Youth Portions of Clinton's Stimulus Plan May Be Revived
WASHINGTON--President Clinton and other Administration officials said last week that they may revive education- and youth-related elements of his unsuccessful economic-stimulus bill in a new package.
But those words offered only partial comfort to education lobbyists here, as well as to state and local officials who were counting on additional federal assistance for their Chapter 1, Head Start, summer-youth-jobs, and immunization programs.
"We're going to watch and see where it comes down,'' said Richard A. Kruse, the director of governmental relations for the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the president of the Committee for Education Funding. "There is a growing feeling that there's going to be another attempt at this, and we should be a part of it.''
Noting that Congress will need to address such issues as former President Bush's pension and Mr. Clinton's pledge of $1.8 billion in aid to Russia and its surrounding republics in an upcoming supplemental-appropriations bill, Mr. Kruse said that measure could be the vehicle for inclusion of parts of the stimulus bill.
In a recent interview, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said he had urged the President to include $1.86 billion for a shortfall in funding for the Pell Grant program. The money had been included in the original stimulus supplemental even though it did not directly address the bill's principal focus, job creation.
Paying instead for the shortfall over several years would create tremendous pressure on the department's overall budget, Mr. Riley said.
"I am determined to make [the program] stable,'' the Secretary vowed. "There's still some hope that some parts of the supplemental will be revisited.''
Mr. Riley did not say whether the Pell Grant money would be included in new legislation.
Leon E. Panetta, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, last week said the President was "moving quickly'' on submitting another supplemental bill that would focus on creating summer jobs.
In a briefing with several major newspapers that attracted wide attention because of his pessimistic assessment of the prospects for the Administration's legislative program, Mr. Panetta did not say what specific jobs programs would be included.
At the Local Level
Meanwhile, directors of various education and youth programs are coming to grips with the fact that money they had been planning on is not on the way and may never be.
The $16.3 billion stimulus bill, which was killed by a Republican filibuster in the Senate, included $1 billion to create 700,000 summer jobs for teenagers, $500 million each for Chapter 1 and Head Start summer programs, $300 million for childhood immunizations, $235 million for Chapter 1 programs adversely affected by use of 1990 Census data, and $15 million for a national-service summer program. (See Education Week, April 28, 1993.)
The failure of the measure "has caused us a considerable amount of dismay,'' said Carole McCarthy, the manager of youth programs for the Boston Economic Development Industrial Corporation.
Ms. McCarthy said 3,500 high school students would be placed in summer jobs through her programs if the original stimulus money comes through, while 800 would be placed without it. She said she was particularly upset because the proposed funding would for the first time give the federal government an active role in promoting links between the Job Training Partnership Act, Chapter 1, and Head Start.
Ms. McCarthy had begun forging relationships with the city school department and with other community-service agencies in an effort to establish an academic-enrichment component for youths participating in the summer-jobs program. The academic component, which would have been required by the Administration's proposal, will now not be offered, she said.
"The theory behind what the Administration was trying to do was what we've been trying to do for years,'' Ms. McCarthy said.
'It's Almost Too Late'
Pam LaFrenz, the Head Start program director for the Missouri Valley Human Resources Community Action Agency, said that instead of continuing that program throughout the summer, she will dismiss 95 percent of her staff next month, two days after the last day of services provided to 380 Missouri children and families.
"It just seems to go against why we've elected a new President,'' she said.
Ethel Lowry, the Chapter 1 coordinator for the North Dakota education department and the president of the National Association of State Coordinators of Compensatory Education, noted that most state coordinators had traveled to Washington recently for a conference on using the expected summer money. (See Education Week, April 21, 1993.)
"We were looking forward to it, but we are accepting'' the fate of the measure, Ms. Lowry said.
"To us, now, it is almost too late,'' she added. "You could have a program, but to have an effective one it's almost too late.''
The same apparently goes for the summer-jobs money. Program directors say that although they have been planning for an expansion of their programs, they must get the money soon to have any impact.
"Something has to happen in the next couple of weeks,'' Ms. McCarthy
said. "Things are getting perilously close.''