A bill passed by the House this month that is intended to assure adequate funding for rural school districts may encourage more logging on public lands, say opponents. Under current law, communities near national forests get money for schools from federal timber sales in surrounding areas, and as timber cutting has declined in recent years, rural school budgets have been hit hard. The Clinton administration and enviros saw the funding crisis as a chance for reform and they proposed severing what they say is an inappropriate link between logging and school budgets. But a powerful coalition of timber, county, and education interests kept the funding tie in the House bill and authorized federal appropriations to make up for declining timber sales, though without guaranteeing that the funds would be available each year. The Senate will take up the bill in 2000.