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I am in hopes that your committee can take action and report this bill to the Senate at an early date. It seems to me that the matter is of such great importance to the many school districts in federally impacted areas within the United States, including my own State of Oklahoma, that it must be favorably acted upon before the adjournment of this Congress.
I shall certainly appreciate your efforts in securing the advancement of this bill.
With kindest personal regards, I am,
ROB'T S. KERR.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES E. BENNETT ON FEDERAL AID TO SCHOOLS IN FEDERAL IMPACT AREAS
I deeply appreciate this opportunity to testify in behalf of legislation for school construction and school maintenance in Federal impact areas. I understand that you have legislation before you which would bring about the full realization of the legislation originally enacted and which would eliminate the 3-percent absorption clause lately enacted. I believe that it would be proper to go back to the original legislation and to eliminate the 3-percent absorption. I hope that your committee will report out legislation along this line. If this is not done, it would seem to be helpful if legislation would be approved which would limit the operation of the absorption clause to the localized area of the defense activities. At this point I quote from a letter recently received from Mrs. Iva T. Sprinkle, superintendent of public instruction of Duval County, Fla.:
"You are faimiliar, I am sure, with the provision of Public Law 248 which revised Public Law 874, which includes an absorption clause of 3 percent of the total average daily attendance. Unlike many of the other States, Florida operates its school system on a countywide basis, whereas other States operate their schools on an individual district basis. The Florida system tends to penalize us due to the fact that the 3-percent absorption is applied against total average daily attendance, while at the same time the majority of our federally connected pupils are in a localized area near military or naval installations. If the 3-percent absorption could be applied to this localized area, the loss in funds would not be nearly as great.
"We have a copy of a tabulation prepared by the State department of education which shows Duval County's estimated entitlement to be $333,605.07. Under the revised law Duval County schools will lose $177,438.10. Our schools are already understaffed and underfinanced."
Of the approximate 60,000 pupils enrolled in the Duval County schools, about 10 percent of this group either live on Federal property or have a parent working on Federal property. It can readily be seen that there are very acute problems which have resulted from this heavy Federal impact. I will deeply appreciate it if this committee will look with favor upon legislation which would eliminate the 3-percent absorption clause and restore the original provisions of this legislation. Or, if that cannot be done, I urge that legislation be approved which would localize the absorption as outlined above.
Hon. PRESCOTT BUSH,
GROTON, CONN., July 12, 1954.
United States Senator, Senate Office Building: Gratified to learn that Senate Subcommittee on Education will hold hearing Tuesday on legislation in which you have already taken interest to extend school construction assistance program for federally affected communities another 2 years. Due chiefly to Federal housing projects ready for occupancy and indefinite planning stage prospect as of today based on carefully compiled estimates is for further increase of 1,013 pupils in our schools during next 2 years. Beyond the number for which maximum payment eligibility established last fall under Public Law 246 of this estimated increase 77 percent federally connected. Would be glad to have you relay this message to subcommittee as testimony to importance of S. 3628 or similar legislation to town of Groton.
S. B. BUTLER. Superintendent of Schools, Groton.
JULY 13, 1954.
Senator JOHN SHERMAN Cooper,
Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare,
Washington 25, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR COOPER: With reference to my letter of July 9, I am sending you a copy of a telegram which I received yesterday from Mr. J. H. Leon Gauthier, acting superintendent of schools at Middletown, R. I.
It is self-explanatory and you will note his interest in the extension of Public Law 815 which will provide assistance for areas affected by Federal activities.
According to the list published by the Office of Education, Rhode Island has two such areas-Middletown and Wickford-where schools are overtaxed because of their nearness to Navy installations.
I would very much appreciate your making Mr. Gauthier's telegram a part of the record of today's hearing.
Yours very truly,
THEODORE FRANCIS GREEN.
NEWPORT, R. I., July 12, 1954.
Informed of 1-day hearing on extension of Public Law 815, Tuesday, July 13, before Senate Education Committee. Please present statement of our need if you can and urge favorable consideration following testimony.
J. H. LEON GAUTHIER, Acting Superintendent of Schools, Middletown, R. I.
SANTA ANA, CALIF., July 12, 1954.
Senator WILLIAM C. KNOWLAND,
Senate Office Building:
Relative to hearing of extension of Public Law 815, the Santa Ana city schools are now in the midst of a $4 million school-building program which has been entirely locally financed. This $4 million program does not by any means meet the needs that we now have or know will be created in the near future in the Santa Ana schools. A former entitlement of $626,000 has never materialized, although under the present appropriation bill we may obtain about 10 percent of it. We currently have new applications in for $298,000 construction aid needed in addition to former request. Therefore, we urge you file our statement of need with the Education Committee which is holding a 1-day hearing on extension of Public Law 815 Tuesday, July 13, 1954. You are familiar with Organe County's tremendous growth and know the seriousness of our situation. We implore your personal attention.
FRANK L. BOWMAN,
President, Santa Ana Board of Education.
LYNN B. CRAWFORD, Superintendent of Santa Ana Schools.
UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS,
Senator H. ALEXANDER SMITH,
Chairman, Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
July 14, 1954.
DEAR SENATOR: I shall appreciate it if you would have the enclosed telegram from one of my constituents, Mr. Morris S. Jennings, superintendent of the South San Antonio Independent School District, made a part of the hearings held by your committee yesterday on S. 3628, to extend Public Law 815. Mr. Jennings is very anxious that the plight of his school district shall be brought to the attention of your committee.
Senator PRICE DANIEL,
SAN ANTONIO, TEX., July 12, 1954.
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.:
With reference to need for extension of Public Law 815, we thought you might appreciate having a statement of the needs of the South San Antonio Independent District for filing with the Committee on Education. We had 600 unhoused children at the close of school last May 28. We will probably have 1,000 such children when school opens next September 1. It is extremely urgent that Public Law 815 be extended if federally connected children in this school district are to have adequate educational opportunities.
MORRIS S. JENNINGS Superintendent, South San Antonio Independent School District.
Hon. EUGENE D. MILLIKIN,
United States Senator,
ALL SOULS UNITARIAN CHURCH,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR: As a long-time member of the school board of District No. 11 in Colorado Springs, I want to thank you for your help given in securing the passage of the third supplemental bill for 1954 for Federal assistance in the construction of schoolbuildings in areas like ours where increased enrollments due to Government installations have greatly added to our already complicated building program and problems.
I want to let you know also of our interest in the bill introduced by Senator Upton (S. 3628) which, I believe, is intended to extend Public Law 815. Passage of this bill would very likely be of great help to us here in meeting the ever-growing cost of new construction now augmented further by the additional military installations now being planned for the Colorado Springs area. Thanking you for your consideration and help in these matters, I am Sincerely yours,
Member, School Board, District No. 11.
STATEMENT BY SENATOR PAUL H. DOUGLAS
I sincerely regret that I am unable to appear before the subcommittee to support S. 3628 and S. 3629. I would like, however, to express my firm conviction that Public Law 815, as amended, should be extended for at least 2 years to continue Federal aid to school construction in federally affected areas. I also feel that the 3 percent absorption provision of Public Law 248, amending Public Law 874, should be removed in order to restore a just program of maintenance and operation for federally affected school districts. In addition, I should like to have inserted in the record 2 tables and 2 items of correspondence which demonstrate the need for such action.
Wherever the Federal Government initiates activities which result in "representation without taxation" it has a twofold responsibility with regard to the education of children connected with tax-exempt lands.
First, it has the immediate responsibility of aiding in the construction of fullday school facilities for federally connected children.
Secondly, it has the long-range responsibility of assisting in the maintenance and operation of the facilities used by these "Federal" children.
THE NEED FOR THE CONTINUATION OF PUBLIC LAW 815
Public Law 815 was formulated to meet an emergency. This emergency arose from the influx of children into local school districts from tax-exempt Federal lands, and from families connected with Federal activities. The cause of this influx during the period of the Korean war was the population dislocation which accompanied defense expansion. Although the program of expansion has tapered off and the population status is much more stable, the impact which Public Law 815 was designed to meet continues. Not only do new projects undertaken by the Government increase the tax-immune segments of communities, but at the same
time, there is a natural growth in the number of "Federal" children in areas where the initial impact is no longer increasing.
It is enough to say that, as defined by the Public Law 815, there are a substantial number of local districts entitled to assistance. Table 1 below indicates the applications in Illinois for the current year. These figures, from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, place the estimated total at $872,508, or an average of $54,531.08 per district. For these 16 districts qualifying under Public Law 815, the emergency is as real now as it would have been had the impact come at the height of the defense boom.
THE EFFECT OF THE 3 PERCENT ABSORPTION CLAUSE UPON ILLINOIS ENTITLEMENT UNDER PUBLIC LAW 874
If the construction program under Public Law 815 can be considered as the initial offensive, then the maintenance and operations program can be deemed the long-range "mopping-up" campaign to sustain adequate educational standards. Because it is a program of assistance for recurring expenses, applications under Public Law 874 tend to grow as the construction program continues. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare estimates that the Illinois entitlement for 1955 under sections 3 (a) and (b) will total $1,324,360. But, as table 2 demonstrates, this figure is 21 percent, or $356,453 less than the entitlement for 1954, due to the inclusion of the 3 percent absorption rate in computation. There is no clear evidence to indicate that local communities now have sufficient resources available to meet this difference.
The 3 percent absorption clause is a provision of Public Law 248 which was passed, in my opinion, with some degree of confusion as to its contents and effects, as will appear from the record of August 1, 1953. The effect of this provision has been to seriously curtail the entire program. It is only proper that we now reassess the worth of both the program as originally outlined, and the succeeding amendment which has so weakened it.
FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY IN MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION
Because it appears to be an appendage to the basic program of aid to school construction, the maintenance and operations program is not as well understood as a legitimate part of the Federal Government's responsibility. Perhaps this is because the image of Government-financed buildings deteriorating from lack of maintenance does not make as vivid an appeal as that of excessive crowding and "'round the clock" shifts in existing facilities. Yet, in spite of this attitude it can hardly be said that Federal responsibility ends once aid is provided for construction of minimum facilities. As long as children connected with tax-exempt property attend local schools, there is a Federal impact, and, as long as there is Federal impact, there is also Federal responsibility.
In the case of children from families living on Federal installations, clearly there is no increase in the real-estate tax base of the local school district. Consequently, the Federal activity which has created the need for additional facilities has not increased the community's ability to meet that need.
In the case of children from families who have moved into the area to take defense jobs and have bought or rented property in the community, there is an added tax resource for the local school district. But, in this instance, such children are counted at most as one-half Federal children for the purposes of entitlement. Districts which encompass a population of more than 35,000 and districts where new Federal activity either directly or through a contractor, brings about a substantial impact are entitled to even less assistance owing to higher minimum requirements. In these instances where the local agencies must bear one-half the cost of maintaining facilities to meet a crisis wholly created by the Federal Government, it is fair to say that they have taken their responsibility. Opponents of aid to these areas say that, once minimum facilities are established, it is fully within the power of most communities to meet the crisis of Federal impact. It is hardly clear, however, that this sort of indifference toward the needs of local units will provoke adequate action on their part. If you refuse to throw a line to a drowning man, it should be neither a source of surprise nor pride to you that he tries to make it to shore on his own. We can
We would not risk inaction when confronted with a drowning man. no more risk the assumption that the Federal Government is adequately meeting its responsibility when its inaction causes local units to raise tax rates and bonding
limits on the whole local community to meet increased educational expenses resulting from Federal programs. This constitutes a substantial abdication of responsibility, not a fulfillment of it.
The 3 percent absorption provision of Public Law 248, amending Public Law 874 is just such an abdication. Over the country, it has resulted in an average reduction of entitlement of almost one-quarter. Responsibility cannot be adequately expressed in terms of percentage, but the effect of this 3 percent absorption rate indicates to me that we have forsaken a substantial part of our public trust in a vital area of national well-being.
MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS EXPENSES NOT ECONOMICAL
It is conceivable that interests of economy have resulted in a lessening in our sense of responsibility toward local school districts under this program. Yet the prospect of Government financed school buildings going to waste because no funds are avaliable for maintenance is not a cheery one from the point of view of long-run efficiency.
Still, some would proffer the advice that local districts should be content with what they get and not look their gift horse in the mouth. To this I can only add that, if this horse is indeed a gift horse, it is a Trojan horse. If we provide for the construction of school facilities first, then withdraw our maintenance and operations support later before the local communities have a demonstrable ability to pick up these added costs, we should not be surprised if the gift of 1953 becomes the millstone of 1955. This sort of program meets budgetary aims but it does not meet the responsibility that belongs to the Federal Government because of activities it has undertaken.
THREE PERCENT ABSORPTION CLAUSE NOT EQUITABLE
In this program, as in so many others, the excess of applications over appropriations has worked a hardship on many applicants. Even so, the funds which are made available are distributed on a prorated basis by the Department of Education. Despite some criticisms, the proration formula is generally equitable. On the other hand, the 3 percent absorption clause amends the original law so as to distribute funds in a most inequitable fashion. It requires that a district shall absorb the costs of maintaining school facilities for as many Federal children · as shall equal 3 percent of the non-Federal children in that district.
As table 2 shows, in one district this means a reduction in entitlement of 1.7 percent, in another of 100 percent. The 3 percent provision does not say: "Each school district shall hereafter assume 21 percent of the responsibility previously taken by the Federal Government," although 21 percent turns out to be the Illinois average cutback. It says: "If you are a large school district with a substantial impact on schoolhouse A and a negligible impact on B, C, and D, you must diffuse the impact of the 1 schoolhouse over all 4 schoolhouses.
"But if, on the other hand, you are a small district, with only schoolhouse A to account for, then you are algebraically blessed and the Federal Government will grant you fuller entitlement.'
3 PERCENT ABSORPTION CLAUSE INHIBITS DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION
In light of this, it would seem as though those who wish to reduce Federal expenditures under Public Law 874 also want to go on record as opposing the consolidation of school districts, for the 3 percent absorption rate offers affected areas an incentive to stay small. This point of view would seem to be at variance with the oft-heard argument that Federal aid to education curtails the trend toward consolidation and efficient operation. The most lucid criticisms of the maintenance and operations program have been based on just this point. It is said that a program of assistance in many instances destroys the incentive for local units to consolidate and improve their own economic position because it allays the need from which the incentive rises.
Thus, between the arguments advanced in opposition to the aid program generally and the actual effects of the reduction resulting from the 3 percent absorption rate, there is a manifest contradiction. Federal aid is opposed because of its assumed effect upon local district consolidations. But here, in fact, the reduction in Federal aid has this very effect.
Aside from my views on the 3 percent absorption provision, I am hard put to accept the position that Federal aid will promote administrative slovenliness at