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Copyright 1989, Editorial The excessive placements are due to the tendency of many districts to view the programs as catch-alls for troubled students, the report argues.

After examining the records of 440 special-education students, department officials concluded that only 30 to 40 percent have handicaps that qualify them for such services.

Statewide, 55,000 students participated in special-education programs during the 1986-87 school year.

The report is likely to spur efforts by the department and the legislature to set uniform standards for special-education placements, officials said. Minnesota is one of only a handful of states that provide guidelines for special-education placements but permit districts to set their own standards.

The responses of more than 12,000 Coloradans to a public-opinion poll on the state's education agenda will be released this week.

As part of SchoolVote--a joint project of the Denver-based Public Education Coalition, the Rocky Mountain News, and KUSA-tv--viewers and readers were asked to voice their concerns on such issues as early-childhood education, "social ills" in schools, school-based management, and parental choice.

To stimulate debate, the station and the newspaper carried extensive background materials on the issues in the week before the ballots were published. A group of state lawmakers, school officials, and others will hold a televised discussion of the results of the poll after they are released.

Bob Sullivan, the station's assistant news director and a leader of the project, said the poll is a refinement of surveys taken in recent years in Philadelphia and Milwaukee under the auspices of the New York-based Public Agenda Foundation.

Ohio voters passed 18 of 44 school money issues on the ballot this month.

The 40.9 percent rate of approval is "typical" for a February election, according to William L. Phillis, the state's assistant superintendent of public instruction. Twelve of the 33 local levies for operating expenses passed, while four out of the five levies for capital improvements were approved.

Bond issues did not fare as well. Of five on the ballot, only one gained the backing of the voters. Ohio law allows for three local elections per year, so districts that failed to win approval will have two more chances this year.

But a proposal to raise state income and corporate taxes, which may appear on the fall ballot, could thwart local levy requests, Mr. Phillis noted. Voters who back the income-tax increase, sought by Gov. Richard F. Celeste, may be less likely to favor a local levy as well, the school official said.

Vol. 08, Issue 22

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