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The Senate late last week approved an expansive welfare-reform measure that stresses education and job training for aid recipients.

The measure--proposed by Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, Democrat of New York--was passed by a vote of 93 to 3, but only after an amendment by Minority Leader Robert J. Dole was attached.

The Dole amendment, offered in an attempt to head off a threatened Presidential veto, would require some recipients to participate in unpaid community work projects.

Public-welfare groups and the National Governors' Association opposed such a mandatory "workfare'' provision.

The five-year, $2.8-billion plan would provide $1 billion annually by 1992 for grants to states to help them set up job-training and basic-education programs for participants.

The bill will now go to a conference panel, which will resolve differences between it and a similar, more costly House plan.

After a school-prayer amendment was withdrawn, the Senate last week approved and cleared for the President's signature a measure changing the effective date of the new omnibus education bill.

Because the Hawkins-Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Act was to take effect on July 1, Education Department officials had ruled that federal-aid payments due after that date would be made under new rules that the law set for a variety of programs.

That would have changed the amount of funding that states and districts were eligible for, and would have delayed some payments.

Senator Jesse A. Helms, Republican of North Carolina, had threatened to force a vote on a school-prayer amendment to the bill to change the omnibus measure's effective date, but he later relented.

"Senator Helms never intended to impede passage of this legislation,'' but chose to attach the rider to it because it dealt with education, said Senator David Karnes, a Nebraska Repubican who offered the amendment on Mr. Helms's behalf.

Witnesses at a recent hearing expressed differing views on a proposed federal early-childhood initiative.

At a June 10 Senate Labor and Resources Committee hearing on the "Smart Start'' plan, Connecticut Education Commissioner Gerald N. Tirozzi, applauded a provision placing primary administrative responsibility with the Secretary of Education, and recommended a "parallel structure at the state level.''

And Roseanne Bentley, president of the Missouri Board of Education, praised the plan for providing enough funds to foster collaboration among public schools, Head Start, and the private sector.

But Eugenia Boggus, president of the National Head Start Association, told the panel, "If money needed to expand Head Start is given to expand Smart Start, poor families will be the ones who will suffer.''

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee last week approved a bipartisan package authorizing a $1.5-billion expansion of federal nutrition aid, including the school-breakfast program.

If the bill is signed into law, federal reimbursements for school breakfasts would increase by 3 cents per meal for each participating child.

The bill would also raise spending levels for summer food programs for children and nutrition programs offered by child-care centers.

Overall, the bill would raise authorization levels for child-nutrition programs by $60 million over three years. Those programs are set to be reviewed by the Congress next year.

A decision by the Internal Revenue Service to withdraw its proposal to tax certain fringe benefits for state and local employees drew praise from educators and state legislators last week.

"We welcome the decision of the Internal Revenue Service to withdraw its attempt to tax unused vacation, sick leave, and compensatory time, as well as similar forms of employee benefits,'' said Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Officials of the National Conference of State Legislatures also hailed the decision.

The I.R.S. had proposed requiring state and local employees to pay taxes on benefits such as vacation and sick leave, at the time they are accrued.

The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee is expected to vote this month on a bill that would require employers to grant up to 10 weeks of unpaid leave for parents to care for newborn, newly adopted, or seriously ill children.

The bill is a revised version of a measure introduced last year by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, who has modified it to reduce its cost and help employers plan for workers' time off.

The revised "parental and medical leave act'' would shorten the duration of both parental and medical leave provided in the earlier bill, exempt businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and require that workers serve one year before they qualify.

Temple University has agreed to settle a longstanding sex-discrimination suit by promising to provide a proportionate share of athletic scholarships to women.

The consent decree approved June 13 by a federal district judge is believed to be the first settlement of its kind to contain such a provision, university officials said.

Female athletes had charged that men's athletic programs received a disproportionate share of university funding in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Vol. 07, Issue 39

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