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Commissioner of Education Harold Raynolds Jr. of Massachusetts has notified 27 districts that their forthcoming requests for $7.5 million in school-construction funds will not be granted for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The notice came in the wake of Gov. Michael S. Dukakis's decision last month to freeze that amount, which represents half the total the legislature appropriated for school capital improvements. The move was part of an effort to reduce the state's budget deficit for the current fiscal year.

The action is likely to delay badly needed renovation and building projects in Boston, Lowell, and elsewhere that are components of student integration plans, according to Edward Melikian, a spokesman for the state education department.

But Mr. Raynolds has said, he noted, that the districts affected by the order would get top priority for funding in the upcoming fiscal year. Governor Dukakis has requested $22 million in construction funding for fiscal 1990.

Kentucky school officials are using computers to test new school-finance formulas in reponse to a court ruling that declared the cur8rent method unconstitutional.

The state education department disclosed the project during a Feb. 1 status hearing before Franklin Circuit Judge Ray Corns. The judge held the session to determine what action the state is taking to comply with his order.

The state supreme court heard the legislature's appeal of Judge Corns's ruling in December and is expected to issue its decision in the case in coming months. The governor and the state school superintendent were also named as defendants in the action but decided not to challenge the decision.

Department officials told the judge that analysts were using computer models to test how different funding methods would affect school districts. One formula being considered, they said, would base per-pupil aid on schools' average enrollment rather than average daily attendance.

A Senate panel in Mississippi has dropped legislation that would have almost halved the number of school districts in the state by allowing no more than one per county.

Senator Irb Benjamin, chairman of the Senate education committee, argued unsuccessfully that the bill would have reduced "overhead and administrative costs" by cutting the number of districts from 152 to 82.

The committee also defeated a bill that would have allowed districts to charge students fees for workbooks and other instructional materials.

Vol. 08, Issue 21

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