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A nationwide provider of educational services and the St. Paul public schools have agreed that the company will provide instruction for about 750 struggling students in the 41,000-student district.

Sylvan Learning Systems Inc. announced late last month the agreement to open learning centers in five schools in the Minnesota district. Though it is not the Columbia, Md.-based company's first partnership with a school system, the agreement is the first in which district teachers will be hired to provide instruction during the regular school day.

The centers are slated to open in the fall.

Kentucky District Penalized: A Kentucky school district is facing the loss of about $95,000 in state education funds as a penalty for allowing West Virginia students to attend its schools free of charge.

A state audit found that 17 West Virginians attended Belfry High School in the Pike County district this school year and that 13 were enrolled there the year before. The school lies near the state line in a mountainous region of eastern Kentucky.

Although the audit is complete, the state's Office of Education Accountability said it is investigating further.

Officials there want to know how long out-of-state children have been allowed in the school without paying tuition, and whether other schools in the 12,142-student district do the same.

A Question of Honor: A 1995 Montana high school graduate who was denied entry into the National Honor Society wants the state supreme court to help him find out why.

Robert Becky, who graduated this spring with a 3.8 grade-point average, lost his first round in court last month when a district judge sided with school officials and ruled that evaluations of Honor Society candidates are confidential.

The Butte High School graduate is appealing to the state's highest court.

The Becky family took legal action after Principal Dan Peters refused to reveal the names of three teachers who gave the senior low scores on ratings for character, leadership, and school service.

"He isn't disappointed about not getting in, but he wants to know why," said his father, Ray Becky.

J.R.O.T.C. Retained: The San Francisco school board has voted to keep its Junior R.O.T.C. program despite pressure from local gay rights and antiwar activists.

The board voted 4 to 3 on June 27 to keep the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, which serves 3,500 students in the 63,500-student district.

The San Francisco Coalition to Oppose Junior R.O.T.C. had backed a resolution sponsored by two board members that sought gradual elimination of the 76-year-old program.

"We don't think the district should be associated with a program that promotes violence and is linked to the Department of Defense, which bans gays and lesbians," said Sam Diener, a spokesman for the group.

Keith Jackson, one of four board members to vote to retain J.R.O.T.C., said the treatment of gays and lesbians in the military should be dealt with on a national level.

Smelly Scandal: The New York City school system has been accused of widespread health-code violations, including the serving of rancid food.

The violations, which included routinely serving meat stored for months past its expiration date, have been linked to one outbreak of food poisoning and likely caused several more, according to a report issued last month by Edward F. Stancik, the special commissioner of investigation for the city's schools.

Mr. Stancik accused the school system's food-services division of "evasion, denial, and deception" designed to cover up its problems, and recommended that several of its top officials be fired.

The report says, among other things, that the division stored frozen turkeys more than a year too long, then chopped them into patties and stamped them as new.

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