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times greater than Federal expenditures in aid to States and local school districts for the support of education at all levels.

There is no established system of Federal-State cooperation in financing elementary and secondary education in general. Following is a review of the specific Federal programs giving aid to States and localities for education at these levels.


Federal cooperation with the States in financing vocational education of less than college grade was initiated by the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. Legislation in 1929, 1934, and 1936 expanded the program. It presently operates under provisions of the Smith-Hughes Act and the George-Barden Act (of 1936).

The Smith-Hughes Act provides for allotments of Federal funds to States in the proportion which the State populations bear to the total population of the United States. The allotments are for the promotion of vocational education in agriculture, trades and industries, home economics, and the preparation of teachers of vocational subjects. The last-named activity might be considered primarily an aid to higher education except that the ultimate goal is education below college level.

The George-Barden Act authorizes annual appropriations for the further development of vocational education. Appropriations under this act are available for administration, supervision, teacher training, vocational instruction and guidance, establishing programs for apprentices, and for the purchase or rent of equipment and supplies for vocational education.

The greater part of the program is conducted by secondary schools. About 70 percent of the public secondary schools of the country offer at least one program of vocational education. These and a variety of other participating institutions together train not only full-time high-school students but also full-time workers in evening classes, part-time workers in day classes, and teachers. Any person 14 years of age or over having chosen an occupation or employed in an occupation is eligible to enroll in the classes.

The Office of Education in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare administers the program at the Federal level. The State department of education or the State board for vocational education administers it at the State level. The Federal Vocational Education Acts require at least dollar-for-dollar matching of Federal funds with State and local funds, and public supervision or control of the program. The proportion of the total cost paid from State and local sources has been increasing through the years. About one-fifth of the total cost for the school year 1953-54 was paid from Federal funds. Table 1 shows the amounts of Federal funds allotted to the States for that year.

TABLE 1.-Federal funds allotted to the States by the Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, for vocational education below college grade, for the 1953-54 school year1

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I Data compiled in the Office of Education for inclusion in a forthcoming publication of that Office.


In 1950 the Congress established a comprehensive but temporary policy for the discharge of Federal responsibility respecting public elementary and secondary education in localities especially affected by Federal activities. Public Laws 815 and 874, 81st Congress, centralized in the United States Office of Education responsibility for administering this program. The legislation recognized a continuing need for Federal assistance to school districts overburdened by (a) loss of taxable wealth due to Federal ownership of property, and (b) increased enrollments brought about by Federal activities.

In 1953 the Congress amended and extended this legislation. By enactment of Public Law 246 the 83d Congress provided for continued assistance to school construction in districts in which increases in school enrollments due to Federal activity occurred between June 1952 and June 1954. The amendment provides more stringent formula provisions for eligibility of the districts to receive Federal funds.

Public Law 248, 83d Congress, modified the provisions of Public Law 874, respecting Federal aid for the operation of schools, and extended the program through the school year 1955-56. The amendments had the effect of increasing Federal payments to some school districts for the school year 1953-54, but reduced the payments to nearly all districts for the 1954-55 and 1955-56 school years.

The Federal legislation recognizes three categories of children for whose general elementary and secondary education the Federal Government assumes partial responsibility. These groups are: (1) Children whose parents live and work on Federal property; (2) children whose parents either live or work on Federal property; and (3) children whose parents have migrated to a locality because of Federal activity but who do not live or work on Federal property.

Public Law 815, 81st Congress, as amended by Public Law 246, 83d Congress, authorizes Federal payments as follows: 95 percent of the cost of providing minimum school facilities needed because of increases in enrollment of children in category (1); 50 percent of such cost because of increases in enrollment of children in category (2) instead of 70 percent previously provided under Public Law 815; and 45 percent of such cost because of increases of enrollment of children in category (3). The amendment also authorizes an appropriation for schoolconstruction assistance to certain districts enrolling substantial numbers of children who reside on Federal property, even though these districts may not have experienced an increase in enrollments in recent years. These districts are mostly those which enroll large numbers of Indian children living on tax-exempt Indian property and which therefor have inadequate tax resources to provide the necessary facilities.

Public Law 874, 81st Congress, as amended by Public Law 248, 83d Congress, prescribes specific formules for determining the amounts school districts are entitled to receive for the education of children in the categories already defined. The minimum Federal payment for each federally affected child is one-half the State average expenditure per pupil from all revenue sources. The Federal contribution rate otherwise is based upon the cost per child from local revenue sources in comparable school districts in the same State during the second preceding year.

Inclusion of a description of this program in the present report on Federal aid to elementary and secondary education appears justifiable with the following comment: Many persons, including some Members of Congress, have stated, in effect, that they regard this program as merely a provision for Federal payment of an obligation. They consider it is a Federal arrangement to bear a part of the financial burden placed upon some communities by Federal activities, or a form of Federal payment in lieu of revenue lost to the communities from Federal ownership of property.

Table 2 gives data on Federal allotments to federally affected school districts for the school year 1952-53, the latest year for which the data are presently available.

TABLE 2.-Federal funds allotted by the Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, to certain federally affected school districts, by States, for the 1952-53 school year 1

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1 Data compiled in the Office of Education for inclusion in a forthcoming publication of that Office. ? Disbursement figures, including some late payments for the former year.

3 Disbursement figures, including some funds which may have been reserved a year or 2 earlier. Includes $16,285,261.64 disbursed for providing school facilities on Federal properties and some temporary buildings in certain school districts administered by the Housing and Home Finance Agency.


