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Federal File: School visits; Staffing; New priorities

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As Cabinet officers fanned out late last week to begin selling President Clinton's four-year economic plan, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley was scheduled to return to his home state of South Carolina to speak to students at the University of South Carolina.

The former Governor of South Carolina was also scheduled to make a stop at the University of North Carolina.

For her part, Madeleine M. Kunin, the former Vermont Governor who is awaiting confirmation as deputy education secretary, was to address students at the University of Vermont and Syracuse University.

Mr. Clinton, meanwhile, was to make appearances at two public schools--Chillicothe (Ohio) High School and Haviland Middle School in Hyde Park, N.Y.

And Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen was to speak at McCallum High School in Austin, Texas; Jesse Brown, the secretary of veterans affairs, at Chicago's Hyde Park Career Academy High School; and Energy Secretary Hazel R. O'Leary at the Elementary School Science Center in Sommerville, N.J.

The status of some of Secretary Riley's top aides became a little clearer at a briefing the Education Department held last week on the Clinton budget plan.

Terry Peterson, who served as Mr. Riley's chief education adviser during his term as Governor, will apparently hold the title of "counselor to the Secretary,'' rather than take charge of any one component of the department.

Marshall S. Smith, the Stanford University dean who has been the subject of much speculation about what job he might end up with, was more vague about his role. Mr. Smith, who had been most often mentioned for the job that went to Ms. Kunin, has denied interest in a federal post. But Mr. Riley said recently that Mr. Smith would be a member of his team.

Mr. Smith, who was introduced last week as a "consultant to the Secretary,'' said that he was on leave as dean of Stanford's education school and that he "may or may not have a role in the future.''

He did, however, sound very much a part of the Clinton Administration, doing most of the talking. Some observers speculate that Mr. Riley will create a position for him equal in status to Ms. Kunin's.

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, William H. Natcher, D-Ky., said at a hearing last week that the fiscal 1994 social-services spending bill that includes Education Department programs is likely "to exceed defense and become the largest federal spending bill'' ever.--J.M.&M.P.

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