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Chicago, N.Y. School Starts Are Delayed

THE first day of school in Chicago was pushed back almost a week by the Board of Education, which said a hiring freeze and 7,000 job vacancies mean there aren't enough teachers to fill the classrooms.

Classes had been scheduled to start tomorrow, but the board Sunday voted unanimously to delay that until at least Sept. 14.

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``I cannot allow children into schools where many classrooms will not have teachers, where safety and security personnel will be inadequate, and where meals will not be delivered on time,'' Superintendent Argie Johnson said.

The district faces several difficulties, including a $298 million budget gap, an expired teachers' contract, and the hiring freeze.

Last week, lawmakers waived a requirement that the district's budget be balanced before schools open. But that came three days after the system had already been shut down.

Chicago, the nation's third-largest public school district with about 411,000 students, was not the only city with school-opening problems.

The first day of classes in New York City - the largest public school district - was scheduled for Thursday but was delayed until at least Sept. 20 for asbestos inspections in schools. (Los Angeles schools open, Page 3.) Clinton in Florida

A year after Hurricane Andrew left its mark as America's most destructive natural disaster, President Clinton is inspecting the rebuilding effort - some of it still far from complete.

The president planned a Labor Day tour of the hurricane-damaged neighborhoods of Florida City and a meeting with senior citizens and community leaders in Homestead, home to an Air Force base ravaged by the storm. He also planned a traditional Labor Day speech in Miami, in which he was to stress public and private partnerships.

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Hurricane Andrew, packing 145 m.p.h. winds, took a heavy toll on south Florida on Aug. 24, 1992. It left 41 dead, destroyed 47,000 homes and heavily damaged 53,000. Damage was estimated at $30 billion. The storm was the costliest and most destructive natural disaster in US history.

Today, 50,000 houses have been repaired, but thousands more are still being rebuilt. Many businesses are closed forever and an estimated 100,000 people have left the area.

Homestead Air Force Base, which once provided jobs for 8,000 people, is being rebuilt but also scaled back. Mr. Clinton had made a campaign promise to rebuild it.

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