|FOR RELEASE THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 1961 (Please
observe release date)
by Morris K. Udall
Aid to Education -- Some Arizona Facts and Figures
About the hottest item on the legislative griddle right now is the Administration's general school aid bill which proposes to give each state a flat amount per pupil per year for general school purposes. The measure would cost $850,000,000 the first year. Arizona would receive $21.80 for each pupil of elementary and high school age, or a total of $7,405,000. The amount per state varies from $9.25 per pupil (Connecticut) to $27.74 (Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina). This measure passed the Senate in early June by a 49 - 34 vote, and comes to the House floor soon.
My mail is heavy, sharply divided, and highly emotional. Most teachers favor it, but unanimity fails even here: a Navajo County teacher declares, "when they pass federal aid, I'm leaving the teaching profession."
As most people recognize, the bill now pending is not the first federal enactment intended to encourage and support education. Since 1785 Congress has passed more than 160 different school aid laws including:
It is my belief that national issues should be decided on the basis of our country's welfare and not from any selfish or local viewpoint. Certainly I will not vote for or against this measure solely because of its effect on my own constituents. If the proposed program is wrong in principle it makes no difference that we will get more than we pay -- at the expense of New York, New Jersey and other wealthy states. But the current bill is likely to pass, and Arizonans might be interested in seeing how we will fare if it does.
The distribution formula classes Arizona as a "Poor" state (largely because the federal government owns so much of our land and resources), and our state will receive almost $1.50 for every $1 of federal taxes our citizens pay to support it. Arizona's present "federal aid balance sheet", can be contrasted with the position it will have if the measure passes, in these terms:
indicates that (your) county received a total of $ broken down as follows:
Note to editors: you may wish to reproduce the entire table for comparative purposes, or simply summarize the figures as they affect your county.Under the present laws there is a wide disparity among the counties in amounts and proportions of federal school aid received. Thus Greenlee in 1959-60 received $5 per pupil and Yavapai $20, while Apache, Navajo and Coconino (with large Indian populations) get $561, $267, and $206 respectively. If the new bill passes the distribution of federal funds would be equalized to some degree.
I intend to read carefully the favorable and unfavorable committee reports, my congressional mail and listen to the floor debate. When the roll is called, and the moment of truth arrives, my vote will be the one I think is right. For the time being, I'm in the position of the candidate whose opponent demanded that he take a stand on a highly controversial issue. After a long, perspiring hesitation he replied: "Well, some of my friends are for it, and some of my friends are against it. I'm for my friends."
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