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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors' budget requests for precollegiate education and highlights of proposals that rank high on the states' education agendas. Final legislative action on state budgets will be reported in the months ahead.


CONNECTICUT

Governor: William A. O'Neill (D)

FY 1991 proposed state budget: $6.6 billion
FY 1991 proposed K-12 budget: $1.28 billion
FY 1990 K-12 budget: $1.24 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +3.2 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor's budget seeks smallest increase in 15 years and reduction of 2,000 employees from state payroll.
  • Also requesting $5 million in new spending for services to children, including aid for drug-related child abuse and neglect, and $5.6 million for alcohol- and drug-abuse treatment services.
  • Legislature expected to consider changes in binding-arbitration law.

DELAWARE

Governor: Michael N. Castle (R)

FY 1991 proposed state budget: $1.2 billion
FY 1991 proposed K-12 budget: $404 million
FY 1990 K-12 budget: $378 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +6.9 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor seeking pilot program for full-day kindergarten in 16 schools; also seeking $94,000 to test year-round school program for at-risk students.
  • Budget includes $2.8 million to fully implement funding-equalization formula adopted last year, and $4.8 million for contingency fund to cover expected enrollment increase.

MAINE

Governor: John R. McKernan Jr. (R)

FY 1990-91 state budget: $3.2 billion
FY 1990-91 K-12 budget: $1.01 billion
Proposed change K-12 budget: -$10 million
Percent change K-12 budget: -1 percent

Highlights:

  • To compensate for $210-million state revenue shortfall, Governor's revised budget for 1991 calls for spending cuts of $146.3 million and $63.7 million in additional revenues.
  • Governor also has proposed holding the increase in general-purpose aid for local education to 10 percent annually.

PENNSYLVANIA

Governor: Robert P. Casey (D)

FY 1991 proposed state budget: $12.3 billion
FY 1991 proposed K-12 budget: $4.6 billion
FY 1990 K-12 budget: $4.42 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.1 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget includes $2.7 billion for direct aid to districts--an $84-million increase over the current year.
  • To resolve a prolonged funding crisis in special-education programs, Governor proposing changes in the way such services are funded, by giving responsibility for controlling those costs to local school boards and funding the programs on a reimbursement basis.
  • Budget also includes a special $380-million allocation for special education to ease the transition to a new funding system.
  • Governor also seeks to increase minimum teacher salaries from $18,500 to $21,000, with state making up the difference to districts that provide such raises.

TENNESSEE

Governor: Ned McWherter (D)

FY 1991 proposed state budget: $8.5 billion
FY 1991 proposed K-12 budget: $1.44 billion
FY 1990 K-12 budget: $1.38 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.4 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget includes $42.6 million for 4 percent salary increase for teachers.
  • Budget plan also provides $109 million for career-ladder program.
  • Also contains $2.2 million for education-reform pilot projects, including class-size reductions in 55 counties, long-distance learning centers, and additional help for at-risk students.

WISCONSIN

Governor: Tommy G. Thompson (R)

FY 1990-91 state budget: $22.3 billion
FY 1990-91 K-12 budget: $3.4 billion
Proposed change K-12 budget: +$33 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +1 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget calls for $33 million in new aid for replacing or repairing aging school buildings.
  • Governor has appointed 79-member commission to study state's public schools.
  • In State of the State Address, Governor called for computerized reading and writing programs in every 1st- and 2nd-grade classroom in the state.
  • In his speech, Governor did not renew his past call for school-choice program, one part of which would have allowed elementary students in Milwaukee County to use state money to attend any public or nonsectarian private school in the county.

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