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make a study of this program. Along with others we visited the States in which about 80-odd percent of the money had been spent.
We found not evidence of control; but we did find that the money was being used to construct elaborate buildings, used in the construction of gymnasiums; and in one case, a school bus barn, a warehouse.
Mr. BAILEY. There is no provision in the law prohibiting building of multipurpose gymnasiums.
Mr. Hill. My recollection is that there is, and the law says that the money shall be used for construction of urgently needed minimum school facilities for unhoused pupils.
The money was not restricted to that use. It was used to put up buildings, all right; but sometimes the buildings cost close to $3,000 per pupil, where that was unnecessary in Virginia and Maryland.
In other places the costs were restricted to the bare minimum, clearly a discrimination between the States and between the school districts.
More buildings could have been put up with the same amount of money.
Mr. THOMPSON. You would not suggest that in Public Law 815 that the Federal Government encroached to the extent of telling them what kind of buildings they should build, would you?
Mr. Hill. I was not suggestingthat. The basic criticism that I have for Public Law 815 is the method of determining the entitlements to begin with by the Office of Education. The entitlements were fixed at a much higher level than was necessary to construct the buildings called for by the act.
Mr. Thompson. I think maybe we will get on with this and get back to 815 and 874 later.
Mr. Bailey. Go ahead with your formal reading of the paper.
Mr. HILL. The large volume of school construction throughout the country during the past 10 years indicates that Federal aid for school buildings is unnecessary. The more than 500,000 classrooms constructed during the past decade is almost enough to house 50 percent of the pupils enrolled in our public schools. Year after year the rate of classroom construction exceeds the number necessary for enrollment growth and permits the replacement of old buildings and makes possible reductions in overcrowding.
Mr. THOMPSON. Now, may I ask you this
Mr. HILL. It would be enough to house almost 50 percent on the basis of 30 pupils per room. But, of course, you don't always have the classrooms going up where they are necessarily needed. You have some school districts building for the future.
Mr. THOMPSON. What would you do, move children in from Mississippi to New Jersey ?
Mr. Hill. No; but a number of the Southern States have made the most rapid progress in school construction.
Mr. THOMPSON. But do you take issue with the statistics that some 68,000 classrooms were built last year, and yet the classroom shortage was only reduced by approximately 1,800 classrooms?
Mr. Hill. Well, my recollection is that the number built was something higher than that, but various statistics are used.
It is very difficult to get any figure that you can really pin down. Mr. THOMPSON. May we pin yours down?
Mr. Hill. As to coming from the U.S. Office of Education, yes, but I will not verify its correctness.
Mr. THOMPSON. The Office of Education testified that there is a classroom shortage in the United States of 140,000 classrooms.
Mr. Hill. They also testified a few years ago that the shortage in the same year was 370,000 and later in the same year substantially less than that.
Mr. THOMPSON. Their statistics are not reliable?
Mr. Hill. They are the only figures that are available on classl'oom construction.
Mr. THOMPSON. In other words, it suits your convenience to use them although you say one set of their statisites is not reliable, and yet you use them and come forward with a statement that more than 500,000 classrooms built in the last 10 years are more than enough for half of the Nation's schoolchildren. "What is the meaning of this? Do you contend that there is no classroom shortage ?
Mr. Hill. No; I do not contend that and I am quite willing to use and have used the Office of Education's statistics on the classroom shortage.
But there are all sorts of different statistics on the classroom shortage.
Mr. BAILEY. Is it not true, Dr. Hill, that as a result of this survey that you say your research bureau made in covering about 80 percent of these impacted school districts you issued a pamphlet, and I believe that was formally answered by the Federal Department of Education ?
Mr. HILL. They replied to it; yes, sir.
Mr. BAILEY. At this point I would like the staff to secure from the Department of Education their answer to these charges and put them in the record at this point so that we will have a clear record of it.
If there is no objection, I think they are entitled to the privilege of having their answer to your charges.
Mr. Hill. Absolutely. I think they should.
OFFICE OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D.C., March 20, 1959. Hon. CLEVELAND M. BAILEY, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
MY DEAR MR. BAILEY: I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to provide for the record answers to the charges made by Dr. W. W. Hill before your committee in recent testimony concerning the administration of Public Law 815 by the Office of Education. From a reading of the transcript of the testimony, it appears that Dr. Hill's charges are: (1) That the Office, in determining entitlements of federally affected school districts which applied for Federal assistance for school construction under Public Law 815, fixed the entitlements "at a much higher level than was necessary to construct the buildings called for by the act”; and (2) that the Office of Education thus permitted the construction of elaborate buildings rather than "urgently needed school facilities for unhoused pupils."
The answer to these charges by Dr. Hill is completely detailed in a document printed for the use of the Committee on Appropriations in 1956, entitled
“Investigation of Administration of School Construction in Federally Affected Areas,” hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriation, House of Representatives, 84th Congress, 2d session. This investigation was the result of a directive dated March 4, 1955, by the Committee on Appropriations, instructing that an inquiry be made into the administration of the program of assistance for school construction by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (including the technical assistance rendered by other agencies), to determine whether "the program is being administered in such a way as to assure that Federal funds are not used, directly or indirectly, to plan or construct more elaborate facilities than the minimum necessary for the conduct of an educational program that meets the standards generally prevailing in the respective States."
