Update: Edison Receives Approval To Run Wichita School

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The Edison Project has received the go-ahead to operate an elementary school in the Wichita, Kan., district beginning in the fall.

The Wichita school board's approval late last month of a contract with Edison means the private, for-profit firm has solid plans to manage three public schools next school year. Edison also has a contract to run a school in Mount Clemens, Mich., and is a partner in a charter school in Boston.

Edison Project officials said last week that while the New York City-based company will begin with fewer schools than once envisioned, they are confident the project will indeed get off the ground.

"We will probably not have more than five or six total schools next year," said Deborah M. McGriff, a senior vice president.

The fate of the reform experiment has been in doubt since last fall, when the collapse of the Edison founder Christopher Whittle's media empire drew widespread attention. (See Education Week, Nov. 16, 1994.)

One Step Close

A Pennsylvania school district has set aside $50,000 to extend its option to hire a private company to run one of its three elementary schools.

The Wilkinsburg school board is expected to decide next month wheth~er to hire Nashville-based Alternative Public Schools Inc., said Brian Magan, a spokesman for the board. But local teachers will likely propose an alternate plan, Mr. Magan said, and the money gives the district time to consider other options.

The 1,800-student district first made news last year when it launched a nationwide search for an independent contractor to manage Turner Elementary School. (See Education Week, April 6, 1994.)

Gender Ruling Upheld

The Virginia Military Institute may continue to limit enrollment to men if it establishes a comparable women's program at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va., a federal appeals court has ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit last month upheld a lower-court ruling that required the state-sponsored military college in Lexington to set up a separate institute for women.

Mike Strickler, the public-relations director for V.M.I., said the decision was a "victory for single-sex education."

The U.S. Justice Department, which has challenged the all-male admissions policy as unconstitutional, is considering whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Accreditation Ruling Upheld

An Indiana state court has ruled that a regional accrediting agency was not obliged to follow due-process procedures when it reprimanded the Gary, Ind., school system.

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools had warned the Gary district of a possible loss of accreditation because of allegations of internal strife.

In a decision last month, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a lower court's logic in blocking the association from issuing the reprimand. (See Education Week, April 13, 1994.)

Association officials said last week that they had not decided whether to proceed with the reprimand.

Vol. 14, Issue 20

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