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New York Media Company Buys Whittle's Channel One

K-III Communications Corporation last week completed its purchase of the Whittle Educational Network, whose principal property is the advertising-supported Channel One classroom news show.

K-III, a diverse New York City-based media company that owns such educational properties as Weekly Reader, is paying about $250 million for the Whittle unit, sources said.

That price is less than the $300 million mentioned when the deal was first announced in August. (See Education Week, Sept. 7, 1994.)

Christopher Whittle, the founder of Channel One, will remain the nominal head of the classroom network, but he will not be involved in day-to-day management, officials said.

William F. Reilly, K-III's chairman, said in a statement that Channel One is a "very effective learning tool."

In a separate development, Channel One opponents received a setback when a state appeals court in California upheld a ruling in favor of a school district's use of the program. (See Education Week, Sept. 16, 1992.)

A three-judge panel of the state court of appeal unanimously ruled on Sept. 27 that the East Side Union high school district in San Jose did not violate state law by showing Channel One and its two minutes per day of commercials. The suit was filed by officials mw of the state education department.

Seizure Hearings Delayed

Hearings to determine whether New Jersey will seize control of the Newark school district have been postponed until February.

State education officials had hoped the hearings would begin sooner and they would be in control of the schools this fall, according to The Star-Ledger newspaper of Newark.

However, local officials said it would take them at least six months to prepare for the hearings.

Stephen Weiss, an administrative-law judge, ruled for the delay.

After a two-year investigation of the Newark public schools, the state education department released a five-volume report in July.

In it, Peter Contini, an assistant state education commissioner, accused Newark school officials of mismanagement, neglect, and possible corruption. The education department then began moving toward a takeover. (See Education Week, Sept. 7, 1994.)

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