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After Two Lean Years, Education Budget Up 14%

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Washington

Federal education programs rebounded from two lean years when President Clinton signed a fiscal 1997 spending bill on Sept. 30.

Details of the budget for the Education Department and other related programs appear in the tables at right.

Money for the Department of Education rose by $3.6 billion, or 14 percent, to reach $28.8 billion for the budget year that began this month. ("Clinton Signs Bill Boosting ED Budget by $3.6 Billion," October 9, 1996.)

In the previous two years, the department's budget fell from $26.6 billion to $25.2 billion.

Not only did education groups rejoice at the final result for fiscal 1997, but they also liked the fact that Republicans and Democrats both sought education increases after bickering for almost two years over whether to cut federal K-12 spending.

"It's a fantastic return to bipartisan support for investing in education," said Edward R. Kealy, the executive director of the Committee for Education Funding, an umbrella lobbying group for education associations.

Programs throughout the department won increases, but its three biggest programs did the best.

Spending for Title I remedial education rose 6 percent, from $7.2 billion to $7.7 billion.

Special education funding jumped 24 percent, from $3.2 billion to $4 billion.

And an increase in the maximum award in the Pell Grant student-aid program from $2,470 to $2,700 will pump an additional $1 billion into the program, raising spending to $5.9 billion this year.

Some of Mr. Clinton's favorite programs also won the increases he sought. Funding for the Goals 2000: Educate America Act--which the House had voted to eliminate--rose to $491 million, a $141 million increase.

The School-to-Work Opportunities Act will receive $400 million.

Fiscal 1997 funding under that program will be split evenly between the departments of Education and Labor. The final total will be $50 million more than last year.


--DAVID J. HOFF

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