state guaranteed loans totaling $42 million to enable the school district to meet its payroll. As a condition for the guarantee, Mr. Bemis said, the city school board adopted "irrevocable resolutions" to present a plan to reduce its $150-million deficit to the state by June 1 and to balance its budget by July 1. "I have put a monitor into the city of Detroit to monitor the process of developing the deficit-reduction plan and the balanced budget," Mr. Bemis said.

Mr. Cupidore will have no direct control over the district's financial affairs, Mr. Bemis said. But, he added, "his presence will indicate the seriousness of this situation."

Mr. Bemis said his action last week "has the potential" to put the loans to Detroit in default. He also said the state will impose deficit-reduction mandates on the district if city officials fail to develop a plan.

Mr. Bemis said he would withhold $42 million in state aid if the district does not balance its budget by Aug. 1. He said Arthur Jefferson, Detroit's outgoing superintendent, and John W. Porter, who was appointed to a one-year term as superintendent last month, have agreed to cooperate with Mr. Cupidore.--tm

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