House Votes Extension of Education Spending
Washington--As the start of the fiscal year 1983 approached, the House of Representatives last week passed a temporary spending measure that would continue the budget for federal education programs at the current, fiscal 1982, level of $14.7 billion.
The measure, HJ Res 599, which the Senate is expected to pass sometime this week,would set spending at that level from the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 until Dec. 15, when the Congress is expected to have completed work on its "regular" appropriations bill for the Education Department.
The action has no immediate effect on schools and colleges, however, because most federal education funds are distributed to schools in the fiscal year following the one in which they are appropriated. This process, known as "advance funding," permits planning time for school officials.
Because the Congressional recess for the upcoming elections is scheduled to begin on Oct. 10, the Congress is not expected to pass the regular appropriations bill until its members meet for a post-election session, which begins on Nov. 29. At that time, action is planned on the 13 bills that set spending for all government agencies.
Should those bills not be enacted by Dec. 15, the Congress will be required to pass another temporary spending measure, known as a continuing resolution.
The funding levels for education programs have already been recom-mended by the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, to the full Appropriations Committee, but the figures have not been released. Because the House, by tradition, initiates the appropriations process, no action has been taken to draft a Senate version of the appropriations bill.
President Reagan had recommended reducing the budget of the Education Department to $9.95 billion. The Administration's budget, released last February, also pro-posed reducing the Cabinet-level department to an agency of lesser status.
Other proposals included consolidating vocational- and adult-education programs into a block grant to the states, consolidating the separate programs for the education of handicapped children into another block grant, and altering the federally accepted definition of a "bilingual-education program" to permit the distribution of federal funds to schools that provide no instruction in a student's native language. To date, not one of these proposals has been accepted by the Congress.