THE DISTRICT

New Fund to Augment 3 R's in Schools

D.C. public schools entered a partnership yesterday with the College Board and a newly created investment fund to spend a combined $2.2 million in the next two years on a program to get about 13,000 students ready for advanced high school classes and college.

The new program, the Public Education Partnership Fund, announced that it is investing $550,000 in the initiative, and the College Board is adding $200,000. D.C. public schools are reallocating $1.5 million from professional development funds for the program.

The money will pay for 18 schools to offer a supplemental curriculum and teacher development program to toughen existing math and reading/writing classes for students in grades 6 to 12.

If successful, the program will be expanded throughout the city's public schools, according to Superintendent Clifford B. Janey.

THE REGION

Girl's French-Fry Arrest Upheld

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday upheld the arrest of a 12-year-old girl by Metro police for eating a french fry in a train station in fall 2000.

The court affirmed a lower court ruling that Metro's "zero-tolerance" policy and the child's subsequent arrest were constitutional, although Judge John G. Roberts made it clear that he was no fan of the policy.

Roberts wrote that Ansche Hedgepeth was "frightened, embarrassed and crying throughout the ordeal" and noted that "the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry."

Hedgepeth was arrested on the first day of a week-long campaign by Metro officers to clean up the system's subway cars and stations. Passengers are not allowed to eat or drink in stations or on trains, and Hedgepeth was among those nabbed in the roundup.

Adults caught eating during the campaign were given a citation, but District law required that children committing delinquent acts be taken into custody, so Metro officers handcuffed Hedgepeth.

The girl was processed at the city's Juvenile Processing Center before being handed over to her mother three hours later.

Catholic Schools to Honor Cardinal Hickey

Schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington will be closed Friday, which has been designated a day of mourning for Cardinal James A. Hickey by his successor, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick.

Hickey, 84, died Sunday after several years of declining health.

"It is only fitting that all of our schools take time to acknowledge and celebrate the life of this legendary man who did so much to build and support Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Washington," archdiocesan school Superintendent Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill wrote to principals of Catholic schools.

The archdiocese includes the District and five Maryland counties.

There will be a public viewing of Hickey's body tomorrow at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Northwest Washington from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Hickey's funeral is Saturday.

MARYLAND

$50,000 Spent to Defeat Ballot Questions

The organization trying to defeat three questions on Montgomery County's ballot next week has spent almost $50,000 on the effort, according to campaign finance reports.

The Vote No Coalition, made up of two dozen community groups and labor unions, has raised about $62,000 to campaign against Questions A, B and C. County employee unions, the business community and incumbent County Council members donated the bulk of the money.

As of Friday, the coalition had about $12,000 remaining in the bank. Last week, the group sent out tens of thousands of mailers urging voters to reject the questions.

If passed, Question A would eliminate the council's ability to override a property tax cap, Question B would impose term limits on council members and the county executive, and Question C would eliminate at-large council seats.

In each case, the coalition warns that such changes would cripple the efficiency of county government.

VIRGINIA

Teen Suspected of Plotting Officer's Death

A Prince William County teenager whom police described as a reputed gang member is suspected of conspiring to kill an Arlington detective, according to court records.

The 17-year-old, who was not identified, allegedly said he wanted to use an AK-47 assault weapon to try to kill the officer, according to an affidavit filed Monday in Prince William Circuit Court.

Arlington police spokesman Matt Martin said yesterday that there have been no arrests and that the investigation is continuing. The detective was not identified.

It is at least the second time in a year that threats against an Arlington detective have been investigated. Freddy A. Juarez, 25, a member of Los Locos, an Arlington gang, was videotaped purchasing hollow-point bullets from an undercover officer to use to kill an officer in the gang unit, prosecutors said.

Juarez was convicted this year of conspiring to commit capital murder against a police officer and criminal street gang participation, and sentenced to 81/2 years in prison.

Pr. William Caps Property Tax Increases

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors yesterday pledged to keep any future property tax increases below 6 percent.

The county has repeatedly raised taxes to pay for new schools, roads and other services in the fast-growing county. While supervisors have reduced the tax rate in recent years, rising property values have meant big percentage increases in home owners' tax bills.

"We believe we can live within this limit, yet meet the needs of schools and transportation,'' said board Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R).

The board also agreed to continue providing schools with 56.75 percent of general revenue and allocate any additional revenue from the states' recordation tax increase to transportation needs.

"Women are being harassed, there's urinating in public behind the 7-Eleven, there's trash all over the place. This was a community maintenance issue. It had nothing to do with immigration."

-- Prince William County police Capt. Tim Rudy, on the arrests of

24 Hispanic day laborers while they were waiting for work

outside a 7-Eleven in Woodbridge. -- Page A1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Steven Ginsberg, Valerie Strauss, Tim Craig, Elaine Rivera and Eric Weiss.