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Nearly All Schools Meet New U.S. Anti-Drug Rule

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Washington--Virtually all public schools have met a new federal requirement to adopt anti-drug programs and policies in order to continue receiving federal funds after Oct. 1, the Education Department reported last week.

Fewer than 100 districts nationwide, and no states, have failed to certify that they have adopted drug programs and policies, said Bill Wooten, director of the department's task force on drug-free schools and campuses.

Under a federal law adopted last year, public schools and state education departments that fail to provide such certification will be barred from receiving federal funds, including those distributed by agencies other than the Education Department, after Oct. 1. They cannot reapply for federal aid for at least 18 months.

The passage of the law marked the first time that the federal government required schools to provide instruction in a given subject area in order to receive federal aid. (See Education Week, May 2, 1990.)

Under the Education Department's interpretation of the law, Mr. Wooten said, schools that have not yet provided certification will be eligible for federal aid as soon as they have done so.

But schools that have not yet submitted certification will not be able to receive any federal funds distributed after Oct. 1, he said. The department is distributing a list of these districts to other federal agen8cies, Mr. Wooten said, with a note stating that they are not eligible for federal funds.

He said the department would decide on a "program by program" basis how to handle any cutoff of department funds, and would allow other federal agencies to develop their own cutoff policies.

Mr. Wooten also said the department turned down the 37 requests it received this summer from schools and institutions of higher learning to submit certifications after Oct. 1. Most of these institutions, he said, erroneously thought they had to implement their program and policies by that date, instead of just certifying that they had been adopted.

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