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Administration and Congressional negotiators reportedly were close last week to reaching an agreement on the fiscal 1990 federal budget.

The negotiators have been seeking $28 billion in deficit reductions, divided equally between spending cuts and revenue increases.

If the 1990 budget does not provide for a deficit at or below the $110-billion target set by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit-reduction act, across-the-board cuts in a wide range of defense and domestic programs, including education, would be triggered.

The group may also work on a budget agreement for 1991.

No New Education Money

In Anti-Drug Plan for D.C.

A federal plan designed to fight the drug problem in the District of Columbia does not include any new funds for school-based drug-education programs.

The plan, announced last week by William J. Bennett, the national drug-policy director, emphasizes building two federal prisons, evicting drug dealers from housing projects, and bringing in additional federal prosecutors and drug agents. The program is expected to cost between $70 million and $80 million.

The proposal notes that, under legislation passed by the Congress last year, Washington already is due to receive 50 percent more in drug-education funds from the Education Department, bringing its federal funding to $1.4 million. Under the law, 70 percent of this money will be given to the school system, and 30 percent will go to the Mayor's office.

Automatic Cutoff Opposed

For High-Default Schools

The Education Department's plan for reducing student-loan defaults will not automatically exclude schools whose students have high default rates from federal aid programs, officials have indicated.

But the forthcoming proposal will require such institutions to prepare management plans for lowering their rates, the officials explained.

"A certain percentage would trigger discussion between the department and school officials as to what has to be done" to decrease defaults, Charles E.M. Kolb, deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation told a Senate appropriations hearing this month.

Mr. Kolb said the department had sent its revised default-reduction proposal to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

An earlier proposal would have cut off from aid any school with a default rate exceeding 20 percent.

Representative Bill Goodling of Pennsylvania has called for "a five-year war to wipe out illiteracy" by creating a trust fund to finance a variety of literacy programs.

Mr. Goodling, the ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, said in an interview last week that he planned to bring together leaders from the Congress and the private sector to discuss how such a fund could be set up.

The fund could be administered by the Education Department, he said, and would back such efforts as edu4cating prisoners and aiding disadvantaged children and parents.

Federally subsidized school breakfasts will be larger and students will be allowed to refuse one meal item, under a new Agriculture Department rule that takes effect on July 1.

The new regulation, issued March 30, requires schools participating in the program to serve breakfasts containing fluid milk; a fruit, vegetable, or full-strength juice; and two servings of bread or meat or one of each.

Under the current regulation, which was modified after research showed that the meals were low in iron, school breakfasts need only contain servings of milk, fruit, and bread. Allowing students to refuse one item will cut down on waste, officials said.

Vol. 08, Issue 30

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