Dr. W. W. Hill, of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, was employed for a temporary period as one of the staff members making this investigation. The investigating group spent several weeks in the Office of Education, following which they conducted an extensive field inquiry and inspection of completed schools in several regions of the country. Their report was filed with the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee late in September 1955.
I am informed that Dr. Hill did not participate with other staff members in writing the report of the investigation referred to above because he had left the investigative staff prior to the time the report was written. This may explain why his personal views as expressed in his recent testimony do not accord with those expressed in the committee report.
Thus, although the committee report was critical of certain aspects of the administration of the program by the Office of Education, it found little or no evidence of elaborate construction of school facilities with Public Law 815 funds. In the language of the report itself:
"Most of the school facilities which have been financed with Federal assistance are not more elaborate than the minimum necessary for the conduct of the educational program which generally prevails in the State wherein the school facility is located. * *
"It was discovered that in most instances the cal districts are building school facilities financed in whole or in part with Federal funds from similar plans and specifications as those being constructed from local funds. The same architects are used on Federal and non-Federal projects and, in some cases, contracts are let for both types of school facilities at the same time. The local authorities have pointed out that it is very important to them to build comparable schools within a district because the residents of a community want comparable facilities provided for their children. These same people are very much interested in the manner that their local school tax dollars are spent and by comparison will not tolerate a plush Federal school to be built on one side of town while children on the other side of town have to attend a low cost local school in the same district."
The answer to Dr. Hill's charge that the determination of entitlements by the Office of Education was "at a much higher level than was necessary to construct the buildings called for by the act” would require a rather lengthy explanation of the provisions of the law itself as bearing on these determinations. It should be noted that the investigation covered the first 2 years of the program during which time the entitlements of school districts were based on the State average cost per pubil of constructing complete school facilities, rather than minimum school facilities as Dr. Hill avers. Moreover, it should be further noted, as the report of the investigators points out, that even though the original act provided for a computed entitlement based on a percentage of the State average cost per pupil of constructing complete school facilities times the number of eligible federally connected pupils, the Office of Education, by administrative determination, limited the grant of funds for the first 2 years of the program to the cost of constructing minimum school facilities rather than complete school facilities for the number of unhoused federally connected children. This concept of limiting construction grants to the cost of constructing minimum school facilities for unhoused federally connected children was embodied in the amended law when it was extended after the first 2 years of the program. Since that time, the Office of Education has continued to limit grants of Federal funds to the cost of constructing minimum school facilities. If more than minimum school facilities have been constructed by any school district receiving Federal grants the amount necessary to construct more than minimum school
facilities has been provided from local funds, a matter not precluded by the Federal law and one not within the control of the Office of Education. Sincerely yours,
L. G. DERTHICK,
U.S. Commissioner of Education. Mr. BAILEY. Now, you may proceed.
Mr. Hill. An examination of classroom construction by States reveals that the less wealthy States have made about the same progress as the wealthier States. Texas, which ranks 27th in income per capita, ranks 5th in classroom construction.
Oklahoma ranks 37th in income, but 10th in construction.
Conversely, the District of Columbia, which ranks 8th in income, ranks 48th in construction.
In Texas, 36 percent of the 1955 enrollment could be housed in the classrooms built during the past 4 years.
These are the figures used for all of the States so that the comparison could be made.
The percentage in Oklahoma is 33, 33 in Louisiana, 30 in South Carolina, 10 in the District of Columbia, 14 in Ohio, 18 in Rhode Island, and 50 in Nevada.
There seems to be no reason to believe that any State is unable to construct its needed classrooms. Actually, it is difficult to think of any governmental function that is being discharged as well as that of classroom construction.
In some of the States, of course, there are school communities that need and are receiving financial assistance from State government.
Mr. Bailey. How many States are making grants for construction?
Mr. Hill. I don't remember the figures, but it is a substantial number. My own State of Indiana makes no grants for classroom construction whatsoever and our rate of progress has been very favorable.
Mr. BAILEY. From the last figures I had I think there were probably eight or nine States that were making outright State grants for construction.
Mr. Hill. The number has increased in the last few years, but I don't know what it has increased to.
Mr. BAILEY. It might be well for that figure to be checked, Mr. McCord, if the figures are available from the department.
(Information referred to follows:)
TABLE 4.- Total expenditures for public schools, capital outlay, and interest on school debt: 1956–57
Amount of capital outlay by source of funds
$66, 541, 107
$333, 764, 567
$251, 601, 840
$12, 458, 236, 132
$2,981, 683, 297
$2, 334, 787, 959
$246, 589, 664
141, 635, 846
127, 736, 637
36, 158, 629
44, 890, 032
80, 888, 089
43, 799, 958
14, 381, 537
9, 140, 368
8, 161, 673
9, 236, 331
11, 364, 295
3, 144, 557
9, 069, 122
4, 280, 171
8, 034, 401
8, 856, 381
19, 134, 080
7, 064, 084