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Spring Hill, Tennessee, has reached a tentative agreement with Maury County and the General Motors Corporation that all but assures gm will locate its multi-billion-dollar Saturn automobile plant in the tiny Tennessee town. A final agreement is expected within a week, said A.C. Howell, the county budget director.

gm announced plans earlier this year to locate its revolutionary plant in Spring Hill, subject to an agreement with local and state officials concerning taxes, access roads, and water. At the time, gm officials cited Gov. Lamar Alexander's education reforms as one reason for their decision to locate in Tennessee. (See Education Week, October 30, 1985).

The tentative agreement guarantees Spring Hill a share of the payments gm will make to the county in lieu of property taxes, Mr. Howell said.

Late last month, gm threatened to pull the plant out of the area if Spring Hill officials followed through on efforts to annex company land located in the county. City officials had contemplated the annexation after complaining that they had been shut out of the negotiations with gm.

"The hassle basically was that officials of Spring Hill felt they were not communicated with enough and were not sure what they were going to get out of the deal," Mr. Howell said.

The Tennessee Education Association has asked state officials to recalculate the scores of some 2,000 educators who failed to reach the top rungs of the ladder in the program's first year.

In a letter to Gov. Lamar Alexander, the tea, which represents some 90 percent of the state's teachers, also asked that state officials discontinue their practice of converting evaluation scores from one rating scale to another.

Of the 3,400 educators who applied for the top two levels of the career ladder last year, 1,090--less than a third--were successful. Some 600 fell short in one rating category and are being retested. (See Education Week, Oct. 30, 1985.)

Cavit Cheshier, executive secretary of the tea, said it is not uncommon for a teacher who receives a score from an evaluator of 4 on a scale of 5 to have that score converted to a 2 or 3 on a scale of 9. He said the use of so-called "conversion scales" limits the number of educators who can reach the top rungs of the ladder.

Heather Patchett, a spokesman for the state department of education, said the conversion scales reconcile "apples and oranges" in the rating process and ensure that the scores reflect statewide norms.

The Paterson, N.J., school board late last month formally approved a teacher contract that ended a seven-day strike involving the district's 1,800 teachers and 25,000 students. (See Education Week, Oct. 23, 1985.)

The teachers voted to accept the contract, which included only slight pay raises, on Oct. 22 after a state judge threatened to impose fines on the union and the strikers.

The contract provides for a 10-minute increase in the school day and a 10-minute increase in the teachers' lunch period.

Vol. 05, Issue 10

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