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Federal File: Helms aid; Changing of the guard

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Sen. Jesse A. Helms, R-N.C., is known best in education circles for his dogged efforts to legalize prayer in public schools, his tirades against the teaching of homosexuality, and his penchant for attaching contentious amendments to education bills. Never has he been seen as a big proponent of public schools or public school funding.

But now Mr. Helms is calling for more federal funding of education--in his home state.

He is holding up the sale to the U.S. Army of 11,000 acres in Harnett and Cumberland counties in exchange for more federal impact aid for schools in Harnett County, according to news reports.

Congress last year appropriated $15 million for the purchase of the property, which will be added to Fort Bragg and used for training. But the Army is prohibited from making land purchases of more than $1 million or 1,000 acres.

Fort Bragg officials have asked Congress to waive the rule, but Mr. Helms told The Associated Press through a spokesman that he will not allow that to happen unless more money is funneled to the Harnett County schools. The district receives about $24.50 per student in federal impact aid, which compensates districts for revenue lost due to the presence of federal facilities, such as military bases.

"If the Army can find $15 million to buy this resort for an officers' club and any other purpose, I feel it can find some money to help Harnett educate the children of these military families," Mr. Helms told the A.P. through a spokesman.

Schools in Cumberland County receive about $180 per student in impact aid.

The Committee for Education Funding has new leadership. Edward R. Kealy, formerly the director of federal relations for the National School Boards Association, is the organization's new executive director.

He replaces Susan Frost, who has taken a job with the Education Department.

John Forkenbrock, the executive director of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, will serve as the C.E.F.'s president in 1995. Violet Boyer, the director of federal relations for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, was elected vice president.

More than 100 associations and other education interests belong to the C.E.F., an umbrella lobbying group for federal education financing.

--Mark Pitsch

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