FOR RELEASE THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 1961 (Please observe release date)
 
 

"CONGRESSMAN'S REPORT"

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:

1. School Section Grants. In the early days of the republic Congress granted Section 16 in each township to the states for school purposes, Arizona has its "school sections."
2. Land Grant Colleges. The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 gave each state 30,000 acres of public land to support colleges like Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
3. Vocational Training. Since 1917 nearly every Arizona high school has received funds to aid agricultural and vocational training.
4. School Lunch Program. Arizona schools in 1959-60 received $994,367 in federal funds to help with school lunch programs; in addition our children consumed about $1,640,000 worth of surplus agricultural commodities.
5. G.I. Bill. Several million World War II and Korean vets have received some $14 billion in educational benefits under the G.I. Bill program.
6. Federal Impact Programs. In 1950 Congress started a program of grants to aid communities hard hit by federal activities. Arizona schools received more than $9,400,000 under this program in the last school year.

 
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7. National Defense Education Act. This was a 1958 bill sponsored by President Eisenhower to encourage scientific training. Arizona has declined to participate in this program.
In my study of this measure I became curious about the amount and kind of federal aid Arizona is presently receiving. As part of this homework I read last week "Skipper" Dick's 1959-60 financial report on Arizona school operations. This pamphlet will never be a best-seller, but it contains interesting information for one willing to plough through. For example, the average cost of educating an elementary school pupil was $360 for the year; for a high school student it was $606. And the report makes it clear that we already have a substantial measure of federal aid to education in Arizona. Our total school year effort was $106,625,000, and this was borne by three levels of government in these proportions:
School Districts and Counties $ 51,375,000 48%
State 42,787,000 40%
Federal Government 12,463,000 12%
Total $106,625,000
Thus nearly $1 of every 8 in our Arizona school budget already comes from Uncle Sam. I find that even those most bitterly opposed to the pending bill do not seek repeal of existing federal school aid laws, so it is apparent that Arizonans will continue to receive sizeable amounts of Washington money regardless of the vote here this month.

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:

a) We now pay about $8,161,000 as our share of the federal taxes imposed for present programs, and receive back $12,463,000. This $12,463,000 as noted above, is some 12% of our total educa-
 

 
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tion budget.
b) If the measure passes (and present programs continue) Arizona will pay taxes of $12,994,000 and receive back $19,868,000 in various forms of federal aid for schools. This would be about 18% of present school costs.
Attached to this report is a table I have prepared summarizing, by counties, the distribution of federal educational funds during 1959-60. It
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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