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States rely on federal funding to pay about 41 percent of their state education agency staffing and administrative costs, the General Accounting Office has found.

A new G.A.O. report, "Education Finance: Extent of Federal Funding in State Education Agencies," includes a detailed state-by-state breakdown of the amount of federal funds used to finance state education operations.

Michigan topped the list with 76.8 percent, and Maine was last, with 6.1 percent. But the report notes that such figures can be misleading.

Michigan's education office, for example, administers three programs most others do not: vocational rehabilitation, disability determination, and student loans. When only 10 "core" education programs--including Title I, Chapter 2, and special education--are considered, Michigan uses federal funds to foot 12.5 percent of its administrative bills.

Maine, on the other hand, includes the state's teacher-retirement program. Excluding those costs, the federal share in Maine rises to 43 percent.

The average share of federal funds used for administrative expenses for the 10 core programs is 29 percent.

The report also notes that only 5.8 percent of the federal funds are retained by the states and that the rest go to school districts.

House members requested the study last year after expressing concerns over the amount of federal dollars used for state education administration. They used the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to enact limits on such spending.

Copies of the report are available from the General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, Md. 20884-6015; (202) 512-6000.

Math and Science Education

The Department of Energy's mathematics and science program targets its dollars ineffectively, and fails to evaluate the areas it does underwrite, a General Accounting Office report concludes.

Despite a funding increase of 1,250 percent between fiscal 1990 and 1993 for the education program, department officials "did not effectively oversee or direct the program," states the report, "Precollege Math and Science Education: Department of Energy's Precollege Program Managed Ineffectively."

The G.A.O. notes that only 11 percent of the department's education funding was devoted to systemic reforms and that 70 percent went toward teacher-enhancement projects that did not focus on increasing student achievement.

G.A.O. officials note that Energy Department officials pledged "to undertake several initiatives to substantially improve this program's management and evaluation function, [but] the depth of executive support for these initiatives and their subsequent staying power were uncertain at the time our review was completed."

Copies of the report are available from the General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, Md. 20884-6015; (202) 512-6000.

Riley Recuperates

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley was released from Johns Hopkins Hospital last week and has been resting at his Washington home.

The Secretary is recuperating after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous prostate. He will rest at home for a few weeks before returning to the office, a department spokeswoman said.

She said that the cancer was detected early and that Mr. Riley is expected to make a full recovery.

School to Work

The Clinton Administration has selected Oregon's associate superintendent of professional-technical education to run the new federal school-to-work program.

An Education Department spokesman confirmed the choice of J.D. Hoye last week, although the announcement is not official.

Ms. Hoye is to begin her new job this month, overseeing implementation of the School-to-Work Opportunities Act, which is jointly administered by the Labor and Education departments.

Oregon is widely recognized as a leader in the school-to-work movement because of its efforts to develop skills certificates and career paths for high school youths.

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