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House Panel Approves E.C.I.A Amendments

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Washington--A House education subcommittee last week quickly approved a bill that its sponsor says is needed to clarify and to correct "mistakes" in the legislation that created Chapters 1 and 2 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 (ecia).

The Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education added only a few minor amendments to HR 1035, which is sponsored by the panel's ranking Republican member, Representative William F. Goodling of Pennsylvania.

The full House Education and Labor Committee was expected to complete action on the measure by the end of last week.

Representative Goodling's bill is almost identical to a measure that he sponsored, and which won the approval of both the House and the Senate, during the last session of Congress. That bill, however, was not signed by President Reagan, who objected to a provision in it that strengthened the Congress's right to review and to disapprove federal education regulations. (See Education Week, Jan. 19, 1983.)

Sections Excised

Subcommittee staff members said sections that the President found unacceptable in its previous version have been excised from the new bill. The Administration, however, has yet to comment on a new section of the bill that pertains to so-called "category B" impact-aid payments to school districts.

At a hearing on the measure earlier this month, Representative Goodling said the section regarding impact-aid payments was necessary to take care of "drafting errors" in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981.

According to the Representative, the House and Senate conference report on the budget bill "clearly stated" that the category B payments--targeted for districts that enroll children whose parents either live or work at a federal installation--were to be phased out by the end of the fiscal year 1984.

As approved, however, the bill stated that the payments would not be made after the end of the current fiscal year. Representative Goodling's bill would extend the payments to districts for another year.

Another section of the bill that the aides said might run into opposition from the Administration pertains to state-run Chapter 1 programs for migrant children. That section would order the Education Department to continue using the definition of a "currently migratory child" that was in effect under the program when it used to be known as Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Edu-cation Act of 1965. Since unveiling the President's proposed fiscal 1984 budget for education, department officials have stated repeatedly that the program at present is serving many children who really aren't "migratory" at all, and that it should be amended "to focus migrant-education funds on the truly migratory."

Although it has not dealt directly with the definition problem, the Administration has proposed cutting from five years to two years the amount of time that a formerly migrant student could continue to receive services under the program. (See Education Week, March 23, 1983.)

According to subcommittee staff members, that plan was expected to be introduced in the House by the end of last week.

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