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you for the opportunity to present testimony before Senator Claiborne Pell's Subcommittee on Education on Tuesday, September 11, 1973. Dr. Judy H. Lombana and Dr. Charles L. Lewis, our witnesses, were especially appreciative of the opportunity.
As I indicated to you, the Association did prepare a position on Special Revenue Sharing which I would wish to share with the Subcommittee. A copy is attached, "Special Educational Revenue Sharing: An APGA Report", written by Dr. Janet Heddesheimer, a former staff member. It would be our hope that this report could be added as a supplement to Dr. Lombana's testimony.
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL REVENUE SHARING:
AN APGA REPORT
Janet C. Heddesheimer
American Personnel and Guidance Association
The Better Schools Act of 1973
At a time when all sectors of education are facing a fiscal crisis, the federal government is evaluating the effectiveness of its previous financial support of educa tion and suggesting new methods for dispensing those federal dollars. This has resulted in considerable confusion, anger, and concern among educators. Much of this is caused by an awareness that categorical programs may no longer be established by the federal government, new methods for garnering federal funds at the local level in education will have to be developed, and the total federal allotment for educa tion may well be reduced.
An important point to keep in mind is that the federal government contributes approximately 7% of the total education budget of the U. S. However, the significance of these funds range far beyond the actual dollars involved. Categorical programs suggest national educational priorities. For many public school districts the extra money provides special services and programs the district could not otherwise afford from local and state funds. Finally, categorical earmarking of funds mandates that those monies be spent in specific ways; the money cannot be used for activities not defined in the law. Thus federal categorical programs are, in theory at least, not subject to loss to whatever special interest group or program is strongest at the state or local level.
In order to understand special educational revenue sharing it is important to see it in relation to general revenue sharing. Special educational revenue sharing is one aspect of a total plan by the Administration to reorganize the federal method for allotting money to the states. General revenue sharing was passed into law during the last Congress. During the 93rd Congress the President is asking Congress for, in addition to general revenue sharing, special revenue sharing in the areas of education, urban community development, manpower, and law enforcement.
The money for general revenue sharing that is already in the states could provide some relief for local schools. Two-thirds of the money that goes to a state is given directly to local governments and cannot be spent for education. However, indirectly this money could aid education in a community. If a community uses revenue sharing funds to pay for a service previously paid for by local or state money, the money released could be expended for education. More directly the one third that goes to the states has greater potential benefit to education. There are no restrictions on these monies except that they cannot be used to match other federal funds. Thus a state can elect to spend any portion or all of this money on education.
The Better Schools Act of 1973 (H.R. 5823)
The President's special educational revenue sharing proposal, named "The Better Schools Act of 1973," would replace 31 existing formula grant programs for elementary and secondary education with assistance in five broad areas. These areas are education of the disadvantaged, education of the handicapped, vocational education, assistance for schools enrolling children who live on federal property, and supporting materials and services.
Referring to the Better Schools Act as revenue sharing is a misnomer. In actuality it is a grants consolidation act. The law combines 31 existing categorical programs into one bill and, in essence, allows the states to select (within the limits imposed by the bill) which of the programs they will continue to maintain through federal funds, which they will reduce, and which they will eliminate. Among the acts which are totally or in part "folded into" the bill are: Elementary and Secondary Educa tion Act, the Smigh-Hughes Act of 1917, the National Defense Education Act, the Higher Education Act of 1965, Vocational Education Act of 1963, Child Nutrition Act of 1966, and the National School Lunch Act.
Yet another point of confusion is what levels of education this bill includes. The only programs affected are those in elementary and secondary education, both public and non-public. Institutions of post-secondary education and students attending those schools are still covered under categorical programs. There is no movement to change this.
The Better Schools Act of 1973 is a complex bill. In an effort to present a comprehensive yet understandable outline of the bill, the following is a modification of a briefing sheet on education revenue sharing prepared by the administration. For an even briefer and more concise summary see Appendix A which contains a description of the legislation provided by Casper Weinberger (Secretary of HEW)