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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final action by legislatures on education-related matters.

MISSISSIPPI

Governor: Ray Mabus (D)

FY 1991 state budget: $2.06 billion
FY 1991 K-12 budget: $903.4 million
FY 1990 K-12 budget: $881.2 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +2.5 percent

Highlights:

Lawmakers approved $182-million reform bill, but no funding for it. A special session will be held beginning June 18 to consider funding.

Key elements of the legislation include Lighthouse Schools Program, which would provide financial incentives and regulatory waivers for schools whose students show improved achievement; Impairment and Conservatorship Program, under which schools that failed to meet standards would be required to submit a plan to correct their faults; test of ungraded classes for students in grades 1 to 3; and provisions to make local decisionmaking in schools easier.

Measure also calls for promotion of increased parental involvement in schools, through an "Alliance for Families" program; developmental screening for 3- and 4-year-olds; adult-literacy programs; and a ban on driver's licenses for students who quit school before age 18.

Legislation would allow teachers to participate in state health-insurance plan.

NEBRASKA

Governor: Kay A. Orr (R)

FY 1991 state budget: $1.39 billion
FY 1991 K-12 budget: $433.98 million
FY 1990 K-12 budget: $245.46 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +77 percent

Highlights:

Legislature overrode Governor's veto to enact major revision in school-funding formula, increasing share of school operating expenses paid by state to 45 percent from 23 percent.

New law put ceilings of from 4 percent to 6.5 percent on allowable annual growth of school districts' general funds, in order to limit property-tax increases.

Also raised state sales to 5 cents from 4 cents and increased individual and corporate income taxes by 17.5 percent, generating $211 million in new state aid to schools.

State aid for special education increased by 10 percent, to $76.3 million.

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