Maine is one of 11 states to have its funding reduced.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Eleven states, including New Hampshire and Maine, will get less federal money for poor children next school year, while the 39 other states and the District of Columbia will get more.

The changes come about for two reasons: use of new estimates of where poor children live, and overall spending increases in the federal aid program known as Title One.

Under law, the Education Department is supposed to use the most current, reliable population data available in determining how to distribute more than $12 billion. So the agency has plugged in census data released last year, reflecting family incomes in 2000.

Lawmakers in some states have objected, saying that the estimates don’t accurately reflect their school districts, and that poor schools will suffer as demands on them grow. Senators of both parties have asked the department to reconsider. It does not plan to do so.

“We have not heard from anyone who has provided a substantive explanation for why the numbers shouldn’t be adopted,” Todd Jones, a department budget official, said Monday.

The eleven states that will get less money are Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, based on preliminary estimates. The final spending numbers are expected within a few weeks.

Within all states, some school districts will gain federal money and some will lose, as intended to reflect shifts in population. But fewer districts would take such a big hit if the Bush administration had met its promise to help needy schools, said Judd Legum, deputy research director at the Center for American Progress, a Democrat-affiliated think tank.

Federal spending on Title I hit a record $12.3 billion for the next school year, up more than $650 million in one year. But $18.5 billion was authorized under Bush’s education law.

“It’s going to be very hard for a lot of these districts to live up to the federal standards they must now live up to,” Legum said. Schools that receive federal poverty aid and fail to meet progress goals for at least two years get assistance, but they also face sanctions.

The federal money is meant to help disadvantaged kids in reading, math and other subjects.

Said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., whose state will lose an estimated $26.5 million: “I, for one, am going to fight this latest Bush education cut at every opportunity.”

Bush officials say that authorized spending levels were meant to be caps, not promises, and that the federal government has never put greater emphasis on helping poor students.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., said that his state’s reduction in money is the product of inaccurate population data. He said he will keep pushing Education Secretary Rod Paige and his team “to understand that they need to change their policy on this matter… I am determined to work with my colleagues to find a way to remedy this situation.”

Minnesota’s total stands to drop from $117.7 million to $105.6 million. Other states will see sizable gains in funding, including Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas.

Puerto Rico also is affected by use of the new estimates, gaining $83.5 million.



On the Net:

Education Department spending estimates:

http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statetables/index.html

AP-ES-04-05-04 2057EDT



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