WASHINGTON (AP) _ Bill Ivey, appointed chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts by President Clinton, announced Tuesday that he will leave his post Sept. 30.

Last year the endowment won a $7 million increase in its budget, the first since 1992. The additional money was earmarked for the ``Challenge America'' program, largely to support arts education and services for young people.

During the Clinton administration the Republican leadership in Congress drastically cut NEA's funding, accusing it of sponsoring indecent performances, but failed to abolish the endowment.

``I'm proud of what's been accomplished during my tenure,'' Ivey said in Tuesday's announcement. ``We've brought NEA grant-making to underserved areas and have better connected young people with the arts.''

Ivey told the Nashville Tennessean in January that he would be willing to stay on if the Bush administration would support him. Congress has yet to act on the Bush administration's request for $105 million in NEA funding for next year, the same as the current level.

Ivey, 56, a folklorist and musician, said that this will be his first real break from work in 30 years. He said he plans to begin several book projects.

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