South Dakota Governor Offers School-Reform Plan
Gov. William J. Janklow of South Dakota, making his first address to the state legislature on the subject of education, this month called for a limited voucher program for public-school students and a three-tiered teacher-certification plan.
The occasion marked not only the first time the Governor had delivered an education address before the legislature but also his first comprehensive proposal for education reform, according to James Soyer, his press aide.
In his address, Governor Janklow touched on issues in the state's higher-education and postsecondary vocational-education systems, but focused primarily on a package of new elementary and secondary programs that he said would cost an estimated $13.6 million above last year's appropriation of about $66 million for schools.
The Governor had originally requested an $8-million increase in state aid for education but raised his request to $13.6 million to fund his new proposals. He proposed underwriting the additional $5.6 million by raising South Dakota's cigarette tax by 8 cents.
"We've put a lot of money into education in the last few years," Mr. Soyer said. "The Governor has wanted to do more, but we've been faced with several crises involving the railroads and water development, ... things that really got dumped in our lap. We had to handle those first."
With some of the immediate problems solved, the Governor has decided to turn to education this year, Mr. Soyer said. "This is the greatest increase in funding to education in the state to date, but the Governor wanted to go beyond money."
To counter a statewide problem of declining enrollments in small districts, the Governor recommended a limited voucher plan that he termed "a family option."
The proposed plan would give parents of students in any public high school with fewer than 50 students the option of sending their children to school in an adjacent district. That district, according to the plan, would receive an estimated $2,800 for the transferred student's tuition. If all eligible families participated in the program, Governor Janklow said, it would cost the state $3 million.
"Size isn't always the determiner [of quality]," the Governor noted, "but the availability of resources to the smaller schools is truly devastating as cost goes up and as population goes down." The state currently requires a school to enroll at least 35 students to qualify for state aid.
Of the state's 194 school districts, about 85 have high schools with fewer than 100 students, state officials said last week.
The Governor also asked the legislature to approve the expansion of the state's "cooperative" program, in which districts share personnel such as superintendents and principals, or programs such as staff development or special education.
"When you pool the resources, you can always come up with more funding at less total cost than you can with these individual efforts separately," he said.
He asked the legislature to require that every district join existing regional cooperatives but stressed that participation would be voluntary. And he recommended that lawmakers set aside $2 million for incentives to award districts that take part in the program--$200 in additional state aid for every 10 students in system.
Governor Janklow also proposed a three-level teacher-certification system that would include a one-year probationary certificate, a middle-level "instructor" status, and a "senior teacher" status, with "significant" increases in pay for each level.
Further, the Governor asked the legislature to consider mandatory kindergarten, with a special allocation of $33,420 to the six districts now without any kindergarten programs.
To enable teachers to participate in inservice training, staff development, and meetings, the Governor recommended that their school year begin five days before Labor Day. Under his proposal, the state would pay each teacher $375 for the five-day week, for a total cost of $3.25 million.
The Governor also requested $1.62 million for special education, an increase of $500,000 for secondary vocational education, and $170,000 for the state's share in school-community lunch programs.
The Governor's proposed state budget for the fiscal year 1986 is $323 million, according to state budget officials.
Although education was not at the top of Gov. Bill Sheffield's agenda as he presented his state-of-the-state address this month, he did ask lawmakers to consider funding for child-abuse-prevention programs, unspecified revisions to collective-bargaining laws, and programs to fight drug and alcohol abuse.
The Governor urged prudence in spending in the coming year and greater investment in the state's permanent fund in the face of uncertain state oil revenues.
In his subsequent budget address, the Governor requested more than $3 million for child-abuse-preven3tion programs and the prosecution of abusers; and an unspecified increase in grants to fight alcohol and drug abuse.
According to the state budget office, Mr. Sheffield's total request for elementary and secondary education is about $693 million, up from the $654 million appropriated for 1985. The total budget proposal for the state's general fund is about $3.1 billion.
"In education," the Governor said in his budget address, "we've got more students in the classroom than ever before." Some 30,000 people have immigrated to the state in the past year.
"That means we've got to provide more school buses, more teachers, and better buildings," the Governor continued.
He also noted that he has earmarked almost $65 million for school-construction projects for the coming year.
In his address to the legislature, Governor Sheffield acknowledged that there had been a sharp increase in child-abuse cases in the state in the last year. "In Anchorage alone, the Division of Family and Youth Services gets about 33 child-welfare referrals each day," he said. "But numbers alone can't tell you about the pain these chidren feel, and the painful decisions an overworked staff has to make."
He also asked for an additional $1 million for the state's day-care-assistance program.
Calling alcohol and drug abuse "our number-one health problem," the Governor told lawmakers he will seek legislation to lower the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers and to treat substance abusers.
Gov. Bill Clinton told lawmakers last week that Arkansas, having begun to implement sweeping education-reform legislation, should not tamper with its gains but should enter the "second stage" of education reform.
