News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Panel Weighs Block Grant Plan
Now that the Senate has passed a K-12 block grant plan, House Republicans are pushing one of their own.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing last week on a plan by Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, R-Pa., to merge about 30 federal precollegiate education programs into a single grant that would give states and districts wide latitude in spending the money.
The grant would combine money for programs now receiving a total of $3.3 billion a year, including the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, professional teacher development, and homeless education. States would have to ensure that 95 percent of the money was spent on classroom services.
In passing a recent tax bill, the Senate voted to create a block grant that includes just about every federal schools program except special education. ("Bill Previews Future Education Policy Battles," April 29, 1998.)
The House bill may come up for debate this summer.
ED Shifts to Electronic Grant System
The Department of Education will complete its move to an entirely electronic-based grants system this week.
Under EDCAPS, which stands for Education Central Automated Processing System, all grant applications, payments, reports, and administration will be done over the Internet.
Institutions will no longer be required to file expense reports. Instead, they will access their funding through the electronic system, which will keep track of expenditures.
The transition was scheduled to be completed by May 11 for institutions east of the Mississippi River and May 13 for those west.
The department also has established a hot line, (888) 336-8930, to answer questions about the transition.
The department also published its semiannual regulatory agenda, its listing of upcoming regulatory activities regarding its grant programs, in the April 27 Federal Register.
Vol. 17, Issue 35, Page 25