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State role in New London schools could end

New London - State-appointed Special Master Steven J. Adamowski announced Tuesday night that he intends to recommend that within a year the state cease its involvement in the city's school system.

Adamowski said he plans to make the recommendation to the state Board of Education when he gives his annual report in September.

"I don't think that state supervision of any district has been intended to be a long-term situation, it is intended as a stopgap," Adamowski said. "I think the circumstances here have changed significantly since that action was taken by the state board."

Adamowski pointed to the development of a strategic operating plan, the initial implementation of framework for an all-magnet school district, the district's stabilized financial condition and two years of "significant academic improvement" as factors that led him to his decision.

"Clearly there is evidence that I can observe that New London's on the road to becoming a higher-performing and sustaining system of schools," he said. "I am confident that with another year of work getting the magnet school plan in place so that it is completed ... we will have a wonderful success story that everyone's hard work and collaboration is a tribute to."

Adamowski's recommendation will be contingent upon "continued adequate progress at the same rate of the past two years."

The state's withdrawal from New London's schools will also require a concurrence from the president of the city's Board of Education, a vote of the State Board of Education and the agreement of the state's commissioner of education, Adamowski said.

The district, however, may have another special master before state involvement ends. Adamowski also announced Tuesday night that he plans to retire no later than December. A successor would be chosen at the state level, and Adamowski said he will assist in training whomever is chosen.

The city will receive at least 90 days' notice before state involvement ends to devise a transition, which will have to include a plan for the school system's budget. The budget has been buttressed by about $1 million in additional funds made available as a result of the state's involvement.

"There will be a number of positions the district will have to pick up and there will be other expenses the district will have to assume," Adamowski said.


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