Compensatory Education:

Chapter 1's Comparability of Services Provision

HRD-87-102: Published: Aug 27, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 27, 1987.

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GAO reviewed states' implementation of the comparability-of-services provision of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981.

GAO noted that the provision requires that children living in areas receiving assistance under the act not receive fewer state- and local-funded services than children in areas not receiving such assistance. GAO found that: (1) there is confusion among the states concerning the need to maintain documentation to demonstrate comparability; (2) the majority of the states adopted means of measuring comparability that were less restrictive than formerly required and relaxed the percentage of variance allowed in determining comparability compliance between schools in the same school district; and (3) the lack of uniformity among states' definitions of instructional staff could result in assisted schools having fewer classroom teachers per student than unassisted schools in the same school district.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Education incorporated this recommendation in its proposed regulations which were published on October 21, 1988. Education expects final regulations to be issued by March 1989.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should publish provisions under 34 C.F.R. 200.60 specifying that local school districts must retain documentation demonstrating compliance with the comparability requirement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Education plans no action because it does not believe that this recommendation is justified. Previous discussions with congressional staff indicate no strong support for requiring the Secretary to define instructional staff or compare ratios of instructional staff to pupils.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should publish provisions under 34 C.F.R. 200.60 defining instructional staff for use in calculating and comparing the ratio of pupils to instructional staff for demonstrating comparability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education


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