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Proposed Hike in Postal Rates Would Affect Education Groups

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Nonprofit educational organizations, school libraries, and publishers of classroom materials such as the Weekly Reader face increased postage costs under the new rate recommendations made by the Postal Service Commission.

Postage for third-class nonprofit mail would increase by an average of 0.8 percent per piece, according to Stephen Sharfman, assistant general counsel for the independent commission.

The size of the increase would depend on whether or not the material was presorted according to zip code, city, or state.

Mr. Sharfman said the cost of sending second-class nonprofit mail--such as magazines and other materials--would increase by 23.7 percent, to an average of 10.9 cents per piece.

Postage for classroom materials would increase by 16.5 percent, to an average cost of 10.9 cents per piece.

In addition, libraries mailing materials to one another would pay 20.5 percent more under the new recommendations.

The increase would raise this special book rate to: 65 cents per pound for the first pound; 23 cents per pound for the second through seventh pounds; and 12 cents per pound for materials that weigh eight pounds or more.

Issued on March 4, the increases are the first proposed by the commission since 1985.

The panel also recommended raising the price of sending a first-class letter from 22 cents to 25 cents and increasing postage for all other second- and third-class mail, as well as for Express Mail and postcards.

If the Postal Board of Governors approves the recommendations, the new rates could become effective as early as mid-April, Mr. Sharfman said.--dv

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