Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Conference report filed in House (06/15/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Tax Incentives for Education

Subtitle A: Tax Incentives for Education

Subtitle B: Revenue

Subtitle C: Identification of Limited Tax Benefits

Subject to Line Item Veto

Title II: Measures to Encourage Results in Teaching

Title III: Equal Educational Opportunity

Title IV: Sense of Congress

Title V: Reading Excellence

Subtitle A: Reading Grants

Subtitle B: Amendments to Even Start Family Literacy

Programs

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions

Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998 - Title I: Tax Incentives for Education - Subtitle A: Tax Incentives for Education - Amends the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to education individual retirement accounts (IRAs), to: (1) permit distributions for qualified elementary and secondary education expenses, including home schooling expenses; and (2) increase the annual contribution limit from $500 to $2,000. Waives the beneficiary age limitation (18) for contributions on behalf of special needs beneficiaries. Permits corporations to contribute to education IRAs. Denies allowance of any other deduction or credit for any qualified education expenses taken into account in determining exclusion from gross income of education IRA distributions.

(Sec. 101) Requires any balance to the credit of a designated beneficiary to be distributed to him or her within 30 days after such beneficiary attains age 30. Requires that, for tax-free rollovers and changes of designated beneficiaries, a new beneficiary must be under age 30.

(Sec. 102) Excludes from a beneficiary's gross income any distributions from qualified State tuition programs (or from certain prepaid tuition programs established by educational institutions), except to the extent that they exceed qualified higher education expenses. Expands the definition of such expenses.

Requires any qualified tuition program to limit the annual contribution to the program on behalf of a designated beneficiary to the lesser of: (1) $5,000; or (2) the excess of $50,000 over the aggregate amount contributed on the beneficiary's behalf to the program for all prior taxable years. Prescribes a tax on excess contributions.

(Sec. 103) Extends, through December 31, 2002, the exclusion from gross income of employer-provided educational assistance.

(Sec. 104) Increases from $5 million to $10 million the arbitrage rebate exception for State and local bonds used to finance public schools.

(Sec. 105) Excludes from gross income amounts received for teaching, research, or other services by the student which are required under the National Health Corps Scholarship Program or the F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program.

Subtitle B: Revenue - Provides, with respect to certain deferred compensation determinations, that an amount shall not be treated as paid until it is actually received by the employee (thus overruling the Schmidt Baking Company case).

Subtitle C: Identification of Limited Tax Benefits Subject to Line Item Veto - Provides that specified line item veto provisions of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act shall apply to this Act only with respect to its increase of the arbitrage rebate exception for State and local bonds used to finance public schools.

Title II: Measures to Encourage Results in Teaching - Measures to Encourage Results in Teaching Act of 1998 - Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) title II (Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Program) to establish a new part D (State Incentives for Teacher Testing and Merit Pay). Directs the Secretary of Education to make an award to each State that: (1) administers a test to each elementary school and secondary school teacher in the State, with respect to the subjects taught by the teacher, every three to five years; and (2) has an elementary school and secondary school teacher compensation system based on merit.

(Sec. 201) Allows States to use Federal education funds for teacher testing and merit pay programs.

Title III: Equal Educational Opportunity - Amends ESEA to include under targeted uses of local educational agency (LEA) innovative education assistance funds any education reform projects that provide same gender schools and classrooms, as long as comparable educational opportunities are offered for students of both sexes.

Title IV: Sense of Congress - Expresses the sense of Congress that the Department of Education, States, and LEAs should work together to ensure that not less than 95 percent of all funds appropriated to carry out elementary and secondary education programs administered by the Department of Education is spent for children in their classrooms.

Title V: Reading Excellence - Reading Excellence Act - Subtitle A: Reading Grants - Amends ESEA title II to establish a new part D (Reading Grants).

(Sec. 501) Authorizes the Secretary of Education to make competitive grants to State-established reading and literacy partnerships to make subgrants for local reading improvement and tutorial assistance programs. Provides for peer review panel evaluation of grant applications.

Sets forth requirements for partnership membership, contractual agreements, pre-existing partnerships, multi-state partnerships, and performance reports.

Requires partnerships that receive such grants to make competitive three-year local reading improvement subgrants to LEAs with one or more schools: (1) that are identified for school improvement; and (2) that have a contractual association with community-based organizations of proven effectiveness with respect to reading readiness, reading instruction for children in kindergarten through third grade, and early childhood literacy. Allows subgrantees to train, on a fee-for-service basis, personnel from schools or LEAs that are not subgrant recipients, in the instructional practices based on reliable, replicable research on reading used by the recipient.

Requires partnerships that receive such grants to make competitive tutorial assistance subgrants to LEAs with at least one school: (1) located in an empowerment zone or an enterprise community; or (2) identified for school improvement.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) conduct a national assessment of programs under this Act; (2) receive recommendations from the peer review panel in developing the criteria for the assessment; and (3) submit the findings of the assessment to such panel.

Requires the National Institute for Literacy to disseminate information on reliable, replicable research on reading and on subgrantee projects that have proven effective.

Requires each reading and literacy partnership to: (1) evaluate and report to the Secretary and the peer review panel on subgrantees' success; and (2) provide for program participation by children enrolled in private schools.

Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle B: Amendments to Even Start Family Literacy Programs - Directs the Secretary to award competitive grants to States for the planning and implementation of statewide family literacy initiatives, including specified services. Requires a State to form a consortium of State-level programs under ESEA, the Head Start Act, the Adult Education Act, and all other related, State-funded programs. Requires the consortium, as a prerequisite to receiving a grant, to: (1) create a plan to use a portion of the State's resources to strengthen and expand family literacy services; and (2) coordinate its activities with those of the reading and literacy partnership for the State.

(Sec. 523) Provides for technical assistance for the evaluation of subgrant recipient local programs.

(Sec. 524) Requires States receiving such grants to develop indicators of program quality.

(Sec. 525) Directs the Secretary to research, through grant or contract, successful family literacy services to improve the quality of existing programs and to develop models for new programs. Revises provisions for the dissemination of information.

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions - Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to the Congress on multilingualism in the United States.

(Sec. 602) Safer Schools Act of 1998 - Amends the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 to provide that a weapon that has been determined to have been brought to a school by a student shall be admissible as evidence in any internal school disciplinary proceeding related to expulsion.

(Sec. 603) Amends ESEA to allow State educational agencies to use funds under ESEA title VI (Innovation Education Program Strategies) to make student improvement incentive awards to outstanding public schools. Permits the statewide assessment (required to determine such outstanding schools) to involve exit exams.