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As I have talked with Congressmen and Senators over the last 5, 6 or 7 years, I have always run into many who felt like the installations did a lot of good in the community, and we couldn't argue that they didn't, and therefore this was a fact that should be considered as a factor, and yet this very section that I am talking about was the only section in the bill that takes this into consideration, and it was thrown out. I mean it was virtually eliminated because it was changed. It is the need section in the bill. In the other sections the school gets the money whether they need it or not. This is the need section in the bill.
Now, then I have another point which I want to bring up because I think it is worthy of consideration.
One of the greatest inequities experienced by applicants during the operation of Public Law 815 resulted from the elimination of those entitlements against which no construction project application was filed prior to June 30, 1952. Public Law 246 validated the entitlements against which a construction or reimbursement application had been filed which remained at the expiration of Public Law 815 but limited the amount not to exceed a total of $55 million or 70 percent of any single entitlement. At the same time it repudiated all other entitlements.
There, again, Oklahoma got 99.2 percent of its entitlement, and my school district got 100 percent of its entitlement, so I am talking now strictly about the equity of the schools throughout the country.
The fact that construction applications were not filed against the entitlements results from a number of reasons which were no fault of the applicant: Maybe a party to the fault was the applicant, but maybe that applicant or the superintendent who was at fault then is not there now, but the children are the ones that have been harmed. 1. Meager appropriations to meet the payment of entitlements resulted in the priority system which was very discouraging to any but high priority applicants.
2. Lack of understanding as between the applicants and the United States Office of Education on procedures and policies in the administration of Public Law 815 (this is not a criticism but a statement of fact). When 815 went into effect it was so confusing and new and different to the schoolmen, hundreds of schoolmen had heard nothing of it until that time, that they didn't really catch onto what it was doing until it was too late, and this isn't any indictment on them either. Certainly, I have been in the game all of these 10 or 11 years, and I kept up with it, and so did a number of other school superintendents, but that wasn't the case throughout the Nation.
3. The fact that the largest appropriation to pay entitlements followed the expiration date for the filing of construction applications. When the June 30, 1952, appropriation lacked, I believe, over 275 million of meeting the need, it is kind of understandable, here is a school out here with a priority of 10 or priority of 20 that hadn't gone to the trouble to make the plans to get a project application in.
Because of these conditions during the early stages of the administration of Public Law 815 school districts with low priorities were given little hope of receiving any funds from their entitlements. This condition delayed planning the construction program of many of these districts until some hope might be held of receiving Federal assistance for construction in order that current planning might
maintain at the local level. We actually find now-
While this condition improved as later appropriations were made, it certainly maintained even at the expiration date for filing construction applications against the entitlements.
Here is the tabulation of what the loss was when the Congress repudiated the entitlements at the extension of Public Law 246, simply because they did not have construction applications in at the closing of the provision of the law. The pupil data was all there, the entitlement was established, the pupils were counted, checked by the fieldmen of the Office of Education, but only one thing wasn't done and now those children don't have housing.
We lost only 0.8 of 1 percent, so I am not pleading for the schools of Oklahoma. I am pleading for the schools at the opposite end of this list, the children of those schools.
I think that is very simple. After all, if those children weren't paid for, and there is a record in the Office of Education that they were there and are still there, they have a right, just the same as the 99.2 percent of the children who were eligible in Oklahoma or the 100 percent eligible in Wisconsin, Wyoming, and New Hampshire, right on down the line.
I was glad I was not in that category, because I can talk rather positively about it.
There is considerable concern as to what effect the extension of Public Law 246 will have on the maximum payments and priority ratings established by applicants as of June 30, 1954. Public Law 246 states that the final cutoff date shall be June 30, 1954, for the purpose of distributing funds appropriated. The recent 1955 appropriation approved by the Congress in the amount of $70 million was intended to apply against the maximum payments entitled under this legislation.
This was brought up by a number of schools who have contacted me since they knew we were trying to extend 815. They ask what will it do to my entitlement or maximum payment, or whatever you choose to call it, on record now? Will it mean somebody else will come in ahead of me and take the money appropriated for the applications even before the law was extended?
Unless specific provisions are made in the extension of this legislation, it is questionable--and I say "questionable" because I have discussed it with some of the administrative people in the Office of Education, whether the extension of the law will also eliminate the provision of the June 30, 1954, cutoff date and thus delay the distribution of the $70 million until a new cutoff date is set by the Commissioner some time in the fall. Such a result would be most regrettable. Applicants with established priorities have in the main prepared plans and specifications and are ready to proceed with project construction, and this would delay the construction of school buildings with these funds approximately 6 months.
Also, in setting another cutoff date later in the year before which new applications would be received the priority of the present applicants could very well be changed and they would not receive funds from the $70 million to which they are at the present time entitled.
It is believed that in the extending of this legislation to assist some schools the right of others should be protected.
The United States Office of Education, I am sure, can suggest language which will prevent the above situation from occurring. Now, it might be that some of the fear that was expressed in this connection was eliminated when we are now considering after the first of the year. That would certainly have been a hazard if it had been extended prior to July 1, 1954, but now since it is over in the next year, maybe that is out of the way, but it should be considered.
For instance, the extended legislation might provide that June 30, 1954, shall be retained as the cutoff date in the allotment of those funds appropriated prior to the enactment of this legislation for those applications on file as of that date.
În conclusion, I wish to thank the members of this committee for the privilege of appearing before you in behalf of the Midwest City schools and more than 4 million children in the schools throughout the Nation whose educational advantages have been impaired by this increase in pupil load due to activities of the Federal Government.
