The public is going to get another chance to speak its mind about an experiment in school decentralization that is slated to begin next year in Baltimore.
The program, which would give 20 public schools in the city a certain amount of autonomy from the central office, was designed jointly over the past year by top school administrators and the Baltimore Teachers Union.
But several community groups complained that the plan, which was made public in late August, was being rushed through the school board before they had had a chance to weigh its merits and make any suggestions.
The board held a series of hearings last week, which were sparsely attended, and the board had been scheduled to approve the plan at a meeting last night.
Originally, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who backs the plan, was scheduled to appear at the conclusion of last night's board meeting for a press conference heralding Baltimore's move toward community control of the schools.
Instead, Joseph L. Smith, the board president, announced that an additional hearing on the plan will be held Oct. 2 in the auditorium of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. The hearing is to begin at 6 p.m.
Mr. Smith said the board has directed the committee that devised the decentralization plan to send summaries of the proposal to all interested organizations, and to make copies of the full proposal available to anyone who would like to see it.
The board now plans to vote on the proposal at its next meeting, on Oct. 11.
Under the original schedule for the plan, which the board hopes to stick to, that will give schools five days to submit "letters of intent," indicating that they intend to apply to be among the 20 participants.
The letters of intent must describe how the decision was reached to apply, and briefly sketch the particular model of school-based management that the school hopes to adopt.