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Negotiations Between Disney, School District Stalled


ANAHEIM — Negotiations in a dispute among the Anaheim City School District, the city and the Walt Disney Co. over the impact of the proposed Disneyland Resort may be at an impasse, a school official said Friday.

"It appears the negotiations have hit a snag," said Jeanne Blackwell, a school board member, "but we feel that it can be resolved."

Blackwell declined to discuss what the problem was other than to say it was "something that the city thought was possible that may not now be possible."

Supt. Meliton Lopez has called for a special closed-door session of school trustees Monday at 6 p.m. at the district office.

City Manager James D. Ruth said he believed the problem that had developed during the negotiations was resolved Friday. He said, however, that the solution needed the approval of the school board on Monday. He declined to discuss what the problem was.

The Anaheim City School District sued the city and Disney last month, claiming that Disney's $3-billion project would create overcrowding in schools and drain already limited district resources.

But even before filing the suit, the district, city and Disney were working to resolve their differences out of court and seemed to be close to an agreement.

The project as planned would consist of a new theme park, 5,600 hotel rooms, shops, an amphitheater and two of the nation's largest parking structures.

Four other local districts dropped their legal challenges when Disney agreed to provide various education and job training programs that would benefit both students and faculty.

Disney has offered to provide the same programs to Anaheim schools and to support a public bond measure to fund additional school facilities.

Also being discussed is a plan to divert redevelopment money to the district, a quicker payment schedule of Disney's $1.1-million development fees and city assistance in studying, locating and acquiring land for future school sites for the district.

Since the lawsuit was filed July 26, Lopez and Ruth have been trying to hammer out an agreement. The city was supposed to deliver a draft of the agreement last week, but it was delayed, in part, because of the death of the city's police chief, city officials said.

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