He urged the legislators to support his economic-development plan, which is aimed at creating more job opportunities for the state's students.
The Governor said he would "fight vigorously" against efforts to "water down" education standards that have already been approved and would "veto any attempt to repeal the teacher-testing law." The controversial 1983 law, which requires all teachers in the state to pass a basic-skills test by 1987, is now being contested by teachers in state court.
The Governor's education budget, released in December, has been approved by the state's Legislative Council. In his $3.1 billion general-funds budget for 1985-87, Governor Clinton recommended increasing the state's Public School Fund from $666.5 million to $738.2 million in the first year of the biennium and to $797.9 million in the second year.
In that package, the Governor called for $5.35 million to develop a state network of cooperative-education centers that would help neighboring districts share resources and meet new state standards. He also sought an additional $3 million each year for the state's computer-based education programs.
In his message to the legislature last week, the Governor announced Continued on Page X Continued from Page 8
several additional bills not included in the earlier budget proposals.
They include programs that would establish an assessment center for school principals; provide financial incentives to districts that consolidate; and establish a new division of the state's education department to assist districts with civil-rights compliance.
The Governor also called for a forgivable-loan program that would encourage teachers and administrators to continue their professional training.
To keep districts from luring teachers away from other districts, the Governor is promoting a bill that would require any district that employs a teacher already under contract to another district to pay the short-handed district a sum of money equal to the teacher's salary.
The Governor also sought support for two task forces, one to examine the state's child-care programs and another charged with establishing pilot teacher-development programs in two small, two medium, and two large districts.
Gov. Robert D. Orr told the 104th General Assembly this month that improved education and economic growth are his two major goals for Indiana. The Governor said his "greatest overall concern must be education" and requested the passage of what he termed "the most significant two-year education package ever."
The package includes almost $219 million in new money for education in 1985-87. The Governor has also requested a minimum increase of $90 million per year for general educational support over the next four years. Indiana's 1983-85 budget for elementary and secondary education was $2.3 billion of a total state budget of $5.8 billion. The Governor is expected to seek a state budget of $6.5 billion for 1985-87.
The Governor's key proposal, he told legislators, is to continue funding for "Project Prime Time." The first stage of that program, funded by the 1984 legislature at $19 million for 1st graders, is designed to reduce student-teacher ratios in grades K through 3 by 1990.
"We cannot pass up this opportunity to make a long-range difference in the education of our children," he said. "We must go forward with Prime Time for grades 2 and 3."
The Governor also argued in favor of a performance-pay plan that would "forge a new and higher regard for teachers and the profession of teaching." He has indicated sup-port for a program that would establish career-ladder plans in three districts and a statewide career-ladder plan by June 1987. A similar proposal was passed over by the legislature last year.
Among the other elements of the Governor's proposal are: expansion of competency testing and remediation to grades 3, 6, and 8; creation of a school-discipline team to counsel local educators; and expansion of summer-school programs.
He also asked for reauthorization of computer-training programs; a doubling of funds for gifted and talented programs; and continuation of teacher-grant and loan-forgiveness funds for shortage areas.
"Between now and 1988, I expect state government to invest more than $1.6 billion in new funding for education," Governor Orr said. "I have committed myself to this as the minimum increase needed to continue our Decade of Excellence programs."
Maine will spend about $162 million more on precollegiate education in the 1985-87 biennium than it did in the last two years if the legislature accepts budget proposals made last week by Gov. Joseph E. Brennan.
Governor Brennan's budget calls for an 18.2-percent increase in overall general-fund spending for the next biennium, which begins on July 1. That would raise state spending from $1.6 billion in 1983-85 to $1.9 billion in 1985-87.
At the same time, state spending on education would jump from $352.5 million this year to $414.1 million in 1985-86, and then to $452.3 million in 1986-87, said Rodney Scribner, state commissioner for finance and administration.
That represents nearly a 30-percent budget increase over two years.
Governor Brennan also proposes to increase funding for the University of Maine by $31.9 million--an increase of nearly 25 percent that would bring the state's total increase in education spending to about $193 million.
More than $70 million of that increase would fund a sweeping package of school reforms the legislature passed last summer. Of that amount, $40.5 million would go into teachers' salaries and the other $30 million would pay for changes in the state school-finance formula, Mr. Scribner said.
Under the Governor's "recognition grants" proposal, each of Maine's more than 13,000 teachers would receive $1,000 per semester during the fiscal biennium, or $3,000 per teacher.
A commission is scheduled to recommend to the legislature by April 1 whether it should continue the grants beyond the 1985-87 biennium or spend the $27-million annual appropriation differently. Mr. Scribner said the legislature is likely to fold the $27 million into the school-finance formula "eventually."
Although the Governor proposes no new taxes to pay for the 18.2-percent increase in state spending, the 111th legislature approved a funding package for the education reforms last summer, which raised taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, cable television, and real-estate transfers.
State officials are also counting on a growth in revenues, which would otherwise accumulate as surplus funds, to help pay for the reforms, Mr. Scribner said.
