Mayor Article

House Passes Title I Program of Federal Education Support

The House of Representatives on October 21 passed H.R. 2, legislation reauthorizing the Federal governmentís major support program for elementary and secondary schools, Title I of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The vote, 358 to 67, reauthorizes The Title I program at a level of $9.8 billion for Fy 2000. Earlier, the House passed (213 to 208) H.R. 2300, legislation creating a pilot program giving 10 states unprecedented flexibility in spending of Federal education funds.

Title I grants are targeted to the nationís poorest and most disadvantaged students. Reauthorization of Title I funds ó at a level of $1.5 billion higher than in the original bill ó won wide bipartisan support. An amendment to boost the funding level was offered by Rep. Tim Roemer (IN) and Jack Quinn (NY) and passed 243-181.

Flexibility in spending Federal education funds was at the heart of extended and contentious debate with many Republican conservatives left feeling that the bill was a step in the right direction, even if it didnít go far enough in giving local school districts more decision-making power over how Federal education funds are spent.

Another amendment, offered by Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Bill Goodling (PA), was adopted, and included bilingual provisions left out of the original measure.

Womens Equity Act

During debate on ESEAís reauthorization, the House also adopted (311-111) an amendment offered by a bipartisan group of women that would authorize $5 million in FY 2000 to reinstate the 1974 Womens Equity Act, legislation enacted to ensure that females have full and equal access to educational and career opportunities. It would also restore language to Title I restoring gender and equity.

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