News in Brief
California lawmakers last week turned back a $29-million emergency aid package for the nearly bankrupt Richmond school district, forcing the Contra Costa County government and the state department of education to step in to keep the district afloat.
A party-line vote in the Assembly fell three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to approve the bailout, edging the district to within weeks of bankruptcy, according to Joe Holsinger, deputy state superintendent for governmental policy.
Gov. Pete Wilson has refused to back any bailout that would not scrap the district's collective-bargaining agreements if it cannot come up with an acceptable recovery plan by April 30. (See Education4Week, Feb. 20, 1991.)
The county advanced $4.4 million in projected property taxes and the state forwarded the district its $6-million aid allotment for March to ward off bankruptcy, said the district's associate superintendent, Santiago Wood. The money, he said, should last until the end of the month.
The Assembly will try to pass an amended package this week, Mr. Holsinger said.
The Wyoming House last week approved a bill that restores funding for a proposed new trust fund for education, after the measure had its first-year appropriation gutted in committee.
The bill, backed by Gov. Mike Sullivan, set out to create an education trust fund from which half the interest would support "innovative programs," early-childhood education, and administrator training in the public schools. The other half would fund specific college-level projects.
The House Appropriations Committee eliminated the original $12.5-million first-year appropriation for the fund, but $10 million of that was restored on the House floor.
Also changed on the floor was the means by which the balance of the bill's five-year funding would be generated. Originally, revenues from the state's oil and other mineral resources were to be used over three years to build the fund to $50 million.
Concerned about oil-price instability, however, House members decided to appropriate $10 million each year for five years from general revenues until the fund reaches $50 million.
J. Fife Symington 3rd, a Republican, was elected governor of Arizona last week.
Mr. Symington, 45, garnered 52 percent of the vote to beat his Democratic opponent, Terry Goddard.
Mr. Symington had finished ahead of Mr. Goddard in the November election, but failed to win a majority. As a result, state law forced last week's run-off election.