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their areas. Public laws 815 and 874, of the 81st Congress, provided special financial assistance to schools having additional pupil loads resulting from Federal activities. Unfortunately, the Congress last year amended Public Law 874, so that starting in the fall of 1954 these federally impacted schools would no longer receive financial assistance for the first 3 percent of their pupils resulting from Federal operations. Unless this law is changed, these schools will be required to absorb the first 3 percent of enrollment from Federal activities without any Federal assistance.
This is not the time to withdraw Federal assistance from schools fighting desperately to provide adequate school facilities for the education of our youth. It wes for this reason that I introduced the initial legislation in the Senate this session, bill S. 3604, to eliminate the 3 percent abscrption clause from Public Law 874. Since the introduction of my bill, other legislation has been introduced, which would also eliminate the absorption clause.
This is the time when the Government should fully recognize the serious difficulties faced by many of our schools, and provide all possible assistance to those schools suffering additional burdens from the impact of Federal activities in their areas. It is urged that the 3 percent absorption clause be eliminated from Public Law 874, and that Public Law 815, providing for school construction in federally impacted areas, be continued in the best interest of the youth of our country. Senator COOPER. Samuel Brownell, Commissioner of Education. STATEMENT OF HON. SAMUEL M. BROWNELL, COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
Mr. BROWNELL. Mr. Chairman, I want to say at the outset that due to the pressure of time, it has been impossible to have a statement cleared through the Bureau of the Budget, and I do not have at this time a prepared statement to put on file. That is now in the hands of the typist. So I will have to operate from my notes, if I may.
In discussing this extension of Public Law 815, I should like to note four points. First, that the problem of school construction is a very large one, and that this program is a piece of the total.
Second, that the total problem calls for work in a cooperative way with the States. We propose to work with and through the States. Pending the outcome of our studies and the information from the State conferences, we are not in a position to propose any long-range modification of the role undertaken by the Federal Government in 1950, in the original adoption of Public Law 815.
Third, that we are willing to recommend in principle the bill which proposes to extend the existing laws for the period of 1 or 2 years. Fourth, that we recommend amendments to make the conditions of eligibility and entitlement comparable to those now in operation. Testimony has been presented before this committee in connection with S. 2601, which pointed out in some detail the total need for school construction in this country. So I shall not repeat that. We have also filed with the committee formal statements in reference to S. 3628 and S. 3450, and I shall not repeat in detail what is in those reports. I would recall to your attention that in terms of the total picture, enrollments will continue to increase for a long time and the total financing for school construction will involve payments that run into the billions of dollars. So I note that, because our consideration of each proposal in reference to school construction is made in the light of the total picture. We note that Congress has already enacted at this session a bill which would encourage the States to study their education needs and develop an action program to speed up the provision of educational facilities.
There are other bills before you that propose temporary emergency school construction. Because the total pattern of the long-range program is in the state of development, we believe that at the most extension of this act should be for 1 or possibly 2 years. It is our further recommendation that if this act is extended for 1 or possibly 2 years, the eligibility requirement should be kept as nearly as possible comparable to those now in Public Law 815, as amended by Public Law 246, which has been in operation during the past 2 years.
Now, if I may, I would like to present a few facts relating to Public Law 815 as it is operated and an estimate of what it might cost to extend it. Public Law 815 was enacted in September 1950 to provide Federal assistance to meet school construction needs in communities impacted by Federal activities beginning with 1939 and extending through fiscal year 1952. The law was further extended in August 1953 by Public Law 246, to cover construction needs brought on by the defense buildup following Korea through the fiscal year 1954.
Now, the original law and the appropriations made under it went a long way toward meeting the needs of impacted districts. The extension to Public Law 246 went far toward meeting the additional needs brought on by Kroea. In general, the defense activities have leveled off or declined and the terminal date of June 1954 has met most of the situations where enrollment increases were being felt. There are, however, a number of communities with sizable impacts occurring beyond the terminal date in the existing legislation. For these relatively few districts, the termination date of June 30, 1954, presents a real problem. For example, the peak enrollments of federally connected pupils in southern Ohio counties surrounding the atomic energy plant will not be reached until the fall of 1954, but the cutoff date of June 30, 1954, excludes from Federal assistance a large number of children who must be housed this coming year.
There are Federal housing projects being completed at a number of bases, particularly Air Force bases, where none or only part of the impact can be claimed by the cutoff date of June 30, 1954. The housing will be occupied in the school year beginning September 1954 and school facilities must be provided for these children. The question is whether this is a continuing Federal responsibility.
There were 940 school districts aided by the original act, and school housing provided for 468,000 children-70 percent from Federal fundsout of 690,000 eligible children.
