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Mr. KILDEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a brief statement and a question to the witness.
The revenue producing power of local school districts throughout the country generally is limited by local property tax, and usually the necessity for a vote of the people on the local property tax. But the revenue producing power of the state and Federal Government is generally limited only by the wisdom and the courage of the legislature and the Congress. I spent 12 years in the legislature and recognized that.
There are real problems because very often people vote against school millage, not because they are against schools but because it is the one tax they get a chance to express their anger against taxation in general. I have seen that in my own state.
Could I ask you just briefly if you could comment--what is the pattern-I know what it is in my state—the pattern of approval of increased property taxes in your own school district or those around yours?
Dr. FISH. I could comment on a report that just came out called, ‘The Condition of Education,' presented by the Government Printing Office. It includes two facts. One, it says 50 percent of support comes out of the local property tax, and then also it says during the past ten years the number of successful bond elections dropped from 74 to 46.3 percent.
Now, that is not exactly the same kind of money we are talking about. But, I would have to say that in California the tax override election expeience has been very similar to that decline. I have seen it happen in a number of school districts in the state. I would have to say the majority of tax overide elections appear to fail; that is, to achieve a simple majority-50 percent plus one.
Mr. KilDEE. So if impact aid were to be withdrawn, the probability of getting the dollar gap taken care of locally would not really be very good, would it?
Dr. Fish. Not only that. It would become an extremely emotional issue in most of the communities here. People would say, “These outsiders are freeloaders,” and they would react to the other benefits, and it would be unfair to the Federal employee.
Mr. KILDEE. It would have a certain divisive factor.
Mr. AKIN. Could I respond to that. In Kentucky we have a legal limit that a local Board of Education can levy without a vote of the people annually. If you want to go above this, then you have to have a special election and a voted levy, specified in the vote. In the last five years, about the only thing that has passed in Kentucky has been extension of existing voted special building fund taxes. Most other issues have failed. We tried an issue two and a half years ago, and it failed 4 to 1 for a special building tax.
If we had to vote an issue to replace impact aid, it would have almost no chance at all. Most of the issues that are presented to the people are presented for the purpose of facilities, and we point out advantages and improvements for the vote. You have a chance of pointing out these things. But, if you point out replacement, I don't think you would have a chance at all.
Mr. KILDEE. You have to have a certain quid pro quo. I have been involved in some of these in my own district. Property tax constitutes about half of our funding in Michigan, so I have supported that. But, I know it is difficult to sell those elections.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Fish. Low rent public housing students, as they are known. No, we do not. We have 600 students, but the administrative burden claimed on the funds and functions would have eaten up the money. So, we simply didn't apply for it.
Mr. QUIE. What do you mean by that?
Dr. Fish. By the nature of changes in Public Law 93-380, in which the low rent housing students were designated to come in undereventually through regulation, designated to come in under the Title I program, aspect of Title I, it would have meant a grant of maybe $30,000 that we would have had to function, a whole new process, application, and so forth, and state approvals and so on.
The approval process was so slow on this that by the time we would have gotten a grant there, it would have been almost May or June of the year in which we had to spend the money by October. So, we decided that it wasn't good administration to proceed in this manner.
Also, some of the students in the public housing projects were Federally connected as military dependents and so forth. So, we took them in that category.
Mr. Quie. Do any of the others of you have category C? Do you have bilingual?
Mr. WILLIAMS. We applied for a small bilingual grant under that category and we made application for it through the State agency in, I think it was December. We received final approval after it had gone through all of the various stages sometime in May.
We did not feel that the period of time from May to June could put us in the position of having a quality program. So we are now attempting to take the funds and use them as carry-over in Title I, but we are also working locally to attempt to put in ESL ourselves..
Mr. QUIE. What do you mean, take the funds as carry-over Title I, bilingual funds?
Mr. WILLIAMS. The bilingual project that we attempted to get under these funds would have been under the Title I.
Mr. QUIE. I see. Rather than out of the regular bilingual program?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, that is right
Mr. QUIE. In making your plans, who would have been helped by your category C, who by Title I, and who had you anticpated to help under the bilingual program, if you had received it early enough?
The reason why I ask about bilingual is that, most of it goes for basic skills, Title I is mostly for basic skills and we require category C to be used for basic skills.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Newport, Rhode Island, has quite a number of different people coming into it, basically from the Navy.
We also recently opened up a new Jai Alai Fronton where we have over 100 students speaking predominantly Spanish. We were going to work with those students under the category C, use our local funds, try to get to some of the others in our community, where we have a lot of Portuguese-speaking people and marry one to the other, one program to the other.
Mr. QUIE. Would you have permitted any of the students in the bilingual program also to be in Title I classes?
Mr. WILLIAMS. If it was not in conflict with the law, most assuredly.
Mr. QUIE. Would you have any of your category C pupils in either Title I or bilingual programs?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I am not sure I understand the question, sir.
Mr. QUIE. I was wondering to what extent you integrated those funds or if you had them totally separated so that the students receiving training with the bilingual funds could not receive training out of the Title I program, or those pupils could not receive help under category C. The testimony has indicated so far that some schools divide them according to academic achievement or various other ways; others integrate them so the same student can get certain skills from different courses.
