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SCHOOL FACILITIES SURVEY
In recent sessions, the attention of Congress has been directed toward the difficulties States and local communities are having in providing essential school housing for the children of the Nation. This critical situation has been developing during three recent periods: the depression years, the war years, and the postwar years.
In the 1930's, communities were unable under depression conditions to provide funds for new construction. The delinquent tax situation, the decline in taxable valuations, and the scarcity of funds for investment in school bonds greatly reduced the bonding power normally available to boards of education, and made it almost impossible for them to engage in essential construction.
In the war years, the disversion of materials needed by the war effort demanded the cooperation of all. Lumber, steel, and other building materials, as well as the supply of labor and transportation services, were diverted from peacetime activities and conserved for war production. In the spirit of cooperation the boards of education continued to tolerate unsatisfactory school housing and delayed construction programs.
Following the war, the schools were confronted with an inadequate supply of building materials and much higher prices. Any attempted construction was handicapped by both of these factors and the few boards that were able to proceed had to accept fewer classrooms than they actually needed.
The cumulative effects of these handicaps are now combined with additional demands for school housing brought about by population shifts, higher birth rates, and school district reorganizations. All States have critical areas where the school construction requirements are much greater than the local community can meet. Present conditions call attention to the probability that methods of financing school construction used in the past need to be reconsidered. In many areas the local financial resources are not sufficient to provide adequate school housing. This total situation was recognized by the President in his 1950 budget message in which he urged that a special effort be made to gather the facts.
We know that a shortage of school buildings exists in many parts of the country as a result of wartime deferment of construction and the increase in the school-age population. We do not know the over-all extent of the shortage, the particular areas in which it exists, and whether State and local governments can alleviate it without special Federal aid for construction. In order to provide an adequate factual basis for further consideration of the problem, I ask the Congress to authorize a survey of educational building needs and the adequacy of State and local resources available to meet these needs.
In recognition of this housing situation in the Nation, the second session of the Eighty-first Congress authorized surveys of school facilities by enacting Public Law 815, and appropriated 3 million dollars for grants-in-aid to the States and Territories for this purpose. The Federal survey funds were alloted to the States on the basis of school-age population. In order to qualify for financial assistance, the States and Territories were requested to authorize a survey, to provide the Office of Education with certain basic school-building information which has been considered essential to describe the school-housing conditions and needs, and to provide State funds or services which at least match the amount of Federal school facilities survey funds.
The Office of Education is discharging its responsibilities with respect to Title I of Public Law 815 by allocating the funds to the State educational agencies and by coordinating the State and Territorial surveys. An important characteristic of this study is that the survey programs within the States and Territories are State surveys planned and conducted according to the judgment of the State school officials. Amounts allocated and distributed to the States and Territories since the survey funds became available are listed in table 11.
Federal assistance for the development of agricultural and mechanic arts in colleges was approved by Congress in 1862, but it was not until 55 years later that similar aid was approved for secondary schools. In secondary education, Federal funds were appropriated for education of persons over 14 years of age who have entered upon or who are preparing to engage in employment in the fields of agriculture, home economics, or industry.
The first Federal funds for vocational education below college grade were authorized by the enactment of the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. Additional funds were appropriated by the George-Reed Act of 1929, the George-Ellzey Act of 1934, the George-Deen Act of 1936, and the George-Barden Act of 1946. The historical sequence of changes from Act to Act have been adequately traced in preceding issues of this publication. It is the purpose here to indicate the presently operating provisions for vocational education. These can be grouped under the Smith-Hughes and the George-Barden Acts.
The Smith-Hughes Act.—The purpose of the Federal enactments relating to this Act is to provide for Federal cooperation with the States in the promotion of vocational education in agriculture, trades and industries, including home economics, and the preparation of teachers of vocational subjects. Benefits of vocational
Table 11.-FEDERAL FUNDS ALLOTTED FOR THE STATE SCHOOL FACILITIES SURVEYS AND AMOUNTS DISTRIBUTED, FOR THE 1950-51 AND 1951-52 SCHOOL YEARS
1 Available only to District of Columbia and Territories.
education have been extended to all the States since 1918, Hawaii since 1925, and to Puerto Rico since 1932. Federal funds appropriated by this Act are used by the States for the salaries of teachers, supervisors, or directors of agricultural subjects and the salaries of teachers of trade, industrial, and home economics subjects in schools and classes of less-than-college grade, and for the training of teachers of vocational subjects.
