Key Republicans in Colorado and Vermont have recently lined up behind proposals to increase state spending on early-childhood education and day care--issues not usually associated with the Grand Old Party.
In Colorado, four conservative Republican state lawmakers serving on an interim study group on school finance have decided to back a plan to provide half-day preschool services to 3- and 4-year-olds who do not speak English or who come from economically disadvantaged homes. Their support for the proposal has been cheered by liberal lawmakers who have been pressing for the effort for years.
Representative Elwood Gillis, who announced his support for the plan in late October, told his conservative colleagues on the panel that he continues to oppose spending more funds for "business as usual," but can support "something tangible that will have results."
Meanwhile in Vermont, the state Republican Party, meeting in Burlington recently to discuss its platform for 1988, supported increasing the availability of day care.
"In this platform, we are talking about the issues first in terms of human need," said Ralph Howe, chairman of the Republican state committee. "Secondly, we are offering solutions that are based on traditional Republican values--solving problems at the local level, avoiding the creation of new bureaucracies."
Governors-elect in Louisiana and Mississippi may find it difficult to live up to their campaign pledges to raise teachers' salaries.
In Louisiana, the incoming Governor, Buddy Roemer, recently noted that his state's estimated $300-million deficit for the current fiscal year means that it may be months before teachers can get a pay raise.
"I thought we could do it in the first 100 days of the administration, but given the size of the deficit, I don't want to over-promise that," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Mississippi's state school chief, meanwhile, has challenged the underpinnings of Governor-elect Raymond Mabus Jr.'s plan to raise salaries by trimming current education expenses.
In recent comments before the state Fiscal Management Board, the superintendent, Richard Boyd, said the cost of the raises will total $165 million--$65 million more than Mr. Mabus has estimated.
"The state will have a tough time doing it in one year," he said.--tm