Detroit 'Partnership' Plan Tabled

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The Detroit school board last week rebuffed an overture by Mayor Dennis W. Archer to join forces with district officials to turn around the embattled school system.

The board voted 6-5 to table a vague resolution calling for a "partnership" with the mayor and Michigan's governor. The plan was drafted during meetings that included the mayor, the superintendent, and school board President Irma Clark.

Detroit has been on the hot seat since February, when Republican Gov. John Engler called for a law that would allow the state to take over a district if more than 80 percent of its students fail Michigan's new high school proficiency test or if the dropout rate exceeds 25 percent. ("Plan To Allow Mich. School Takeovers Assailed," Feb. 12, 1997.)

The board's rejection of the partnership plan came despite the strong backing of Ms. Clark.

"I'm not saying we can't work together, but I tend to see this as a back-door attempt to take over the schools," said Kwame Kenyatta, the board's vice president.

Ms. Clark, who voted against tabling the resolution, said the board may take a second look at the mayor's proposal once it gets more information.


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