Federal aid to the provision of school lunches began in 1935 when surplus foods bought by the Federal Government as an aid to agriculture were distributed to schools for lunches for pupils. In June 1940 the school milk program was introduced in addition to the earlier activity. A half pint of milk was made available to a schoolchild for a penny, or without charge, the Department of Agriculture and local organizations paying the additional cost.

In February 1943 the Department began making cash payments to partially cover the food costs of complete lunches. These payments were made from funds available under section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended.

In June 1946 the National School Lunch Act was passed. The purpose of the school-lunch program, as set forth in the act, has henceforth been in substance: To improve the health and well-being of the Nation's children and broaden the market for agricultural food commodities through Federal assistance, in the form of both funds and food, to States and Territories for use in serving nutritious midday meals to children attending schools of high-school grade and under.

The National School Lunch Act placed the responsibility for direct administration of the program on the State departments of education. Previously the United States Department of Agriculture had in most instances carried this responsibility. The Department of Agriculture was left responsible for overall administration, including the approval or disapproval of States for participation, based on the State's annual plan of operation, and the apportionment of funds and food to the States.

Funds are apportioned to the State educational agencies in accordance with a statutory formula. This is based on need as evidenced by the number of schoolchildren in the State and the per capita income of the State as related to the United States per capita income. Federal funds must be matched from sources within the State. Proportionately larger amounts of money are allocated to the financially weaker States by requiring lower State and local matching rates.

Exception to the distribution method is made in some cases. In these instances funds are allocated directly to the school-lunch program in private schools in States in which State laws or court decisions do not permit the State educational agency to make payments to private schools.

Under the National School Lunch Act the Department of Agriculture purchases and distributes agricultural commodities as well as funds for school lunches.

Whether the national school-lunch program should be regarded as basically one of Federal aid to education is questionable. Public Law 320, 74th Congress, under which the program was started, did not mention Federal aid to education or school lunches. Initiated primarily for the purpose of aiding in price stabilization of agricultural commodities the program is still largely devoted to this purpose. Nevertheless, probably most persons would agree that this program gives important aid to the advancement of education in the States.

Table 3 gives data on allotments under the national school-lunch program for the school year 1952-53.

TABLE 3.-Federal funds allotted and estimated value of commodities distributed by the Department of Agriculture for the national school-lunch program, for the 1952-53 school year 1

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1 Data supplied by the Department of Agriculture.

3,685, 104
375, 744
189, 388
1,759, 526
761, 113

1,323, 800

220,974 2,536, 899 3, 665, 807 559,395 158, 772 1,480, 703 1, 230, 871

886, 303 1, 008, 619

161.306 115, 245 14, 959

504, 873 1,263, 989

64, 837

Not eligible to participate in the national school-lunch program during the school year 1952-53. Public Law 518, 82d Cong., made Guam eligible to participate in later school years; however, the Guam Department of Education did not get the program underway in the 1953-54 school year.


In the Surplus Property Act of 1944 Congress made provision for the transfer of Federal surplus property to schools and other public institutions, by donation or public benefit discount. The act made tax-supported and tax-exempt, nonprofit educational institutions eligible to receive quantities of Government-owned property no longer needed for defense purposes.

The Office of Surplus Property Utilization was subsequently established in the United States Office of Education to carry out certain provisions of the act, and State agencies were created to coordinate the orderly transfer of surplus property.

Public Law 889, 80th Congress, authorized the Departments of War and Navy to donate their surplus property to educational institutions for unrestricted educational use. Public Law 754, 81st Congress, approved September 1950, broadened the scope of the surplus property program to provide for the donation of surplus personal property to tax-supported and tax-exempt medical and health institutions as well as to schools and colleges.

1 Includes equipment, materials, books, and miscellaneous supplies.

Under the surplus personal property utilization program Federal surplus personal property of all kinds has been donated to educational and health institutions. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare allocates to the various State agencies such available surplus personal property as the Department has determined to be useful for educational and health purposes. During the Korean conflict some of this property was recovered and returned to the Department of Defense for utilization in the Korean defense effort. Since the close of that conflict larger quantities of surplus personal property have been available for distribution.

Under the surplus real property utilization program surplus real property has been sold or leased to educational instructions having important needs for it. Such property has varied from large installations complete with buildings to small unimproved land areas. The estimated fair value of the property at time of transfer has been paid by the educational institutions, partly in cash and partly in predetermined public benefits accruing through the utilization of the property. Some of the property has been repossessed by the Department of Defense for emergency use. It may, however, be returned to the educational institutions when the emergency is over.

Table 4 gives estimates of fair value of surplus property donated to public schools in the calendar year 1953.

TABLE 4.-Estimates of fair value of surplus property donated to public schools in the calendar year 1953, by States 1

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Prepared by Surplus Property Utilization Division, Office of Field Services, Department of Health Education, and Welfare, June 3, 1954.

2 Appraisal made at time of transfer.


An act of Congress in 1907 provided for the payment of 10 percent of all moneys derived from grazing, timber, rentals, and other rights and uses of national forests to the State or Territory in which the forest reserve lies. This act was superseded by an act in 1908 which raised to 25 percent the portion of the total receipts to be paid to the State or Territory. The law specifies that this portion of the receipts shall be used as the State or Territorial legislatures may prescribe for the benefit of public schools and public roads in the counties in which the national forests are located.


Includes land and improvements thereon, such as buildings, etc., and buildings removed from original

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