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Clinton Assails President for Under-Funding Education

By Mark Scott

Washington, DC – President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education initiative is being criticized by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for failing to provide promised funding to local school districts.

Clinton says Buffalo's struggling school system has been especially hit hard. She said city schools were promised $58 million under "No Child Left Behind." To date, just $39 million has been received.

Clinton acknowledged she voted for the initiative when it passed Congress. But she said she did so expecting that it would be fully funded. Clinton said local districts can't afford the mandates imposed on them.

"For example, 'No Child Left Behind' requires local districts to fingerprint every staff member to insure that they don't have a criminal record," Clinton said. "Well, that provision alone costs school districts $99 for every single staff member."

Clinton said she failed in a recent attempt to secure more funding for "No Child Left Behind."

"Last month, I co-sponsored an amendment to a budget resolution that would have provided an additional $718 million for New York schools," Clinton said. "Unfortunately, that amendment failed. But the effort to try to influence this administration continues."

Clinton said she's heard from teachers and principals in New York who say "No Child Left Behind" is not meeting the promise of improved education. She said many of the state's school districts are finding it difficult to recruit and retain qualified teachers.