Hoping to improve special-education services for some 18,000 students, the Detroit Public Schools are turning to technology to manage the mountains of paperwork associated with federal and state requirements.

District officials have signed a three-year, $6.3 million contract with Maryland-based 4GL School Solutions to supply special education management software to the city's 269 schools. Officials said the software will more than pay for itself, as they expect to recover an additional $12 million to $15 million in federal funding per year with improved record-keeping.

"The bottom line is that


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