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A federal judge in Wisconsin has approved a settlement outlining the legal precautions the state and Milwaukee County must take before imposing sanctions in the state's pioneering "Learnfare'' program.

The settlement last month stems from a 1989 lawsuit filed by parents who said that their welfare benefits had been unfairly terminated or reduced under the program, which links public assistance to teenagers' school attendance. (See Education Week, Sept. 5, 1990.)

Under the terms of the settlement, state and county officials must take extra steps to verify school-attendance information, to warn families when they risk losing their benefits, and to provide opportunities for families to dispute information or to get their children into alternative school placements.

Waltraud A. Arts, a lawyer for the state, said state and county officials have already put many of those procedures into practice.

The settlement, approved Sept. 29 by U.S. District Judge Terence Evans, will be in effect until June 1994.

Teach For America, which this summer was facing a budget deficit of roughly $3 million, will likely close its fiscal year with balanced books, an official of the organization said last week. (See Education Week, Aug. 5, 1992.)

Ian M. Huschle, the group's vice president for development, said the three-year-old private teacher corps that recruits, trains, and places recent college graduates in inner-city and rural school districts is "head and shoulders'' above the financial crisis it was in earlier this year.

The organization has apparently completed its fiscal year significantly under budget, Mr. Huschle said, and that, combined with major last-minute grants, have enabled the group to balance its budget.

To that end, Philip Morris Companies, which this year awarded Teach For America a $3 million "challenge'' grant, is expected to shift an undisclosed amount of the three-year grant to T.F.A.'s 1992 fiscal year, Mr. Huschle said.

In addition to successful fund-raising conducted this summer, Teach For America received--two days before its fiscal year ended Sept. 30--grants from two foundations for a total of $250,000, Mr. Huschle said.

Vol. 12, Issue 06

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