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Private Schools, Chapter 2 Surveyed

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Washington--As a result of more flexible federal guidelines, private schools are receiving Chapter 2 block-grant funds without first providing necessary assurances that they do not discriminate against women, minorities, and the handicapped, according to a report by the American Association of School Administrators.

In a survey of 34 urban school districts, the association found that 18 districts had not obtained the proper documents from private-school officials qualifying them for funds under Chapter 2 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981.

Compliance with Federal Laws

Under federal regulations, both public and private schools are eligible for Chapter 2 block-grant funds. But the schools must sign statements agreeing to comply with federal laws prohibiting discrimination against women, handicapped people, and members of racial-minority groups before they can receive any monies.

During the current school year, the 34 school districts surveyed received a total of $41.5 million in Chapter 2 block-grant funds to support a variety of educational activities, according to the aasa report, which is entitled, "Private School Participation in ecia Chapter 2."

On the average, the districts received about $1.2 million, while the grants to private schools averaged about $190,000, or about 15.6 percent of each district's total allocation. However, the report noted that the grants to private schools ranged from 3.9 percent to 29.1 percent of the districts' allocations.

Mr. Hunter said the association conducted the survey because it was concerned about school districts' liability for the handling of the federal funds. Since the federal regulations are intended to give local school officials a maximum amount of flexibility, he said, there needs to be some clarification "to make sure they are not violating the law."

Mr. Hunter said the association's findings have been forwarded to the Education Department.--sgf

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