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be publishing in the Federal Register a notice to applicants that we are going to consider applications from the period of 1968 to the present. At the present time the notice in the Federal Register indicates we would consider them from ’75 until the present. We would anticipate being able to firm up an estimate, probably in November or December, once the local school districts have an opportunity to consider this period between '68 and '75.
Chairman PERKINS. Taking my congressional district as an illustration, in the first four or five days of April we had a disaster down there, the highest flood in the history of the Commonwealth as far back as records go. It hit especially hard on the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy. Many schools in that area were severely damaged. The water got up to the second floor-through the basement up to the second floor. The same thing happened on the Leviathan Fork of the Big Sandy. I know there were many applications for disaster assistance, but as I understand several were turned down and denied. What was your reason for that? The inadequacy of the appropriation?
Mr. STORMER. No. Let me say I recognize major disaster was declared with respect to the flooding in the spring, including Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and several other states—roughly at the present time I think we have $9 million worth of applications that are determined to be eligible.
The Office of Education is currently engaged in attempting to identify the resources that are available to the Commissioner in order to fund both the major disaster assistance applications, some of which have been funded and some of which have not been funded -
Chairman PERKINS. That is correct.
Chairman PERKINS. If you haven't adequate funds for that purpose, will you come back and let the committee know it?
Mr. STORMER. Yes, sir, we are required by law to come back and inform the Congress every thirty days of our obligation. The process at the present time is to use any resources available to the Commissioner and use those resources for major and pinpoint disasters and report to you
Chairman PERKINS. I would think you should let the members in the Congress representing areas where these schools have made application know the status of these applications and if for any reason there is disagreement, give the people from the area an opportunity to come to Washington, to present a correct picture of the situation.
Mr. STORMER. Let me follow up on your comment relative to determining applications ineligible.
I recognize within your congressional district we have some-I won't say disagreements, but we have some portions of the applications which are under consideration. We do not have all of the facts necesssary to make final determinations. One specific example, is relative to school buses damaged in a couple of counties.
The applications for those major disaster requests are eligible. There is a question on certain aspects of the application, one aspect being the degree of assistance that is required to replace or repair school buses which were-some of which were in service for transportation purposes and some of which were not in service. We currently are engaging in conversations with the state educational agencies with respect to their policy on providing transportation assistance.
Chairman PERKINS. The way I understand the Act presently, you can go to other appropriations where you have funds available and use them for disaster assistance and then come back to Congress and ask for a supplemental. Are you not required by law to spend funds for disaster aid and then to come to Congress and ask for a supplemental?
Mr. STORMER. That is correct.
Chairman PERKINS. So there is no reason why, if you find a disaster has taken place and you owe a certain amount, that you cannot go ahead and apportion those funds, under present law.
Mr. STORMER. That is correct. It is a problem though, sir, of identifying the funds that are available, that are unobligated. We are advised that the sources which we may tap within the Office of Education are primarily discretionary appropriations, or funds which are not allocations or formula-grant types of appropriation. In addition, you find that the Commissioner has a difficult job identifying-not identifying, but deciding how much he will take from certain pots, because in taking money from-and I don't know which pot-
Chairman PERKINS. I know it may be difficult, but that is what the law directs. He is authorized to do it.
Mr. STORMER. He is presently engaged in this exercise.
Chairman PERKINS. Now, Mr. Triplett and Dr. Mueller, you both are very heavily impacted school districts. Are you satisfied with the provisions of Public Law 874 as regards your school district or should that law be amended to give you more preference?
In other words, are your problems with the authorizing laws or with the appropriations?
Mr. TRIPLETT. The major problem we faced for the past seven years, of course, has been a problem with appropriations. Certainly highly federally-impacted school districts such as ours have great need for those Federal funds and in the event there is not an adequate amount of money to actually fund the bill, there needs to be some priority provisions that direct those funds to highly federally-impacted schools such as ours.
With respect to the authorization legislation, there are some priority provisions that are built into the legislation at the moment, but it appears that there needs to be a priority provision recognizing the military B population as well as the percentage of impaction.
Chairman PERKINS. Now, Dr. Mueller, you respond.
Dr. MUELLER. I would agree totally with that provision. Perhaps our school system has one additional condition or factor that limits our ability to function as we would like, and that is the problem of projecting income. We qualify under one section of the law and I believe we are presently only one of perhaps two districts that receive funds under 3(D)(b)(2), which is a budget balancing section. Unfortunately, those funds are generally available after the school term is completed, perhaps even as much as a year, and this, of course, doesn't allow for adequate planning, but I believe I would agree with Dr. Triplett to the extent that it has been a matter of appropriations that we do need all parts of the present law to continue to function.
Chairman PERKINS. Dr. Stormer, getting back to disasters, as I recall I authored that law several years ago, but there are so many schools down home that are really in a dilemma. I would like for you to take a careful look at the applications and let the school districts know where they stand at the earliest possible date, especially in view of the fact that the schools down there are going to open their doors again in mid-August. The crisis they face is staggering in many of those school districts because of the inadequacy of the resources on hand.
I would like for you just to look into that, or any other district in the country that has had a disaster similar to the one in my own district. I think when a disaster of that type happens—and it doesn't matter whose congressional district it happens to be inthat those situations should take priority. Will you look into those situations and let those school districts-not only in my district, but throughout the country-know their situation?
Mr. STORMER. We believe we will be in a funding situation within the next two weeks. That is how imminent the decision is with reference to the amounts of money we will have available.
I recognize the need for school districts to have these monies before the opening of school in order that they may effectively open schools. We do have a priority listing of every school district that is eligible. It includes a number of states.
Chairman PERKINS. Thank you very much.
