Citibank is scheduled to announce today that it is giving a $2.4 million education grant to the D.C. school system, a record amount, and the latest in a series of recent million-dollar pledges made to help city students.

The Citibank grant will be distributed over five years to nine schools that are part of an experiment known as school-based management, in which parent and community councils help principals make education decisions.

Officials of Citibank, which is a subsidiary of Citicorp, the country's largest financial services company, will announce the donation this morning at Ballou Senior High School in Southeast. Citibank is giving similar grants to the Chicago and Miami public school systems.

"This is very significant," said Patricia Lambe, spokeswoman for D.C. School Superintendent Andrew E. Jenkins. "The private sector has been generous to us in the past, but this certainly sets a precedent."

Since last fall, the D.C. school system has received millions of dollars in private support, thanks largely to the D.C. Committee on Public Education, a panel of local business and civic leaders that has been lobbying major American companies to help attack the problems in city schools.

The list of donors grows each month: The Rockefeller Foundation has pledged $500,000 over five years, Philip Morris has given $1 million, RJR Nabisco Inc. has handed $1.2 million to three high schools, and the Communications Satellite Corp. (COMSAT) has given $1.1 million to Jefferson Junior High School in Southwest.

The Committee on Public Education also has raised about $750,000 this year from dozens of local businesses to help schools. Citibank's $2.4 million grant is twice as much as any other company has ever given to D.C. schools.

"The Citibank grant is another step in the business partnership strategy to assist the school district in initiating basic changes," said F. David Fowler, education committee chairman of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Thomas C. Gaspard, Citibank's mid-Atlantic region president, said the company chose to aid District schools because it was impressed with the system's commitment to reform. Citibank officials and the education committee have been negotiating the deal for months.

"We're excited about this," Gaspard said. "It will be a help, it isn't the entire solution. But if by this action we can improve the chance principals and teachers have to succeed, we've done our job."

In September, Citibank will hire management teams that will report to the nine participating schools. The teams will work with the school principals, teachers and staff to enact a strategy for improvement.

It will be guided by a community-based committee, not the school system's central administration. That's the chief feature of school-based management, which is gaining momentum in many school districts nationally.

The District's move toward school-based management, which was announced more than a year ago, has been marred with delays and bickering with teacher and principal unions. The system and the unions have not agreed on who belongs on the school committees, and how power should be divided.

The schools benefiting from the grant are Barnard, Payne and J.O. Wilson elementary schools; Fletcher-Johnson Educational Center, Kramer and Roper junior high schools, Mamie Lee and Sharpe special education schools, and Ballou Senior High School.

Jenkins and the D.C. school board have welcomed all of the grants with great enthusiasm, with one exception: the $1 million from Philip Morris. School board members are split on whether it is appropriate to use money donated by a cigarette manufacturer.

Their debate has sparked intensive lobbying. Leaders on the public education committee support it, while some local health officials, including the District's health commissioner, want the board to return the money.

Donor....................Amount.......Purpose

COMSAT................$1.1 million....To improve science and math

......................................instruction at Jefferson

......................................Junior High School in Southwest.

Rockefeller Foundation....$500,000....To revitalize elementary

......................................education.

Philip Morris Co........$1 million....To buy computers that aid

......................................students in reading and math,

......................................and train parents and children

......................................about nutrition.

RJR Nabisco Inc.......$1.2 million....To assist three innovative D.C.

......................................high schools.

Citibank..............$2.4 million....To finance school-based management

......................................plan.