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Stokes criticizes EAI fiscal data on schools it runs


Baltimore school and city officials yesterday began reviewing fiscal statements released by Education Alternatives Inc., the Minneapolis company that runs nine schools and consults at three others here.

City Councilman Carl Stokes, who has questioned EAI's performance, called the information inadequate. Other officials said they'd have to look at the figures before making judgments.

At a school board work session Tuesday, EAI officials delivered financial statements and summaries showing that the proportion of its budget spent on instruction in Baltimore has increased since the company began work in 1992.

The documents include audited statements of income and spending for the 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 school years. Of the $26.7 million budgeted in 1992-1993 for the nine schools it manages, EAI spent 53.3 percent on staff, technology, materials, supplies and other instructional costs, according to Philip E. Geiger, EAI's division president.

Last year, 55.5 percent of EAI's $29.2 million budget went to instruction, he said. He predicted the proportion would rise to 64.2 percent this school year. The firm is in the third year of a five-year contract.

The presentation also included financial statements for the three schools at which EAI is a consultant.

Superintendent Walter G. Amprey said yesterday he has asked his finance department to analyze the documents.

"I'd like them to compare this to information that they have worked up on the EAI schools," he said.

Dr. Amprey said he has sent copies of the documents to the mayor's office and to the City Council. In December, the council formed a committee to review EAI's spending and progress amid criticism of the school-privatization project. The committee has never met.

Mr. Stokes, a 2nd District Democrat, complained in February that the school system and EAI had not provided figures the nTC oversight committee needs to get started. He was still not happy yesterday.

"This is part of what I want and less than what I asked for," he said.

"I'm going to try to convene a meeting of the committee in the next two weeks and begin to look at this," he said. "We'd like to do our own computations."

Mr. Stokes said he wants a more detailed accounting of EAI's spending of public funds and profit-or-loss statements, which weren't provided.

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