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Federal File: Rumors denied; E.S.E.A. delayed

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Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley insists that he plans to remain in his current job.

One rumor that has circulated for the past several weeks would have the former South Carolina Governor leaving the Education Department to challenge Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C.

However, Mr. Thurmond's term does not expire until 1996.

A more recent rumor has Mr. Riley taking over the presidency of Furman University, the Greenville, S.C., institution he graduated from in 1954.

A university spokeswoman said word that Mr. Riley would relocate there has been circulating ever since President John E. Johns announced his retirement last month.

But a spokeswoman for Mr. Riley said last week: "He's made a commitment to President Clinton that he'll be his education secretary, and he's happy to do so.''

The House will not complete work on legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act before it adjourns for the year.

Members of the House Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education last week postponed their mark-up of the legislation, an action that effectively put off work on the bill until 1994.

Members put the kibosh on House passage of the measure before their scheduled Thanksgiving adjournment because they had too many questions about a version of the bill crafted by subcommittee aides and too little time remained in the House schedule.

Undersecretary of Education Marshall S. Smith last week told reporters: "We're disappointed, but we think it's a responsible action on their part.''

Mr. Smith and Thomas W. Payzant, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, acknowledged that lawmakers are concerned about the Administraton's proposed Chapter 1 funding formula--which aides cited as the proposal that is likely to be the most controversial.

Lawmakers have also expressed concern about a plan to eliminate the Chapter 2 block grant and a proposal to broaden the scope of the Eisenhower mathematics and science program to other subject areas.

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