Reading Is Fundamental has been successful in getting both the House and Senate to approve reauthorization of the Inexpensive Book Distribution Program through which RIF receives federal funding. Reauthorization of IBDP had been omitted from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act earlier this year, and RIF had mounted a grassroots campaign to press Congress to restore the funds (News, May 7). The two separate bills are expected to go before a conference committee in a few weeks, where a single bill will be passed.
Once reauthorization is completed, the bill will become part of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that Congress is expected to take up in September; negotiations over the appropriations bill will determine RIF's funding level for the year that starts October 1, 2002. RIF's Trish Whelan told PW the organization is asking for $25 million for fiscal 2002, an 8% increase over the $23 million already approved for the year beginning October 1, 2001. "We think it's a reasonable increase considering the long waiting list we have" for communities that want to start RIF programs, Whelan said.