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Clinton Boosts Charter Schools

President Clinton delivered his weekly radio address Saturday live from Martha's Vineyard and said he's releasing more than $95 million in federal grants to support charter schools, reports CBS News Correspondent Cami McCormick.

"They will help existing charter schools hire more well-trained teachers, buy more books, computers and educational software," the president said, "and ensure that classrooms are safe and accessible for all students."

Mr. Clinton endorsed the education idea as "freer of red tape and top-down management" than traditional public schools.

In addition to announcing the $95 million in school aid, Mr. Clinton used his weekly radio address to repeat his denunciation of the Republicans' $792 billion tax cut program as risky and a threat to American public education.

Charter schools are often created by concerned parents or teachers and operate with a charter from a public agency. Supporters of the idea say entrepreneurial education efforts offer solutions to problems weighing on public classrooms.

Just one charter school existed nationally when Mr. Clinton took office in 1993, he said. Now there are more than 1,700, and the administration hopes to help foster 3,000 by 2001, Clinton said.

Arizona Governor Jane Hull insisted Mr. Clinton is just "playing politics" with Americans' money.

During the GOP weekly radio address, the Republican governor argued that Clinton either has a deep-seated desire to increase government spending - or he just does not want to give the money back to the people who earned it.

Mr. Clinton delivered the address before leaving Martha's Vineyard for the Hamptons on Long Island and a weekend of fund-raising parties with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Some of the money will go to the Democratic National Committee, and some to Mrs. Clinton's all-but-declared bid for a Senate seat from New York.

The Clintons will host a buffet reception of the young Democrats' "Saxophone Club." At $250 per person, some 800 people are expected to turn out for the Clintons and comedian Jon Stewart to net about $200,000 for the Democratic National Committee.

From there, it's on to a $1,000 per plate barbecue dinner at a private East Hampton residence. Singer Phoebe Snow will entertain the 300 people contributing jointly to the DNC, Mrs. Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Sunday, the Clintons star at a $5,000-per-person lunch for 80 at a Southampton home. The first $1,000 of every ticket price, a party official said, will go to Mrs. Clinton's race, and the remainder will be shared by the DNC and DSCC.

In the priciest of the galas, rocker Jon Bon Jovi provides the music at a Bridgehampton dinner Sunday night solely benefiting the DNC. At $25,000 per couple, the event is expected to bag $900,000.

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