Federal News Update

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The National School Boards Association, which has been lobbying Congress for a bill to permit school- board members to participate in the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (acir), will present its position this week at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations and Human Resources.

The acir, an influential federal advisory group made up of elected officials from state, local, and federal governments, has so far rejected requests by the association to allow school-board representation. The association is now asking Congress to amend the 1959 federal law that established acir to provide for representation by school-board members.

Bills to permit three school-board members to sit on the commission, which currently has 26 members, have been introduced in both chambers of Congress. Senator Charles H. Percy, Republican of Illinois, sponsored the Senate bill, with nine co-sponsors. Representative Raymond J. McGrath, Republican of New York, introduced the House bill, which has 172 co-sponsors.

John R. Purcell, a lobbyist for the school-boards group, said those who objected to school-board participation on the commission claimed that "school-board members would be only interested in education issues," as opposed to other elected officials who have a "general purpose."

"School boards should have the same treatment as other units of government," said Mr. Purcell. "If you look at the numbers of people school boards employ and the amount of tax dollars they control, it's more than most local governments," he said.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc) has decided to permit school districts to file information on their employment practices every two years, instead of annually as is now required.

According to Cathie A. Shattuck, acting chairman of the eeoc, the biennial reporting requirement "will greatly reduce the reporting burden on all schools involved." Currently, commission regulations require school districts with 100 or more employees to file annual staff- information reports in order to remain in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under the proposed change in the rules, Ms. Shattuck explained in a prepared statement, the employment reports would be filed only in even years beginning this fall.

The filing date was developed to coincide with that of the Education Department Office for Civil Rights' companion survey of pupil populations, which has been conducted on a biennial basis since 1976.

The proposed amendment will be published in the Federal Register shortly, according to eeoc officials, followed by a 60-day period for public comment.

Vol. 01, Issue 30

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