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Goodling Raps Bush's Plan To VerifyNumber of Lunches Served by Schools

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Washington--The ranking Republican member of the House Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education has taken strong exception to a Bush Administration plan to spend $6 million to audit schools as a way of verifying that they have not overestimated the number of school lunches they serve.

At a hearing last week on legislation to reauthorize child-nutrition programs, officials from the Agriculture Department, the agency that administers the school-lunch program, said that such overcounts could cost the government as much as $200 million each year.

But Representative William Goodling of Pennsylvania, who is also the ranking minority member on the full House Education and Labor Committee, said that the $6 million would be better spent by giving more support to the food programs.

He argued that schools were already subject to reviews by state and local auditors. If the federal review program is approved, he joked, "schools will need new buildings" to accommodate all the auditors.

John W. Bode, the usda's assistant secretary for food and consumer services, reiterated the Administration's commitment to fully funding Section 4 of the National School Lunch Act. That provision grants schools 14 cents for each lunch served.

He also said that the Administration proposed spending a total of $4.9 billion on child-nutrition programs, $300 million more than what was spent in fiscal 1989.--ef

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