VENTURA : Wilson Feels Heat to Accept School Funds

A group of Ventura PTA activists will decide next week whether to launch a letter-writing campaign urging Gov. Pete Wilson to accept federal school-improvement funds.

Lorna Clifton, president of the Ventura Council PTA, which represents 18 Parent-Teacher Assns. in the Ventura Unified School District, said she will bring the issue up at the next joint meeting.

"It is the kind of thing that we do get involved in," she said. "We want what is best for our kids and if this is good for kids, we want it."

Wilson announced earlier this year that he may refuse to accept $42 million in federal Goals 2000 money already designated for California. In Ventura County, about $900,000 is in jeopardy, including $54,800 promised to Ventura Unified.

The governor said he is concerned there are too many federal mandates attached to the money. But many California educators, including state Supt. of Instruction Delaine Eastin, have said they see fewer strings attached to the Goals 2000 funds than other federal programs and are urging Wilson to change his mind.

Ventura schools Supt. Joseph Spirito said he is pleased that Ventura parents may begin the campaign. About 3,600 parents are actively involved in the 18 PTA groups.

"Anything we can do to get Wilson to move will help," he said.

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