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K.C. District Chief Resigns; Desegregation Plan in Limbo

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The past month brought a spate of bad news for the Kansas City, Mo., public schools.

One superintendent and one interim superintendent quit, as did the district's nationally known law firm. A lawyer asked a judge to temporarily oust the school board. And the 37,000-student district's court-supervised desegregation plan remained in limbo.

Superintendent Willie Giles, the former acting schools chief who took over for the embattled Walter Marks early this year, formally resigned late last month in exchange for prosecutors' agreement to drop their appeal in a nepotism case against him.

At about the same time, Larry Ramsey, who took over as the interim superintendent in October because of Mr. Giles' legal troubles, abruptly resigned with two top aides. He cited lack of support by the school board. The board tapped administrator Ida Love, who had feuded with Mr. Ramsey, to head the system until a permanent replacement arrives by Aug. 1.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the district's 19-year-old desegregation case asked a judge to replace the elected school board with an oversight panel, citing Mr. Ramsey's departure as evidence of mounting chaos.

And the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson resigned from the desegregation case after the school board struck a deal with the state to end its huge subsidy of the district's magnet school system.

Amid all the comings and goings, the federal judge overseeing the case conducted hearings on the district's plans to scale back its desegregation efforts in the coming year. That decision is pending.


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