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The Connecticut legislature has given final approval to a desegregation bill that would divide the state into 11 regions and require each to devise a plan to integrate schools.

The Senate this month voted 19 to 17 to approve the plan, which passed the House in May. (See Education Week, June 9, 1993.)

Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. intends to sign the measure, a spokeswoman said.

The measure requires the 11 clusters of cities, towns, and rural communities to submit integration plans to the state commissioner of education by Sept. 14, 1994. The regions would be required to demonstrate that their plans would improve academic performance and enhance student diversity and student awareness of diversity.

The bill authorizes the state board of education to withhold funds from municipalities or school districts that refuse to participate in the planning process. It does not contain any mechanism for penalizing regions that submit a plan but fail to implement it, however.

The measure is unlikely to affect a school-desegregation case involving Hartford and its surrounding suburbs, according to John C. Brittain, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Mr. Brittain criticized the measure as "a mandatory-talking bill'' that is unlikely to lead to much action.

A decision in the case, Sheff v. O'Neill, is expected in November.

Oregon school districts would be able to collect revenues from a "school-equity impact fee'' on the construction of homes and apartments, under a bill passed by the Senate.

Fees could range up to $2,500 for new homes and $1,500 for individual apartment units, and would be levied by county governments. Waivers could be granted for housing for low-income persons and for populations that would not impact school enrollment, such as the elderly or mentally ill residents of group homes.

To receive the fees, districts would have to demonstrate that their enrollments were growing at a rate above the annual statewide average of 2.2 percent, and that the growth was contributing to overcrowding of facilities.

In a victory for Gov. James B. Hunt's school-reform agenda, the North Carolina legislature has approved a bill to require high school seniors to demonstrate they have met new educational standards.

The law establishes an education standards and accountability commission to define new standards for public schools.

The law directs the panel to specify "the skills and knowledge that high school graduates shall possess in order to be competitive in the modern economy.''

The commission will also set benchmarks for students in grades K-12 to identify student progress toward the new graduation standards.

Vol. 12, Issue 38

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