I have even had a person tell me about a student who was in all three who went to different ones, different parts of the day, and took the same thing in all three of them, so he was kind of bored by the third period of that nature. I was wondering how you handle that.
Mr. WILLIAMS. We have one of the 13 NIE sites for the Title I experimental program. What we have tried to do is to integrate our services, keeping financial categories to one side so that we do not get in conflict with any law. We would have integrated the services.
Mr. QUIE. You would have integrated them?
Mr. QUIE. How do you determine which schools would be target schools in Title I, since you are one of the 13?
Mr. WILLIAMS. What we have done is–Newport in 1970 voluntarily desegregated the schools. In doing that we just eliminated school district lines. We surveyed to find out where the children come from, in low-rent housing, in AFDC, blighted areas; we determined the school where the highest number of students happened to be, checked the educational deprivation, and built our programs into those schools so that the children are served wherever they may be.
Mr. QUIE. Do you use only educational deprivation?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I personally and professionally am not very much enamored with “normal” reference testing. I think there should be a combination of normal referenced and criterion referenced judging. We use a combination of both, we use teacher referral and we have a rather complicated formula, which factors out some of, we hope, the biases and we truly get to the students who have the educational need.
We did a controlled view of our system the other way, and we would have come out with the same students. So we were pleased with what we found.
Mr. QUIE. By "the other way,” what do you mean?
Mr. WILLIAMS. If we had kept school disticts and just used the basic Title I criteria, as it is in the existing legislation; we found that we were getting to the students who needed the help.
Mr. QUIE. It was exactly the same students?
Mr. Quie. That is interesting, because that is the difference in the Fortune and the Glass studies. When are you going to have a report ready?
Will that be a part of the September 30 report that NIE will make available?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, it will.
Mr. QUIE. Have you submitted it to them as yet or is that going to be coming later on?
Mr. WILLIAMS. The survey that we did was in-house.
Mr. QUIE. I see. Is that also going to be made available to the people.
Mr. WILLIAMS. It will, if they want it, and I will see if they want it.
Mr. QUIE. I would like to see it, myself, if you could provide it. Mr. WILLIAMS. More than happy to, sir.
Mr. QUIE. It would be very interesting. That is one of the things I have been trying to get all over the country, because that is a study comparing the two groups with each other.
Let me ask if any of you receive any funds for handicapped military or Indian children?
Dr. Fish. Yes, we do receive funds for the handicapped children under this Act.
Mr. QUIE. Handicapped, we have two types, military and Indian.
Dr. Fish. To support the program. The funds come to us based on the provision of supplying services to children who are in handicapped educational programs. We receive one-half of the entitlement on military children only. I will use the 1975-76 example.
I am not sure we received them for that year, but our A payment was $600. We would have received an additional $300 if that child was in the program. The cost of providing those services was rising so fast and the district-I know right now our district as an aggregate is carrying $4 million of excess costs. So I am pretty confident I know where those funds are going.
So we received, of our students, the percentage was about 5 percent, which qualified as being appropriate programs. That is fairly standard. Before in our community there were a number of CHAMPUS programs operating which were a much more expensive proposition. Generally the students are now in public education as a result of this, able to participate. We were serving most of them before, though.
Mr. QUIE. Does California provide State money for the handicapped over and above the normal costs?
Dr. Fish. They provide some State money, but the $4 million I referred to is above that.
Mr. QUIE. Above that?
Mr. QUIE. So you get the $300 per pupil for the handicapped over and above the $600?
Dr. FISH. Yes.
Mr. QUIE. Then you get the State money that is available. Do you get any Title VI ÉSEX?
Dr. FISH. Title VI ESEA, at the present time the only thing that is operating in our school district is a search and serve project.
The first operation of that program will be next year. We estimate the amount of entitlement per handicapped child will be $41. You must remember in handicapped children you are talking programs which are two and three times, four times as expensive as regular programs.
Mr. QUIE. Of course it varies?
Mr. QUIE. A blind spastic would certainly be more expensive, so you would need some speech therapy.
Mr. FISH. Yes.
Dr. Quie. So it varies. If you did not have that $300, where would the money come from?
Dr. FISH. As it did in the past, the local property taxpayer.
Dr. FISH. We assume we would not. We would be stunned if we did.
Mr. QUIE. You presently then comingle the money with the other programs? There is no requirement that you identify the child separately, is there?
Dr. Fish. Yes. There is a requirement that we identify the child for service. We must show that that child received the service in a State-approved program. As we interpret it, that was the intent of the Act, to see that the military dependent child was served.
Mr. QUIE. Okay. Since you are in charge of this whole group, your experience could those of us who have had concern over impact aid for a long time. When the issue comes up on the floor in an appropriation bill, they always say, “Well, the authorizing committee ought to take a look at it,” and even individuals like yourself, who are heavy users of impact aid, have in the past admitted some inequity in the program.
Do you think that it is now in the form where it ought to be left the same or do you think there could be some improvements in it to make it more equitable?
Dr. Fish. I think our definition of "equity" might be a little different, Congressman. I refer to the fact, and I use the 1975 example, that I mentioned in our testimony, that our cost of edcucation was $1300. We received for an A child who had either home or business where his father worked, being taxed, he received