- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — State and city education officials reached a tentative agreement yesterday on how to provide makeup services to disabled students who were denied them last school year and over the summer.

The agreement was outlined in front of U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis, who ordered the state in August to take control of the city school system’s troubled special-education programs.

Under the accord, announced by Special Master Amy Totenberg late yesterday after hours of negotiations, the city and state each would appoint a person to oversee the delivery of makeup services to disabled students. The city and state representatives would work with a contractor hired by the city.

The city acknowledged in a court filing earlier this month that it owes special-education students 48,000 hours of speech and language therapy, 2,200 hours of psychology, 9,700 hours of occupational therapy, 1,500 hours of physical therapy, 18,000 hours of counseling and 10,000 hours of social work.

The agreement calls for the city to pay for those services, despite the state’s oversight of special education in Baltimore. State officials have estimated it will cost at least $6.7 million.

The matter still could go to a hearing early next month if the city and state do not come to terms on the details of the plan, which they agreed to complete during the next two weeks. But the parties made significant progress yesterday, and a hearing could be avoided if productive negotiations continue, Miss Totenberg said.

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