Buffalo's nationally acclaimed magnet-school program would continue to receive about $3.3 million a year in federal funds if President Bush's 1991 budget is approved.
The president's education budget however, contained some controversial news for students at Western New York's private colleges, or students hoping to go to college.
His budget proposed eliminating Perkins grants and Supplemental Income grants. In addition, President Bush recommended that Congress slash funds for Guaranteed Student Loans by nearly 25 percent from the level approved by Congress for the current year.
Brad C. Johnson, Gov. Cuomo's representative, said the cuts would deny New York State's college students $104 million in aid in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. No figure on Western New York impact was available.
Congress has approved $4.1 billion in Guaranteed Student Loans for the current year. Bush would reduce that to $3.1 billion.
At a briefing, Education Secretary Lauro F. Cavazos said, however, that claims that the Bush administration has cut higher education assistance are misleading. He said lower loan-program costs result from lower interest rates.
Cavazos also noted that the Pell grants are cut by $65.5 million. The media will charge, he said, that "14,000 will lose their grants and that 1.3 million students will have their awards reduced an average of $50."
"This is accurate," he said. "But it's old news. In fact, many have written about it."
The budget asks Congress to continue appropriations of $601.8 million for work-study grants, meaning that the program will lag 5 percent behind the 1989 inflation rate.
Johnson said the budget also cuts aid to the state's libraries by $6.4 million, an echo of a lawsuit the Reagan administration lost against New York State. The 1982 Reagan budget attempted to impound
". . . 1.8 million American children who would qualify under the present program no longer exist for budgetary purposes. The new definition eliminates the 3- and 5-year-olds who are currently eligible."
Brad C. Johnson
Cuomo aide on education
funds Congress had approved for libraries, but the state sued the president over the funds and won.
The education budget eliminates aid for deaf-blind projects, education for the severely handicapped, "early childhood education," and funds for captioning services.
The president also is cutting aid for school lunches by $47 million in the state.
On the plus side, the budget adds $500 million to the Head Start program for preschoolers, making possible a 39 percent expansion of the program.
Johnson said he was concerned about how the administration described Head Start. The program, according to the new budget, defines the eligible population as 4 years old.
"That definition means that 1.8 million American children who would qualify under the present program, no longer exist for budgetary purposes," Johnson said. The new definition eliminates the 3- and 5-year-olds who are currently eligible."
The president also recommended expanding aid for the so-called Title One program, formally called Compensatory Education for the Disadvantaged.
Associate Schools Superintendent Joseph Murray said the city's Title One program is currently receiving $11.5 million in aid. The city would receive $1.1 million more for this category.
The education budget also recommended marginal increases for certain other programs widely used in the Buffalo School District. For example, vocational and adult education are increased 4 percent, but that lags behind last year's 5 percent inflation rate.
Concerning magnet schools, the administration has increased the funds for districts under desegregation orders from $112.2 million to $113.2 million. The increase is less than the inflation rate. President Reagan made six awards to Buffalo for excellence in its magnet programs.
Bush has added a new category of magnet aid. He would set aside $50 million for it nationally this year, and $100 million next year. This money would be made available to any district with a quality magnet program, whether it was under court integration orders or not.
In the area of education for the handicapped, the budget proposes spending $2.2 billion in fiscal 1991, a $500 million increase that would provide more services to 355,000 preschool children and would enhance the state programs that serve all infants up to the age of 2, and their families.
"The 1991 budget proposes the highest spending levels ever for programs to prepare children for school and for discretionary education programs," said the budget.