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Court Approves Chapter 11 Plan For New York City Private School

A private school in New York City that could not meet payments on a $3.6-million renovation of its Manhattan property has received court approval for Chapter 11 reorganization.

The Baldwin League of Independent Schools, the nonprofit corporation that owns the Baldwin School and the McBurney School, filed the reorganization plan late last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The two schools, which merged in 1985, bought a Manhattan building for $5.5 million in 1986, according to court documents. Original estimates for converting the building for use as a school were about $2 million, but by the time the work was completed last year, the total cost was $3.6 million.

Under the court-approved plan, the schools have received new mortgage financing. Although the two schools had intended to remain separate, under the reorganization they have merged and will reopen in September, said Rollin P. Baldwin, who chartered the Baldwin School in 1954. Renamed the McBurney-Baldwin School, it has 300 students in nursery school through grade 12.

Earlier this year, when it became apparent that the schools could not meet their payments, officials asked parents for voluntary contributions of 12 percent of tuition. The effort raised more than $40,000, court records show.

Beset by allegations of institutional racism, the Dallas school board has agreed to hire an outside consultant to determine if the school district acquiesces in widespread discrimination on the basis of race.

The nine-member board will seek "a comprehensive, external audit/review of policies, practices, procedures, finances, personnel, past goals, and facilities to establish the status of the district as it relates to institutional racism and the development of a pluralistic school system.'' The motion was adopted as a board goal for the year.

Minority board members, who hold four of the nine board positions, have complained of institutional racism within the district and have sought to force officials to hire more minority personnel and to utilize more minority-owned vendors.

The Los Angeles Board of Education has voted to strictly enforce ethnic-balance quotas in 11 elementary schools, in an action that could force about 400 white students to return to their neighborhood schools next fall.

The 11 schools exceeded the board's ethnic-balance cap by accepting white students whose parents chose to enroll them near their place of employment, rather than in their neighborhood schools; such choices are allowed under the board's child-care transfer policy.

Some parents also gave false information about their place of employment in order to use a child-care-transfer permit to escape predominantly minority neighborhood schools, a district study found last year.

The board's racial-balance policy states that no school in the predominantly minority district should be permitted to enroll a student population that is greater than 70 percent white.

The Fairfax County, Va., school board will vote this summer on a proposal to offer foreign-language immersion classes in Spanish, German, and Japanese beginning as early as kindergarten.

The joint proposal by George Mason University and Fairfax officials would offer children the opportunity to spend half of their instructional time studying in one of the three foreign languages.

The program would begin either in kindergarten or 1st grade and be expanded into the next grade the following year.

U.S. Representative Frank R. Wolf, Republican of Virginia, conceived of the program after he became convinced of the need to improve foreign-language instruction in order to bolster the nation's position in world trade, according to Maria G. Wilmeth, coordinator of foreign-language programs for the Fairfax County schools.

The program, which would be funded under a two-year, $371,000 grant from the U.S. Secretary of Education's discretionary fund, would provide training for 12 teachers and begin in the 1989 school year.

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Green has accepted an invitation from Cardinal John O'Connor to study the New York archdiocese's schools.

Mr. Green said this month that he would send a team to several Catholic schools in an effort to find out why their students outperform public-school students on standardized tests and are less likely to drop out of school.

Cardinal O'Connor made the offer during a private breakfast with Mr. Green last month. The schools chancellor was given permission to inspect the finances, teaching methods, and staff of any of the archdiocese's 200 schools, a church spokesman said.

Vol. 07, Issue 39

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