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Accord Reached on Bill To Extend Programs Serving Disabled Youths

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Washington--Republicans and Democrats on the House Subcommittee on Select Education have reached a compromise on a measure to extend a number of federal programs serving children with disabilities.

The programs, which include virtually all the research, dissemination, technical-assistance, and model-demonstration projects financed under the Education of the Handicapped Act, technically expired last fall. Until recently, however, subcommittee members had been unable to come to an agreement over a bill to reauthorize the programs. (See Education Week, Sept. 6, 1989.)

The new compromise measure, a copy of which became available last week, is a hybrid of two major initiatives being sought independently by the Democratic chairman of the subcommittee and its ranking Republican.

One of those initiatives is an effort to increase involvement in the programs funded under the law on the part of minority businesses, historically black colleges and universities, and other postsecondary institutions with a large share of minority students. It would give those organizations priority over4other groups in competing for special-education grants, and would set aside sums for projects operating in geographic areas with large minority and underserved populations.

That provision was being pushed by Representative Major R. Owens, Democrat of New York and the subcommittee's chairman.

The panel's ranking Republican, Steve Bartlett of Texas, was strongly advocating another initiative that appears in the compromise bill: a grant program to help students with disabilities make the transition from school to work or further study. That program would require state education agencies and state vocational-rehabilitation agencies and other employment groups to work together in order to receive funding.

No proposed funding levels are yet included in the measure, which had not yet been introduced as of last week.

A subcommittee hearing on the bill is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 20 and 21.

A more modest bill to reauthorize the special-education programs passed the Senate on Nov. 16. (See Education Week, Oct. 4, 1989.)

--dv

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