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October 30, 1997

H.R. 2616 - Charter Schools Amendments Act of 1997
(Reps. Riggs (R) CA and Roemer (D) IN)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 2616, but has concerns about provisions in the bill that would extend, from three years to five years, the period for which Federal assistance could be provided to individual charter schools.

The Administration understands that the rule for consideration of H.R. 2616 provides that the text of H.R. 2746, the Helping Empower Low-income Parents (HELP) Scholarships Amendments of 1997, be added to H.R. 2616 in the engrossment of the bill. Under H.R. 2746, States and local school districts could provide vouchers for basic instruction in private schools using funds that are otherwise available for the supplementary costs of education reform under Title VI of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. If H.R. 2616 is amended to include this bill, the President's senior advisers would recommend that the bill be vetoed. Federal funding of private school vouchers is bad policy because it would divert needed attention and resources from the Nation's public schools, which serve approximately 90 percent of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.