MASSACHUSETTS EDUCATION PANEL ENDORSES BU-CHELSEA PACT

A wary state Board of Education has endorsed a controversial 10-year plan for Boston University (BU) to run Chelsea schools after attaching strings designed to make the University more accountable to the public. The board's 7-to-4 vote followed two hours of passionate argument from people on both sides of the issue. Chelsea officials and parents said their impoverished city needs BU's rescue. Teachers and Hispanic groups protested that the 300-page plan, as written, runs roughshod over constitutional rights.

Board members also discussed the matter for a third hour. Several expressed dismay at the complaints. Others said they were confused about how BU will execute the unique arrangement. By its own definition, BU will function as both de facto school committee and manager of the schools.

``It is a flawed agreement and this board is going to be haunted by it for years to come,'' said board member Sol Kolack, who voted against the plan.

But in the end, a majority apparently agreed with board member Theodora Sylvester, who said, ``It's too important a vision to let go.''

BU's plan calls for pumping in millions of dollars in donations and the know-how of its faculty and students.

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