Mr. PRESSLER. To illustrate the problem in the Rapid City area, I want to ask Dr. Mueller if the impact aid were discontinued, what alternative sources of income could Douglas School District turn to and what would happen to the students? Could the Rapid City schools absorb an additional 2,500 to 3,000 students?
My purpose in asking that is that in South Dakota, I don't think our state is doing enough. Of course, we have had the drought in the last year which has left our local school districts in a lot of placesnot so much Douglas; it is not so relevant there-in financial trouble. A lot of our schools in South Dakota are getting Federal impact aid—if that is eliminated, there just doesn't seem to be alternative sources and that is why I am a strong advocate of helping more here. I guess to frame this question or to illustrate it my question to you is, what would happen to the students in the Rapid city area?
Dr. MUELLER. With regard to the first part of your question on the possible options, we have very few. as I indicated, the community is taxing to the maximum limit provided by law. The school boards are in no other position to acquire revenue by any means than provided by the legislation of the state, so the first indication would be a reduction in programs, a reduction in staff to the point where it would be diluted and one perhaps could not continue to Mr. PRESSLER. You already have the worst student/teacher ratio, the most extreme in the area, is that not correct?
Dr. MUELLER. It has been the lowest in the state during the fiscal year '75 and '76. We might have gained somewhat this past year, but that figure is not available.
Mr. PRESSLER. I realize our discussion of impact aid during this Congress is focused mainly on funding B students. What effect would a phase-out of Federal aid for Category B students have on Douglas schools?
Dr. MUELLER. The amount of money we presently receive under Category B represents only about 4 percent of our total budget. However, even that is significant when you are presently operating at a level that is less than the state average by approximately $150. So the loss of any revenue from any category is significant in our district.
Four years ago we experienced the situation of having to release 29 staff members and reduce programs and quality substantially. It appears we are once again heading in that direction.
If I could respond to the possibility of Rapid City assuming or acquiring the children at Ellsworth Air Force base, there is among the 20 largest districts in South Dakota, only 1 that spends less per pupil than does the Douglas School System, and that happens to be Rapid City, so it would be adding one disaster to another and I don't think at this point we would be very welcome.
Mr. PRESSLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me say I am very worried we are not talking about cutting off the frills in this school; we are jeopardizing the meat of basic education.
Chairman PERKINS. Mr. Weiss.
Dr. DUNCAN. Mr. Quie brought up the question of the Section 6 schools and why we didn't tell the Federal government to take all of our A students and educate them on the post. I believe that it is the policy of HEW and has been for a number of years to go the opposite direction and to attempt to get the local school districts to take over Section 6 schools wherever possible.
We did a study in our district on that some years ago. I think it is worth noting that at that time we had a citizens committee involved in the study and that the West Point Section 6 school was spending about $1800 a pupil at the same time we were receiving about $800 for an A student. A lot of our citizenry felt that the difference would have to be made up by the state of New York and tht this wouldn't be a fair thing for the community, among a host of other problems we are connected with in assuming the control of that section 6 school.
Chairman PERKINS. Let me thank the entire panel for its assistance here this morning. You have been most helpful to the committee.
We are delighted to call on Mr. Corrada because he is one of the most outstanding members of this committee and has made a great contribution since he has been made a member of this committee. He supports all of our educational programs.
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Mr. CORRADA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for those kind words. I wish to thank you for having provided a forum for several representatives of the parents and teachers of the Antilles Consolidated School System, and particularly those of the Antilles Middle School, located at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.
Shortly after my election to Congress last November, I met with a group of parents and teachers from that school. The 637 students of the middle school in grades 5 through 8 were schooled in 36 year old temporary wooden barracks on loan from the Army since 1966. These structures were termite-ridden, rat and bat-infested, built on shaky foundations, had unsanitary piping and unsafe wiring. They looked more like hovels than classrooms for the children of Federal employees. The Army declared these structures unsafe, and tore down seven last summer. The remaining barracks will be torn down this summer, and rightfully so.
But what happens when these structures are gone? The Army is not responsible for their repair, upkeep or construction in lieu. This is the responsibility of HEW, but since they do not own the buildings, you end up in a Catch 22 situation.
The pleas of the parents and teachers have gone unattended. Numerous standard reply letters were sent to them from Washington to the effect that this was not a unique problem, that they should share their sorrows with those equally afflicted, and that the solution was money, which was unavailable because of freezes, insufficient appropriations, or other limitations. The alternatives offered were highly unsatisfactory, including double sessions, overcrowding, and slashing of educational offerings. These would be a way of life, with no guarantee of future relief.
The fact remains that the students at the middle school are children of Federal employees, the majority of whom work for nonmilitary agencies, such as the Veterans Administration, FBI, Public Health Service, FAA, etcetera. They are eligible to participate in the school under P.L. 81-874, Section 6(c), and entitled to an education comparable to that provided in the public schools of the District of Columbia. Only through the efforts of their parents and the attentive ears of Congress have they been able to secure a commitment for funds to provide $360,000 to build portable classrooms to replace the old wooden structures.
Congressman Flood himself, at my request, sponsored a measure directing these funds for the middle school in Puerto Rico. When the House approved last week the Labor/HEW appropriations, the language in the report directed the $360,000 to take care of this problem. I understand that the Senate is also in a favorable disposition.
What we must keep in perspective, however, is that these portables provide only a temporary solution to a much larger problem. In 1966, an application was submitted to the U.S. Office of Education for a new Junior-Senior High School. The plans and specifications were approved on October 21, 1969.
To date no action has been taken, although the price tag of $2.5 million has more than tripled. This is the oldest project on a list of applications under Section 10 of P.L. 81-815 which has been approved but never funded. If this facility were built tomorrow, all the