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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                         (Chappaqua, New York)

For Immediate Release August 21, 2000


This year, a record 53 million children will enroll in American schools, according to a new report released today by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. Over the last ten years, our public schools have grown by 6.6 million students, resulting in overcrowded classrooms and strained school facilities. To meet the needs of America's growing student population, we need to build new schools and modernize existing ones.

For too long, the Republican leadership in Congress has failed to act on tax breaks proposed by my administration to build and modernize 6,000 schools. They have also failed to pass my proposal to fund urgent repairs such as leaky roofs, faulty fire alarms, and inadequate furnaces at 25,000 schools across the country. I remain strongly committed to working with members of both parties to help create safe and modern places for America's students to learn. Our children deserve no less.