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Texas' education commissioner has unveiled plans to decentralize his state agency as part of a reorganization strategy designed to encourage local flexibility, officials said.

Lionel R. Meno proposed a plan this month that dedicates nearly $6 million of the Texas Education Agency's $25 million general budget to 20 regional education service centers.

The move, which has won approval from the state school hoard, requires the transfer of more than 80 workers in the agency's Austin headquarters. In the near future, teacher-certification and child-nutrition workers also will be transferred to the regional offices.

In addition to the new field-services office, the reorganization will combine the agency's curriculum and assessment offices; create new offices for accountability, professional development, and bilingual education; and launch an "accelerated learning" office to develop programs aimed at potential dropouts.

The plan advanced by Mr. Meno, who took office in July, won praise from Gov. Ann W. Richards, who had been critical of the T.E.A.'s bureaucracy. The overhaul will eliminate six executive-staff jobs and cut the agency's workforce from 1,266 to 1,179. .

Vol. 11, Issue 09, Page 2

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