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Going Public

Two granddaughters of former President Bush are going public.

Eighth-grade twins Jenna and Barbara Bush, the only children of Texas Gov. George W. Bush, will enroll at a public high school in Austin in August. They've attended the private St. Andrews Episcopal School there since their father took office in January 1995. St. Andrews does not have a high school.

The governor told local reporters that his daughters decided themselves to move to the city's 75,000-student public school system.

Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for Gov. Bush, confirmed that the twins will attend Stephen Austin High School. "It was a private, family decision," he said.

Located in the center of Austin, the 2,200-student school benefits from close proximity to the city's University of Texas campus as well as strong support from residents, a district spokeswoman said. The school had 29 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists this year.

"We're glad we have a governor that has confidence enough in the public schools to enroll his children there," said Richard Kouri, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, one of the state's teachers' unions.

Shell Game?

The New Hampshire legislature is still struggling to pass a measure that would require all school districts to offer kindergarten.

The House passed two different bills this month, one that calls for the state to give districts $500 per kindergarten child, and one that calls for $325 per child.

But the House authorized only $1 in spending. Rep. Nils Larson, the chairman of the education committee, said lawmakers were sending a message that they do not want to subtract the funding from existing state school aid, as Gov. Stephen Merrill proposes.

The Senate is expected to take the same position as the governor, rather than propose a new source of revenue in a tax-averse state that is already faced with a court ruling that its finance system is unconstitutional.

"We pride ourselves on having no taxes here--and that gives us no money to pay for things that are needed," Mr. Larson said. "We are very good at playing the shell game. But at the moment we are running around with all the shells, and I don't think there's a pea under any of them."

--JEFF ARCHER & Meg Sommerfeld

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