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Hartford Agrees To Pay EAI for Computers, Equipment

The Hartford, Conn., school district will pay Education Alternatives Inc. $2.75 million to keep computers in five schools that were managed by the company.

In January, the Hartford school board ended its partnership with Minneapolis-based EAI, which was to take over management and budget duties of the entire 24,000-student district. (See Education Week, Jan. 31, 1996.)

EAI has since said the district owes it millions of dollars for services and equipment, and the company has threatened to remove equipment it had installed in schools.

The deal was reached May 23 as EAI prepared to remove the machines. District and company officials say they are still negotiating other issues in the contract dispute.

Meanwhile, the Connecticut education department has said it will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the Hartford district in response to residents' pleas for help in turning the troubled system around. (See Education Week, May 22, 1996.)

Commissioner of Education Theodore S. Sergi met last month with Gov. John G. Rowland, Mayor Michael P. White, and representatives of the city council and school board to come up with a plan for improving achievement in the district.

The department will help Hartford teachers and principals prepare students for statewide tests, and will review of the school system's administration, focusing on barriers to student achievement. A preliminary report with recommendations is expected by mid-August.

Denver Head Start Controversy

The chairman of the group that administers Denver's Head Start program has resigned following a critical investigation by federal officials.

Eddie Lee Brandon resigned last month from the Child Opportunity Program after the Administration for Families and Children, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suspended the organization's administration of the $10 million annual program.

The federal officials gave the Child Opportunity Program until June 17 to reorganize its management and straighten out its finances or risk losing the right to run the federal program for disadvantaged preschoolers.

The investigators cited "inadequate oversight and stewardship" in an eight-page letter to Mr. Brandon. The letter charged that Mr. Brandon's management of the group had been heavy-handed and that he carried out several major decisions without consulting the rest of the board of directors. (See Education Week, April 3, 1996.)

Mr. Brandon could not be reached for comment last week.

Most Budgets Approved

Voters in Long Island, N.Y., districts approved more school budgets than usual last month as 124 local districts for the first time held elections on a single day.

Only 18 district spending plans proposed for Long Island districts were vetoed, defying some predictions that increased media attention to the votes would lead to more rejections of spending plans. The local newspaper reported that the last time districts in the suburban region outside New York City passed at least 85 percent of their budgets was a decade ago.

The single day of voting ended the decades-old practice in which Long Island districts scattered their elections throughout May and June. (See Education Week, May 22, 1996.)

Vol. 15, Issue 37

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