Bush Boosting Education

Wednesday, February 21st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Knoxville, TN (AP)-President Bush proposed on Wednesday to boost spending on elementary and secondary education by $1.6 billion in the coming year, part of an Education Department budget increase he said will surpass expansions at any other Cabinet-level agency.

Bush announced his plan during remarks at a rural school in the Smoky Mountains, moving to deliver on a campaign promise to increase federal education spending by $47.5 billion over 10 years.

``There is no more important subject than public education. We must get it right to make sure no child is left behind,'' Bush said, announcing the spending at a visit to Townsend Elementary School in Townsend, a winding, 40-minute drive from Knoxville.

The administration didn't say exactly how much money Bush would seek for the Education Department in the next fiscal year, or by what percentage it would grow. Nor was it clear precisely how the new $1.6 billion would be spent.

But by granting education the biggest percentage budget increase of any department, Bush was demonstrating public schools remain his top priority, his aides said.

Some prominent conservatives have called for the department's abolition in recent years, saying it is a bloated, unneeded bureaucracy and that local jurisdictions and states should have greater control over the schools.