The Smith-Hughes Act provides for continuing or permanent annual appropriations to be allotted to the States in the proportion which their population bears to the total population in the United States, not including outlying possessions, according to the latest decennial census. These appropriations include $3,000,000 for salaries of teachers, supervisors, and directors of agricultural subjects, allotted to the States in the proportion which the rural population of each is to the total rural population in the United States; $4,000,000 for salaries of teachers of trade, industry, and home economics subjects, allotted to the States in the proportion which the urban population of each is to the total urban population in the United States; and $1,000,000 for training teachers of vocational subjects, allotted to the States in the proportion which the total population of each State bears to the total population of the United States. The act also provides a minimum allotment of $10,000 annually to each State for each of the three purposes and appropriates additional sums of $27,000, $50,000, and $90,000, respectively, or as much thereof as may be needed, to guarantee the minimums. The maximum sum of the appropriations available to the States annually is $7,167,000.
Benefits of the Smith-Hughes Act extend to Hawaii and to Puerto Rico. The law of 1924 for Hawaii authorized that $30,000 be appropriated annually, and the law of 1931 authorized that $105,000 be appropriated annually for Puerto Rico, to be used in accordance with the terms of the Smith-Hughes law.
Under the Smith-Hughes Act the States are required to match the expenditures from Federal funds with equal expenditures of State or local funds or both for the same specific purposes. The State legislatures are required to accept the provisions of the Act, to appoint the State Treasurer as custodian of the Federal appropriations, and to designate or create a State board for vocational education. The State board is required to prepare plans for vocational education to be submitted to the Office of Education showing how the Federal, State, and local funds for this program will be expended in the State. The State board is also required to prepare and submit an annual report showing how funds were used and what work was accomplished.
The George-Barden Act.-This Act authorizes annual appropriations for the further development of vocational education in the several States and Territories. These funds are made available for administration, supervision, teacher training, vocational guidance and instruction, and for establishing programs for apprentices, and the purchase or rent of equipment and supplies for vocational instruction. The Smith-Hughes funds may be used only for instruction and the maintenance of teacher training.
Specific amounts, authorized by the George-Barden Act, which may be allocated to the States and Territories include $10,000,000 for vocational agriculture to be allotted on the basis of farm population, $8,000,000 for home economics to be allotted on the basis of rural population, $8,000,000 for trade and industrial education to be allotted on the basis of nonfarm population, and $2,500,000 for education in distributive occupations to be allotted on the basis of total population. This Act also provides that no State or Territory shall receive less than $40,000 per year for the first three fields of vocational education, nor less than $15,000 for the fourth one.
No special allocation for teacher training is provided in the 1946 law, but the funds may be used for teacher training as well as for various other items associated with the vocational education program in the Act, if they are incorporated in the approved “State plan.”
In accordance with Public Law 462 (81st Cong.), approved March 18, 1950, the benefits of the Vocational Education Act of 1946 were extended to the Virgin Islands and $40,000 was authorized to be appropriated for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1950.
Allotments of Federal funds made under the Smith-Hughes and George-Barden Acts since July 1, 1947, are presented in table 12 and the detailed amounts allotted to the States and Territories for the fiscal year 1952 are included in table 13. These were based upon census data for 1940 since the 1950 census figures were not available. The 1950 census figures will be used for the allocation of vocational education funds for the 1952-53 school year. All of these allocation figures were obtained from the Division of Vocational Education of the Office of Education. The Office can also supply further details concerning the amounts allocated under the several authorizations and the actual distribution dates.
The total amount that may be expended for these programs of vocational education which are encouraged and promoted by the Federal appropriations should be noted. Laws require dollar-fordollar matching. This implies that at least $26,273,383 of State and local funds will be expended in the 1951-52 school year on vocational programs that receive this amount of Federal assist