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The House Education and Labor Committee may consider modifications in the "family and medical leave act" to address concerns raised by the National School Boards Association, a panel member said last week.

Officials of the nsba have argued that the proposed legislation could interfere with leave policies designed to minimize disruptions in the academic calendar.

As approved by the Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations on an 11-to-5 vote last week, the measure would require employers to grant their workers up to 10 weeks of unpaid leave every two years to care for a newborn or adopted infant or an ill child or parent.

The bill also would allow seriously ill workers to take up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave a year.

Before sending the bill to the full panel, the subcommittee turned down a series of amendments offered by Republican members. Most of the proposals would have placed more limitations on employees' right to take leave, while also easing restrictions on employers.

The panel quashed a proposal to exempt state and local governments from the bill's provisions.

But members of the full committee are working to address the "legitimate concerns" of the nsba, according to Representative Marge Roukema of New Jersey, the subcommittee's ranking Republican and its only g.o.p. member to back the bill.

Modifications under discussion would "maximize the discretion of school districts while retaining the rights to family leave" granted in the bill, an aide to Ms. Roukema said.

As of last week, no date had been set for markup of a Senate companion measure.

The Defense Department does not plan to move until next year on its mandate to close or curtail operations on 91 military bases, Education Department officials indicated last week.

As a result, the Education Department has not asked for "transition'' funds in its 1990 budget to aid affected school districts, Charles Hansen, director of the impact-aid program, told a House appropriations panel.

Because affected districts will receive their full allotments for the 1989-90 school year, he said, the department would not need funds to help buffer the loss of students that would accompany base closings until fiscal year 1991, which starts in the fall of 1990.

The bases were targeted by a bipartisan commission, whose plans will go into effect unless the Congress votes to block them. Some bases would be closed or lose personnel, while others would gain jobs. (See Education Week, Jan. 11, 1989.)

Mr. Hansen said that until defense officials release their schedule for implementing the closings, the Education Department cannot determine the precise effect on the impact-aid program, which assists districts that lose tax revenue because of federal activity in their communities.

The Michigan Department of4Education received $11.7 million in excess Chapter 1 funds for two fiscal years as a result of overstated expenditures, according the semiannual report of the Education Department's office of the inspector general.

Errors were made in the state's calculations of expenditures because there was "a lack of a system to assure" proper handling of data, the report said.

The audit also found that Michigan did not compile and report actual figures on average daily attendance as required, but rather used estimates that could not be supported.

The state will have to refund the $11.7 million and develop and implement better data-control systems.

The report also cited an audit of federal vocational-education funds in Illinois that found $16.9 million for which there was inadequate ac8counting. The state board of education must account for the money or refund it, the report said.

Seven new Education Department pamphlets offer brief explanations of civil-rights laws affecting schools and colleges.

The pamphlets cover the following topics: how laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and disability apply to the assignment of students to schools or classes; the rights of handicapped students; the role of guidance counselors in ensuring equal opportunity; minority recruitment and admissions in higher education; and equal opportunity for women in intercollegiate sports.

Copies of the pamphlets are available without charge from the Education Department, Office for Civil Rights, Washington, D.C. 20202-1328; (202) 732-2075.

Vol. 08, Issue 24

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