Dispute Said Near Settlement

By James Hertling — June 20, 2019 1 min read


A dispute involving a three-year special-education contract of up to $750,000 to a former federal education official is nearing a settlement, sources say.

Under a reported compromise, Martin H. Gerry, the agency’s former chief of civil rights, will not receive the contract directly but will instead subcontract with federally sponsored technical-assistance centers until those centers have the ability to do the work themselves.

Final Approval Pending

Education Department officials said that they had not yet given final approval to this arrangement, but that it has the support of Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

The contract would underwrite technical assistance to state and local agencies on procedures for complying with the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, P.L. 94-142. (See Education Week, Jan. 22,1986.)

Officials in the department’s office of special education and rehabilitative services said the contract is necessary because so many states have been deficient in spelling out their “policies and procedures” to comply with the law.

Contract Questioned

Madeleine C. Will, assistant secretary for OSERS, had wanted to award the contract to Mr. Gerry, a consultant whose nonprofit consulting firm specialized in special-education policy.

But others, including a departmental auditor and Senator Hatch, questioned the necessity of the contract and the propriety of the award to Mr. Gerry—who is a personal friend of Ms. Will. They said the work should be done by federally funded “regional resource centers.”

A version of this article appeared in the February 19, 1986 edition of Education Week

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