Stevens Elementary, the public school closest to the White House which is attended by President Carter's daugther, has had a series of serious problems trying to get federal aid.
The school has received some high-powered help from a Capitol Hill lawyer, Daniel H. Krivit, who specializes in dealing with bureaucracy.
Even so, about a dozen college students who started work in September as instructors in Stevens' extended-day program did not get regular salaries until February.
A plan by the program director to give them a free trip to Mexico to make up for the lost pay has run afoul of funding rules.
And whether the extended-day program can continue next fall still is completely in doubt.
"It's hard, very hard, when you don't know if you can get money or whether you can keep going," said Jane Harley, the director of the extended-day program that provides activities at the school from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. "The red tape and the delays have been awful. There's a need for programs like this for working parents throughout the city. But it's hard to get them going."
Stevens, a 110-year-old school now surrounded by offices at 21st and K street NW, has had its extended-day program since September 1976.
Before school it offers breakfast and supervised play. In late afternoon there are sports, tutoring and enrichment mlasses for 180 children, including Amy arter, a 10-year-old fifth-grader.
Harley, who has been a teacher and counselor at Stevens for 18 years, said she organized the program to keep the school open by stemming its loss in enrollment.
Since it began, the number of students at the [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCES]
Financing the program, however, has been difficult.
Parents aer charged $35 a semester - far below cost.
In addition, the program received $42,000 last year in U.S. antipoverty grants, funnelled through the United Planning Organization, and a Neighborhood Planning Council.
Harley said she decided last summer to try to run similar extended-day programs at about a dozen other D.C. schools as well as Stevens. She went after money a different way, setting up a nonprofit corporation Inc., and applying for a $700,000 grant directly from UPO.
UPO turned her down, but even without a promise of funds she hired 14 college students to run the program at Stevens. Among them were two of her sons who attend Howard University.
Then Harley sought money under the federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), a job program for unemployed workers that is administered locally by the D.C. government's manpower department.
At first the department rejected the request.
But in late October, Harley said she contacted Krivit and things began to move.
A former Congressional staffer who helped draft the original CETA legislation in 1973, Krivit now has a law office on Capitol Hill that specializes in representing cities and counties in dealing with the federal government.
Krivit said he agreed to help Stevens without charge, and arranged for the director of the D.C. Manpower Department, Thomas A. Wilkins, to come to a parents meeting at the school on Oct. 25.
Amy's mother Rosalynn Carter attended the meeting, and within two days, Krivit said, the funding request made "substantial progress."
"Mr. Wilkins and (his staff) tried to locate every possible source of CETA funds that can be devoted to the project," he continued. "The degree fo responsiveness and fast action demonstrated by the D.C. Manpower Office is unprecedented in my experience."
In early November, the department allocated $23,000 to hire 18 high school students as program aides for $2.65 an hour.
The main grant of $63,865 for adult instructors was not approved until Jan. 3, and funding for them did not start until Feb. 6. The grant provided for 14 instructors to be paid $3.40 an hour and to be shared between Stevens and another after-school program at Powell Elementary, 14th and Upshur Streets NW.
The Manpower Department cut out a request for extra funds for computer training classes and activities for gifted children, in which, Harley said, Amy Carter was expected to participate.
Instead, Amy now attends special classes for gifted students two afternoons a week at George Washington University and takes private violin lessons another afternoon. She uses the after-school program at Stevens twice a week for Spanish and photography lessons.
While Harley was shopping around and waiting for U.S. grants, she said she used money from the $5,900 collected from parents to pay the instructors. Most received $200 to $300, she said, between September and January.
When one instructor was about to be evicted from his apartment, Harley said she paid him $500. The check bounced, she said, and she paid him again with a money order.
Three of the 14 instructors who started in September quit before the CETA grant came through, Harley said, and morale deteriorated. Parents complained that the program was going downhill, although now that the several parents said the program has improved considerably.
However, the instructors are still dissatisfied because they have not received full pay for the work they did before Feb. 6.
To compensate them Harley said she planned to use about $3,000 from the CETA grant to take them on a week-long "enrichment trip" to Mexico City and Acupulco during Easter vacation along with some students in the Spanish class and their parents. She said the funds had been ear-marked for administrative costs.
But Lorenzo White, deputy director of the Manpower Department, said no CETA money could be used for the Mexican trip, and the trip was postponed.
"Everything they purchase with that money must be specifically approved by us." White said. "We could never agree to that one."
In addition, the Manpower Department has refused to let CETA funds be used to pay Harley's two sons because of federal rules against nepotism, although Harley said the regulations do not apply in her situation.
Last year, according to program records, one of her sons, Eugene, received $2,500 in antipoverty funds for teaching photography at Stevens. Harley herself was paid $7,000 as program director in addition to her regular teacher's salary of about $23,000.
Now Harley said she is seeking $20,000 from UPO to cover this year's administrative expenses, including a salary for herself. So far, she said, she has not been paid for her after-school work since September.
Even though the CETA grant will allow the program to continue as a day camp during the summer, Harley said she is not sure what will happen when it expires Sept. 30.
"It's still a terrible problem," she said. "We just don't know what will happen next year.One thing I can tell you, if there isn't an extended day program there won't be enough children to keep Stevens school open. A lot of parents will have a lot of hardship they don't have now."