Somebody might stagger at that 4-million-pupils figure, but I might remind you that all of the pupils in the overcrowded schools are affected and not only the federally connected ones.
I want to make this one other statement, and I make it because of the question Senator Goldwater asked one of the fellows this morning about the tax rate. In the Midwest City schools in 1942 the tax rate was a little over 11 mills. Today it is 29.8 mills. We have voted a bond issue every year for the maximum under the Oklahoma statutes. We have also voted the maximum building levy every year.
Oklahoma has two plans of financing its schools. One under a 5-percent bond issue. You can vote 5 percent of the tax valuations in bonds. Then you can vote a 5-mill building leavy each year on it. It really amounts to about a 13 percent debt on the tax valuations. We have done this every year. In fact, this year, we overguessed our valuations and voted a bond of more than 5 percent and we had to put some money in the sinking funds before we could sell it. I will be glad to answer any questions.
Senator UPTON. Thank you, Mr. Rose, for your spendid contribution. Your statement will be of real value to the committee. Is there anybody who wishes to be heard at this time?
STATEMENT OF CARL BARABLEC, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, RHODESVILLE, MICH.
Mr. BARABLEC. My name is Carl Barablec. I am school superintendent at Rhodesville, Mich. That is 2 miles out of the city limits of the city of Detroit.
I just want to speak in behalf of the benefit that 815 and 874 have rendered to our district. We have received nearly $343,000 in building aid and have qualified for $593,000 for construction. Even so, beginning in September, we will continue to have 6,000 children attending half days only, with 1 exception. That will be a block of about 200 children who will attend one-third of a day only.
Now, I simply say this, and I am speaking in gratitude of this legislation, because without it our district would have faced a total
collapse of public education, and we would be in a sad way in any American community if that were the case.
Senator UPTON. Senator Cooper has turned over to me a letter from Senator Kerr to him, under date of June 22, which will now be made a part of the record. He has also turned over to me a letter from Senator Smith and Senator Payne, relating to S. 3628, which will also be made a part of the record.
There will also be incorporated in the record the letter from Thomas H. Keenan, mayor of the city of Dover, N. H., to me, relating to conditions there.
The next letter will be a letter from John H. Frye, superintendent of schools at Rochester, N. H., addressed to me, under date of June 21, 1954, dealing with conditions at Rochester.
I also desire that there will be incorporated in the record at this point a letter from Raymond A. Hoyt, superintendent of schools at Exeter, N. H., addressed to me, under date of June 24, dealing with conditions at Exeter.
In addition I have numerous letters and telegrams, some of which deal factually with local conditions, others merely advising one of the bills before the committee. These statements insofar as they have factual statements of value to the committee will be incorporated in the record. The others will be listed.
(The correspondence is as follows:)
Mr. JOHN TEICHERT,
Superintendent of Schools, Waverly, Ohio
VILLAGE OF WAVERLY,
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, Waverly, Ohio, July 12, 1954.
DEAR MR. TEICHERT: We are submitting a report of permanent homes completed in 1953 and under construction to be completed in 1954 in the Waverly school district.
Waverly Heights Subdivision: Completed, 115; under construction, 98—total, 213.
Miller Addition: Completed, 16
Bristol Homes: Completed, 50; under construction, 275; total-325
Green Acres Subdivision: Completed, 25; under construction, 2; total-27
Lake White area: Completed, 50; under construction, 15; total-65
Miscellaneous in the old corporation lines: Completed, 30; under construction, 10
DEAR SENATOR UPTON: Congratulations for the introduction of S. 3628 and S. 3629.
In Exeter we are already starting upon a $755,000 school-building program and I am sure that with the impact of the airbase, two more of my towns, Greenland and Newfields, will have to do some school construction. Any Federal aid which can be made available will be of tremendous financial assistance to these towns which I have listed.
Good luck to you in your efforts to obtain this important legislation.
Hon. ROBERT UPTON,
RAYMOND A. HOYT,
City of Rochester, N. H., June 21, 1954.
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR UPTON: Your efforts for Federal aid to support the schools in congested areas and to eliminate the 3 percent absorption factor in Public Law 874 as amended is appreciated.
The effect of this amendment on the city of Rochester is explained in detail on the enclosed report. The loss of $11,584, on an entitlement of $13,177 under the original law, is a significant item to us.
Senate bill 3628 to extend Public Law 815 (school construction) is also important to Rochester.
This information is submitted to supplement the information which has already come to your attention.
Very truly yours,
JOHN H. FRYE.
Report on Federal aid, Public Law 874, amended-Data based on 1953-54 estimates
1 A survey on June 4, 1954, showed that 126 resident pupils enrolled in the Rochester Public Schools resided with parents employed at the naval base at Portsmouth, N. H. There were 117 such pupils on Oct. 10, 1953. The survey listed 7 resident pupils with parents employed by private contractors at the Newington Airbase as of June 4, 1954.
NOTES. (1) Rochester has one of the lowest valuations of taxable property per pupil for school purposes of any city in this area.
(2) Rochester also has one of the highest tax rates for school purposes of any city in New Hampshire. (3) The above report does not include information for the next school year. Funds for 2 additional classrooms will be needed in September due to increased enrollments in the lower grades.
(4) December enrollments in grades 1-6 have increased from 794 in 1948 to 1,098 in 1954. Preschool census shows that the total school population in Rochester will increase significantly in the future. The enrollments beyond grade 1 are increasing significantly which indicates that pupils are moving to Rochester.