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FY2001 APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE

As of this afternoon, seven days before election day, the Congress is still
in session and still debating a number of the FY2001 appropriations bills.
Remember, the fiscal year ended on October 1.  According to CCSSO federal
relations officers, one of the major obstacles to adjournment is
disagreement over the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
appropriations bill, with much attention focused on education policy and
funding levels contained in the bill.  A tentative agreement would have
raised education funding by more than 20 percent, which would have been the
largest fiscal year increase ever.

In the final days of this Congress, CCSSO and other major education
organizations have opposed radical changes to several existing authorized
programs.  Eventually, an appropriations bill will be signed and federal
educational funding should rise.  For example, the Eisenhower state grants
would be increased to $585 million, funds for 21st Century Schools would
increase substantially, and the $1.75 billion for class-size reduction will
be included, but states and districts will have more discretion to use the
funds for professional development and other programs.  The Administration's
request for Title III, TLCF, was $450 million; that seems like the amount
that is being agreed on.  The Senate had actually raised that amount to $517
million, while the House reduced TLCF to $425 million.  Language mandating
Internet blocking and filtering equipment probably will remain in the
education bill and this will require school and library E-Rate recipients to
purchase filtering software.  E-rate discount funds could not be used to pay
for the filtering services, but ESEA Title III and VI funds can be used to
pay for the filters.

Several political analysts expect the 106th Congress to complete their
session with a surprising number of agreements, but that the November's
elections will result in a House majority of just one or two seats for
either party * "which will create the prospect of an unprecedented scenario
where control of the House actually rests in the hands of each of its
Members."