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E.D. To Base Most Grant Awards for 1992-93 On 1980 Census Data

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WASHINGTON--The Education Department will base most grant awards for the 1992-93 school year on 1980 census data rather than wait for data from the 1990 census, Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander announced last week.

In a statement, Mr. Alexander noted that counts of low-income families, which are needed to compute awards under the Chapter 1 compensatory-education program and other programs, are not expected to be available before July.

Waiting that long would have left many school districts uncertain of how many Chapter 1 teachers their budgets could accommodate. Most states require districts to notify teachers of potential layoffs in early spring.

Local school officials became alarmed in recent weeks after they learned that Mr. Alexander planned to wait for the new data to become available. (See Education Week, April 8, 1992.)

Letter to Governors

In a letter to governors, Mr. Alexander said "the 1990 data will not be available on a satisfactory basis that would permit timely planning and implementation of Chapter 1 programs throughout the nation.''

The department will again use 1980 census data, which have determined funding allocations since 1983.

States that have gained significant numbers of students since 1980, such as California, Texas, and Florida, would have received more funds had the more recent data been used.

School-age population declined nationally during the decade, and the states that saw the most dramatic decreases would have lost a significant amount of federal aid this year had the 1990 data been used.

Other Programs Affected

In addition to Chapter 1, Mr. Alexander's decision affects other programs under which allocations are based in whole or in part on the Chapter 1 formula.

Such programs include Even Start, the Eisenhower mathematics and science program, the McKinney Act program for homeless children, some vocational-education programs, and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

Programs whose allocations are based entirely on school-age population--most notably the Chapter 2 block grants--are not affected, as that information is updated with annual estimates and current data is already available.--J.M.

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