Many schools will be allowed to continue operating schoolwide projects under the Chapter 1 program, as the result of legislation signed by President Bush last week.
Some schools coping with shrinking budgets were facing the possibility this spring that they would not meet strict requirements that state and local funding be maintained from year to year. (See Education Week, June 3, 1992.)
About 600 schools are currently operating schoolwide projects, in which federal aid is used to upgrade an entire school, not just to serve strictly children eligible for Chapter 1.
In 1988, Congress made it easier to operate a schoolwide project by dropping a requirement that districts provide extra funding to such schools. But lawmakers also enacted stricter "maintenance of effort'' requirements than apply to other Chapter 1 schools.
In response to complaints from educators facing budgetary problems, Congress last month approved a bill that essentially waives the tighter rules for schools in districts experiencing budget cuts this year. Lawmakers will likely revisit the issue when Chapter 1 is reauthorized in 1993.
The Education Department and the Health and Human Services Department will work together more closely in improving services for disabled infants and toddlers, under an agreement signed last month.
In the 23-page document, seven Health and Human Services agencies and the Education Department's office of special-education programs outline the ways in which they will modify their programs to coordinate services for young disabled children.
Head Start agencies, for example, will be encouraged to share enrollment information with state education agencies, while state child-welfare agencies will be asked to provide for the evaluation of young children with disabilities who are in foster care.
The H.H.S. agencies covered by the agreement are the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families; the Maternal and Child Health Bureau; the Administration on Developmental Disabilities; the Medicaid Bureau; the National Institute on Mental Health; the Social Security Administration; and the Centers for Disease Control.
The Education Department is considering whether to relax standards for private schools that accept publicly placed special-education students.
In a notice published in the Aug. 13 Federal Register, the department says that current federal regulations calling for private schools to meet the same standards that apply to public schools may be limiting disabled students' access to otherwise qualified private school programs. Students are often excluded from such programs, for example, because a private school's teachers may not meet state standards for special-education certification.
The notice suggests that federal law be changed to require that private schools meet standards that are "comparable or equivalent'' to those applied to public schools.
Comments on the proposed change are due Sept. 28.
Three top Education Department officials have been formally sworn in to positions they had held on an acting basis for more than a year.
The nominations of Bruno V. Manno as assistant secretary for policy and planning, William D. Hansen as assistant secretary for management and budget, and Emerson J. Elliott as commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics were approved by the Senate in August. A Senate aide said that no problems had surfaced with the nominations and that there was "no particular reason'' for the long delay.
Mr. Manno, a former research director for the National Catholic Educational Association, joined the department in 1986, serving first in the research branch and jumping to the Secretary's office when Lamar Alexander assumed that post. Mr. Manno was a key member of the team that drafted the Bush Administration's America 2000 strategy.
Mr. Hansen has held a variety of administrative posts since joining the department in 1989, and previously worked in the Commerce and Energy departments.
Mr. Elliott has headed the statistics agency since 1984. He formerly served as the deputy director of the National Institute of Education and headed the education unit at the Office of Management and Budget.
John Florez has submitted his resignation as the executive director of the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
Mr. Florez said his departure, announced at a meeting of the commission last month, was due to personal factors. But education advocates in the Hispanic community have suggested other possible reasons for Mr. Florez's resignation, including frustration over the Bush Administration's alleged lack of support for the commission's work.
Also at the commission's meeting, members heard a recommendation from representatives of the Chicago Committee on Hispanic Education for creating a National Hispanic Education Council, based in Chicago, that would serve as a clearinghouse and research center to develop and promote a national agenda for Hispanic education.
The Interior Department has named John W. Tippeconnic 3rd to head the office of Indian-education programs in the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Mr. Tippeconnic, who has headed the Education Department's office of Indian education since April 1990, replaces Ed Parisian as the coordinator of the B.I.A.'s frequently criticized system of tribal schools.
Mr. Parisian left his post to take over the directorship of a Montana school.
Jon Wade, Mr. Tippeconnic's former deputy, will oversee the Education Department's Indian-education programs until a successor is appointed.
Pennsylvania may have to pay back $3.55 million in federal special-education funds because school officials overcounted the number of disabled pupils enrolled in those programs, as a result of a new federal audit.
In a report released this summer, the Education Department's office of the inspector general estimated the state's 1990 census of disabled students was off by 8,919. Because the department uses that count to allocate special-education funds to the state, the state received $3.55 million more in federal funds than it should have for that year, the report contends. To make up for the overpayment, the auditors recommended reducing the state's federal special-education allotment this year by the same amount.
But Bette Phelan, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania education department, said the state has "serious questions about the numbers.''
State officials are negotiating with federal education officials on the report. A final decision on the matter is expected later this year from Robert R. Davila, the assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services.
The House has approved legislation that would provide support services to help families avert the need for foster care and channel food to families on the brink of homelessness.
The "children's initiative'' would cost about $7 billion over five years and would be financed through a 10 percent surtax on people earning more than $1 million annually.
The anti-hunger portion of the bill would make changes in the food-stamp program to direct more aid to families at risk of becoming homeless, while the "family preservation'' portion would establish a new capped entitlement program and encourage state and local innovation in providing support services to help keep families together. The legislation, passed last month, also calls for improvements in foster-care and adoption programs for children who must be removed from their homes.
A measure passed by the Senate Finance Committee in July contains similar family-preservation provisions but does not finance them with a surtax on the wealthy. The provisions were approved as part of an urban-aid bill awaiting full Senate action.
The Office of Management and Budget released a statement last month charging that the House bill promotes "irresponsible tax-and-spend policies'' and warning of a Presidential veto. The bill passed by a 256-to-163 vote, too narrow a margin to override a veto.
The chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on education is planning to offer an amendment to allow the transfer of $3.9 billion from the Defense Department to education, health, and labor programs.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, has told lobbying groups that he hopes to attach the transfer amendment to the social-services spending bill he is currently crafting.
Under the amendment, the subcommittee would allocate an additional $600 million to Head Start, $1.35 billion to education, and $300 million to childhood immunizations, among other programs.
Those amounts would come on top of the regular appropriations. Although the funding levels in the draft Senate bill have not been made public, they are expected to be similar to the House numbers, which provide small increases for some programs and cuts or level funding for others.
Congress has rejected all previous attempts to shift money from defense to domestic programs, which is prohibited by the 1990 budget accord.
Under Mr. Harkin's planned amendment, the $1.35 billion would be distributed among the following education programs: Pell Grants, $500 million; Chapter 1, $400 million; TRIO, $50 million; special education, $150 million; vocational education, $100 million; impact aid, $50 million; libraries, $50 million; and developing institutions, $50 million.
Some 283,000 new summer jobs were created with funds appropriated under the urban-aid bill, considerably short of the target of 400,000 set by Congress, according to Labor Department estimates.
The $500 million emergency appropriation, passed in the wake of the Los Angeles riots, could have allowed cities to double or triple the number of summer jobs available for youths. But many municipalities were unable to use all of the extra funds, the department found, because the bill was not signed into law until June 22, when many programs were already under way or slated to begin shortly.
Many cities found it difficult to increase rapidly the number of work sites while ensuring that participants had adequate supervision, said Hugh Davies, the department's director of employment and training. Recruiting student participants after schools had closed for the summer also posed obstacles, he added.
The urban-aid bill allows cities to use any surplus funds for next
summer's jobs programs.
Vol. 12, Issue 1