$76,000 for a Day on the Links With Clinton

A Washington civil servant bid $76,000 to play golf with President Clinton. The 18-hole round of golf was Mr. Clinton's contribution to the annual fund-raiser at Sidwell Friends, the private school which his daughter, Chelsea, attends.

The golf bidding spree underlines why spring auctions at schools, both public and private, are an increasingly important revenue source. While many public schools rely on fund-raisers that range from hawking candy bars to washing cars, the auction is becoming one of the most effective ways to pay for such items as new instruments and computers.

On Saturday night, the bidding quickly raced past the estimated $6,000 to $10,000 value put on the Clinton golf game, and the crowd of mostly students' parents was hushed as three bidders battled each other into the $70,000 range.

"I believe the Sidwell school does a magnificent job and is worth supporting, and the president is worth supporting as well," said Robert Peck, manager of computer systems for the US Customs Service, who won the bidding.

Mr. Peck, who has a child at the school, can bring two guests to tee off with the president.

The $76,000 bid was by far the largest in the school's 25 years of auctions. Last year, a basketball game against Sen. Bill Bradley (D) of New Jersey, a former NBA star, sold for less than $10,000.

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