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Appropriations Bill Signed into Law

(Legacy of the Clinton Years)

Subject: ED Appropriations Bill Signed into Law
From: (Kirk Winters)
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 12:59:50 -0500

YESTERDAY, the President signed into law a bill that funds the U.S. Department of Education through September 30, 1998.

Below is a letter describing highlights of the bill. The letter is addressed to Department employees, from Secretary Richard Riley & Acting Deputy Secretary Marshall Smith; however, we thought many of you might want to see it. The President's remarks at the signing ceremony are available

at: At the bottom of this message are directions for locating the full text of the bill (H.R. 2264) at the Library of Congress's "Thomas" website.


Letter From Secretary Richard Riley & Acting Deputy Secretary Marshall Smith

To Department of Education Employees, November 14, 1997


On November 13, President Clinton signed into law P.L. 105-78, the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill for fiscal year 1998. The President noted that he was "signing into the record books what is plainly the best year for American education in more than a generation."

The Department's 1998 appropriations bill is an important milestone in the President's effort to ensure that every 8- year-old can read, every 12-year-old can log on to the Internet, every 18-year-old can go on to college, and every adult can continue to learn for a lifetime. The bill is also an enormous vote of confidence in the work that all of you are doing here at the Department of Education, and we want to describe some of its highlights for you.

First, the bill provides a total of $29.4 billion in discretionary funds for the Department. That's an increase of $3.1 billion, or almost 12 percent over the 1997 level of $26.3 billion. Even more important than the dollar totals, however, is the support the bill provides for the President's key initiatives:

The bill provides full funding to proceed with immediate development of the first-ever voluntary national tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math, based on the widely accepted National Assessment of Educational Progress. The National Assessment Governing Board will oversee policies and development of the tests. The bill also permits pilot testing to begin in Fall 1998.

The bill provides nearly $300 million in new funding for the Department and other agencies to implement the President's comprehensive strategy for involving teachers, families and communities in ensuring that all children learn to read well and independently by the end of third grade. The $300 million includes $210 million in advance funding for pending child literacy legislation, $25 million in new funding for Eisenhower Professional Development State Grants that is earmarked for professional development in reading, and a $16 million increase for the Even Start family literacy program.

Funding for the President's Technology Literacy Challenge Fund is more thandoubled, from $200 million in 1997 to $425 million in 1998, to help schools pay for computers and software connected to the Internet, provide professional development in the integration of technology into the curriculum, and apply technology to support school reform efforts. The bill also includes an 86 percent increase for Technology Innovation Challenge Grants -- from $57 million to $106 million -- to support a wide range of innovative strategies for improving teaching and learning and increasing student access to technology.

An $80 million appropriation -- up $29 million or 57 percent -- will accelerate progress toward the President's goal of developing 3,000 new charter schools. Up to 500 new charter schools will be funded in 1998, for a total of almost 1,000 federally supported, locally designed schools that enhance choice, excellence, and accountability in public education.

Congress provided a $1.4 billion (24 percent) increase for Pell Grants that supports the President's proposal to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $3,000 and raises the number of Pell recipients by 220,000. The $300 increase in the Pell maximum award is the largest in two decades.

COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL REFORM. This new $150 million program will provide competitive awards of $50,000 to help almost 3,000 schools implement successful whole school reform approaches or develop their own research-based reforms aimed at helping all children meet challenging state standards.

The bill appropriates $3.8 billion for Special Education Grants to States, an increase of $700 million that will raise the federal share of serving about 6 million children with disabilities by 19 percent. This increase will help states and school districts improve educational results for children with disabilities and help these children meet high standards, as called for by the recently enacted Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1997.

The bill dramatically expands this program, providing $40 million to support hundreds of after-school centers in rural and urban schools across the country. The centers will provide academic enrichment, tutoring, and other learning opportunities while giving students a safe haven during the often-dangerous after-school hours.


The $199 million appropriated for bilingual education will help school districts teach English to more than a million limited English proficient children, as well as provide some 4,000 teachers with the training. The bill also includes $150 million -- a 50 percent increase -- for the Immigrant Education program to help more than a thousand school districts provide supplemental instructional services to 875,000 recent immigrant students.

The following table highlights significant increases in the Department's 1998 appropriations bill:

($ in millions) Program 1997 1998 Increase

~~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

Technology Literacy Challenge Fund $200.0 $425.0 $225.0

Technology Innovation Challenge Grants 57.0 106.0 49.0

Comprehensive School Reform -150.0 150.0

Eisenhower State Grants 310.0 335.0 25.0

Charter Schools 51.0 80.0 29.0

America Reads Challenge 210.0 * 210.0

Bilingual and Immigrant Education 261.7 354.0 92.3

Special Education Grants to States 3,107.5 3,801.0 693.5

Pell Grants 5,919.0 7,344.9 1,425.9

After-School Learning Centers 1.0 40.0 39.0

* Funds become available on October 1, 1998 if pending child literacy legislation is approved by July 1, 1998.

We join the President in noting the historic importance of the 1998 appropriations bill for the Department. We know you will continue to work hard to carry out the President's education reform strategy, and we are excited about the prospects for real improvements in American education at every level in the coming years.

Marshall S. Smith Richard W. Riley

Acting Deputy Secretary Secretary


Directions for Locating the Full Text of the "Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998," (H.R. 2264) at the Library of Congress's "Thomas" Website


1) Go to

2) Go to Bills

3) Go to Major Legislation

4) Go to 105th

5) Click on Enacted into Law

6) Scroll down to item #21 "H.R. 2264"

7) Click on H.R. 2264

8) Scroll down to Law Text at the bottom of the page

9) Click on Law Text