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Hows the weather?

Thank goodness John Forkenbrock knows his federal education policy. He wouldn't make a very good weatherman.

The executive director of the Washington-based National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, which lobbies for impact-aid money, wrote a tongue-in-cheek column for his group's newsletter advising participants what to bring to the capital city for their legislative conference last month.

Advising that "clothing is definitely required" despite Washington's reputation, Mr. Forkenbrock predicted massive rainstorms and cold, windy weather for the last week of March. He suggested attendees bring a topcoat and sweater, as well as a raft and a spare tire.

Had any of the conference-goers taken his advice, though, they would have been a bit uncomfortable. Last week's weather in Washington was sunny and set record-breaking high temperatures in the 80s.

Rain or shine, though, NAFIS members hope to stave off President Clinton's proposal to cut impact aid--which reimburses districts for the presence of tax-exempt federal facilities--from $808 million this year to $696 million in fiscal 1999. Last week, the members gave members of Congress fact sheets detailing how much impact aid a district receives and how it was spent.

Giving parents their due

Stay-at-home parents are child-care providers, too, says Congress.

The federal government needs to acknowledge stay-at-home parents when considering child-care legislation, according to a nonbinding resolution passed by the Senate last week and the House in February.

Senate leaders say they just want to make sure that any federal child-care legislation--including a plan proposed by the president--does not discriminate against parents who want to look after their children at home and not place them in day care.

But the resolution's GOP sponsors could not resist taking a few swipes at Mr. Clinton's proposed five-year, $21.7 billion plan to provide subsidies, tax credits, and grants to expand child-care programs. "The White House is basically ignoring the very important contributions and sacrifices at-home parents make to take care of their children themselves," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

The amendment passed 96-0 in the Senate as an amendment to the Senate budget resolution, which was being debated last week.

--JOETTA L. SACK [email protected]

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