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Utah is the third state to be declared eligible for federal second-year Goals 2000 education funding.

Utah is to receive about $2.6 million in fiscal 1995 to begin implementing its plan. The state received $694,408 in 1994 to develop the plan.Utah joins Oregon and Kentucky in having their state plans approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

"Utah has been involved in education reform efforts to improve teaching and learning for all students for several years," Education Secretary Richard W. Riley said Wednesday. "Approval of this state plan recognized that effort and helps Utah move forward to fulfill the promise of Goals 2000 - that all children will achieve to challenging standards."

Gov. Mike Leavitt said the announcement reaffirms that Utah is a national leader in education reform.

Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, said Republicans in Congress are trying to cut the funds.

"The House of Representatives has just approved a GOP-crafted package of cuts that would reduce Goals 2000 funds for Utah by $1,018,770," he said. "That's nearly half of the amount of this grant."