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N.J. Chief Floats Plan For Ending Takeovers

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New Jersey's education commissioner has proposed a plan for the withdrawal of state control from mismanaged school districts that would give state officials the power to require sweeping changes in district organization.

New Jersey law allows the state to take over corrupt or poorly managed districts, which the state has done in Jersey City and Paterson. The state is now trying to take over the New Jersey's largest district, Newark.

Although the law lets the state take control for five years, little attention has been paid to how the state would return control. In a report to the state board of education this month, Commissioner of Education Leo Klagholz proposed a plan under which state officials could require that a district emerging from a takeover adopt a new governance structure or be broken up into smaller districts.

Mr. Klagholz also proposed that such districts meet performance standards and other criteria before the state relinquishes control.

'Safe Schools': Alternative-education programs for potentially dangerous students are expected to be in most of New Jersey's 21 counties by the end of this month under a "safe schools" initiative.

The Assembly last month passed another provision of the plan that would mandate a one-year suspension for students who bring firearms to school or are convicted of a firearms offense.

About half of the alternative programs have been established at community colleges; others will operate out of vocational-technical centers, separate schools, or, at a minimum, school wings that segregate the potentially dangerous students from others.

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