Now, under the extended law a total of approximately 140,000 children will be housed and in 620 approved projects built with Federal and local funds. An estimated total of 175,000 children were eligible for assistance under the extended act, which expired on June 30. I have tabulated these figures, which I will put in the record. The comparative statistical information on the original and extended programs are as follows:
These figures bear out the downward trend of local needs for additional school construction in all federally affected districts. However, in those few districts which have not yet experienced the end of the impact, the needs are still acute, and the law as written does not provide the full ways of meeting the post-Korean impact.
As a former school superintendent, I am fully aware that in districts where there is such an impact it is just as difficult to take care of the needs if there be only a few communities affected as if there
The office has not collected full information which will give exact data on the possible additional needs to be faced under any further extension of Public Law 815. Such estimates would have to take into account the specific provisions of any such proposed extension and the period of time that they were to be in effect.
We have gathered some information from over 1,450 districts which responded to a post-card survey, out of the 2,500 federally affected districts which are eligible for assistance under Public Law 874 for their maintenance and operation payments. These data show the reported increase in enrollments in 1955, but they do not reveal the situation as to unhoused children, which would have to be taken into consideration in approving funds for any district.
Out of these 1,450 districts, there were 265 districts there which showed an increase in their enrollment of 20 or more Federal pupils in the year 1955 over 1954. The law requires a school district to have at least a 2-year 5-percent increase in Federal pupils over their total pupils in 1952 to qualify for the funds.
Extension of this provision for a new Federal impact would suggest a percentage increase requirement of 2% percent in Federal pupils over the total pupils for a 1-year period to be comparable. If such restriction were applied to the 265 districts cited above, approximately 165 will qualify for the funds, and the estimated total number of pupils that would qualify under section 305 (a) (1) is about 10,570. That is those whose parents both live and work on Federal property. The number under section 305 (a) 2 is 24,720. That is those whose parents live or work on Federal property.
I have a tabulation by State which I will attach to my statement. (The tabulation referred to follows:)
Estimated cost of extension of Public Law 815 for 1 year for 164 districts
The total estimated cost of the program in these districts, based on the eligibility requirements stated above and the amount of Federal payments per child as provided in the present formula is about $25,600,000 or an average cost per district of $155,000. This does not contain any provision for districts which may qualify under section 305 (a) (3) of the act, where a substantial migration of labor resulted in overcrowded schools. It is not believed that many of these cases will result from the extension because of the stabilized defense employment and eligibility requirements in this section of the law.
It is estimated that when data have been received from all districts, some 200 or more might have an increase in Federal pupils to qualify for assistance in 1955, if a 1-year percentage requirement of 221⁄2 percent were fixed.
It is further estimated that the cost of such a program would be between $25 million and $30 million for the 1 year under section 305. That completes the notes for my statement, Mr. Chairman. I will be glad to answer any questions that I can.
Senator CooPER. Senator Upton?
Senator UPTON. No questions, Mr. Chairman.
Senator COOPER. Mr. Brownell, I have been looking at this letter dated July 1, 1954, signed by Mr. Little directed to Senator Burke. (The letter referred to appears in Senator Burke's prepared statement at p. 17.)
Mr. BROWNELL. Yes.
Senator COOPER. Attached to this letter is a list of school districts which estimate an increase of 5 percent or more in average daily attendance for 1953 and 1955 school year, and the list shows 64 districts out of a total of 1,466 that were written to. I notice on this list you have not mentioned many school districts from Ohio. Do you consider this a complete list of districts that will be in need? Mr. BROWNELL. No.
Senator COOPER. Will you tell us something about the way you made this survey?
Mr. BROWNELL. May I call on Mr. Lillywhite to give me a little bit of information here because he is the one who provided that basic information for that survey, and I don't believe I have a copy of it
Senator COOPER. Do you want him to go ahead and explain the way in which the survey was made?
Mr. BROWNELL. Where we got the information that went into the letter to Mr. Burke.
Senator COOPER. Do you want to explain?
Mr. LILLYWHITE. My name is B. A. Lillywhite.
In order to provide information for the budget purposes and maintenance and operation program for the next fiscal year, we did, as we have in preceding years, send a postcard to each applicant that received assistance under Public Law 874, and asked them to send it back to us in a short period of time, with the estimated increases in school enrollment, total and federally connected children. Now, we received about half of them. A number have not reported, and we don't know whether the most serious ones haven't reported or have reported.
This letter that went to Senator Burke included the 64 districts that showed a 10-percent increase in federally connected children over the 2-year period.
Senator COOPER. How many school districts did you direct your inquiry to? Was it just the school districts which were receiving aid? Mr. LILLYWHITE. Those are the only ones we knew about, those that received operation and maintenance assistance in 1954. There were about 2,500 of them and about half of them have reported.
Senator COOPER. Then you were asking if they anticipated any increase to determine whether or not additional funds would be needed. Mr. BROWNELL. That is right, so we would know for the purpose of Public Law 874 how much money to put in the budget request. Senator COOPER. Have you had any information from the State agencies as to schools within the States, school districts that would be new areas under impact?