Gov. John Ashcroft told the Missouri General Assembly last week that "education reform should begin immediately" and that the goals of that reform effort should be "education-oriented."
While arguing that reform goals should be stressed less in terms of ''dollars" or "staff size" and more in terms of classroom achievement, he proposed a $55.1-million increase in spending for education. His budget calls for $780 million in aid to schools from the state's $2.975-billion general-funds budget.
Some $50 million of the increase in spending for fiscal 1986 is earmarked for the school-foundation program.
"We must resist the temptation to make downpayments on programs we cannot afford to maintain," the Governor said.
Nonetheless, he endorsed implementation of a career-ladder plan for teachers and urged the state to bring teachers' salaries to the national average. "On a district-by-district basis, the level of certain salaries is shocking," the Governor said.
Governor Ashcroft also said he would support legislative initiatives to create forgivable loans to encourage more college students to become teachers; to require teachers to take an examination for initial certification; to establish a systematic testing program to monitor student progress and mastery of basic skills; to require districts to develop discipline policies; to fund a Missouri Scholars Academy for gifted high-school students; and to hire four microcomputer experts to establish an instructional-software clearinghouse and provide technical assistance within the state's education department.
In his budget, the Governor set aside $2.9 million to promote a preschool/parental-education program; $600,000 to improve mathematics and science education; and $560,000 to expand the education department's industry-training program.
The Governor also said he would examine "various methods of making additional resources available to schools." One means, he said, would be to change statutes so that a simple majority of voters or significantly less than a two-thirds majority of voters could approve raising local tax levies.
Although Gov. Bill Allain devoted the bulk of his first address to the 1985 legislature to executive-reorganization and economic-development proposals, he pledged to support the omnibus Education Reform Act of 1982, saying, "I still believe that education is our most important area of responsibility for our future economic development."
In his address, the Republican Governor noted that he was the first Mississippi chief executive since 1951 to offer lawmakers an executive budget rather than a "bottom up" set of proposals from departments. Emphasizing that he was proposing no new taxes or tax increases for fiscal 1986, Governor Allain warned, however, that additional drops in federal funding--he said the state had lost $1 billion since 1980--could change the projections underlying his budget plan.
His principal new spending initiative in education was a 9.8-percent salary increase for teachers, or an average of $1,500 per person--4.8- percent more than his proposed 5-percent pay increase for other state workers, including higher-education faculty members. That increase would be in addition to the annual increment in teachers' regular scale.
The Governor also suggested, as part of the state's economic-development program, that a contingency fund administered by the State Department of Education for worker training be expanded by $1.5 million next year with funds from the state's oil and gas trust fund.
He proposed that the legislature establish a trust fund to guarantee that money will be available to support the provisions of the Education Reform Act.
Such a fund is needed, said Governor Allain's education aide, because tax revenues previously slated to support the reforms were channeled into other state operations during the recent recession, and the Governor fears the pattern will continue unless a special reform fund is set up. The aide noted that the law's requirement for mandatory kindergartens, which becomes effective next year, could cost $40 million.
The Governor's proposed budget for schools totals $618.3 million--$53.9 million above the current year's appropriation. He told lawmakers the state's general-fund balance would allow about $1.5 billion in state spending next year.
Governor Allain also asked legislators to enact a law raising licensing standards for child-care facilities and requiring a nationwide criminal check and thorough background check for day-care workers. And he proposed a study of the state's higher-education system to make "determinations on whether Mississippi can properly support eight universities."
Although Gov. Richard F. Celeste is expected to recommend a 10-percent decrease in the state income tax over the next two years, he told legislators he intends to increase state funding for education from 50 cents to 70 cents of every budget dollar.
In his state-of-the-state address, the Governor did not discuss the size of his budget and did not delineate how much of the amount allotted to education would go to elementary and secondary programs.
However, he did promise each of Ohio's 15 school districts an increase of at least 5 percent in state basic aid.
The state budgeted $4.83 billion for elementary and secondary education in the 1984-85 biennium. The Ohio Department of Education has recommended that the state spend $6.5 billion on elementary and secondary education in the 1986-87 biennium.
"Just as we build a new world of work in Ohio, we must build a new education system to go with it," the Governor said in his address. "No single factor will do more to determine the ability of our workforce to meet the competition in the years ahead." Throughout his address, the Governor linked improvements in education to economic development in the state.
Governor Celeste also promised "a substantial increase" in the state's minimum teacher salary, which is now $12,700. And he endorsed the concept of a forgivable-loan program to attract promising students to the teaching profession.
A number of the Democratic Governor's proposals are expected to face opposition in the General Assembly, where Senate Republicans--who won a majority in November--have already called for a 30-percent decrease in the income tax over the next three years.
Coordinated by Assistant Editor Anne Bridgman, with reporting by Martha K. Matzke, Sheppard Ranbom, J.R. Sirkin, Pamela Winston, and Correspondent Carol Ellison.