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The Georgia Department of Education deliberately tried to discourage busing for desegregation--and thus broke state and federal laws--by refusing to reimburse a county school system for some transportation costs, a federal judge has ruled.

Judge William C. O'Kelley late last month ordered the state to reimburse the DeKalb County school system about $24.5 million for transportation costs incurred between 1977 and 1992, the year the district filed a lawsuit. The costs were associated with using voluntary student transfers to further integration.

The state's policy had been to reimburse districts only for the transportation of students to schools within their attendance zones.

Spending Claims Disputed

Wisconsin lawmakers have erred in thinking equal per-pupil spending will create equal educational opportunity, concludes the report of a study group set up by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

The report, issued last month, said recent changes in state law made the distribution of state school aid more equitable, but failed to fully account for the high costs of districts with disproportionate numbers of special-needs children.

Among its recommendations, the report suggests adopting a weighted per-pupil spending formula to route more money to children who are poor, limited-English-proficient, or otherwise needy. It also says the state should pay for a larger share of education costs while repealing limits on local property taxes.

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