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Legislative Updates

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

FLORIDA

Governor: Lawton Chiles (D)

FY 1993 state budget: $31.8 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $5.1 billion
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $4.9 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.2 percent

Highlights:

Budget adds $206 million for public schools, more than initial budget that Governor vetoed but less than the $650-million increase he had sought.

  • Most of the additional funds will be used for rehiring teachers and buying materials rather than to support prekindergarten and dropout-prevention programs proposed by Governor.

HAWAII

Governor: John Waihee 3rd (D)

FY 1992-1993 state budget: $7.4 billion
FY 1992-1993 K-12 budget: $1.3 billion

Highlights:

Legislature passed school-reform package aimed at transferring more authority from centralized state education system to individual schools. Measure requires the education department to develop a plan for schools to assume more control over their budgets, allows school-based management councils to participate in the hiring of school personnel, and encourages representatives in collective bargaining to work toward school-based decisionmaking. It also gives voters the option of switching from an elected to an appointed board of education and having the governor appoint the school superintendent, who is now hired by the board.

Appropriated $15 million in supplementary education spending in the second year of the biennium to accommodate enrollment increases and help pay for supplies, equipment, and computers.

Also appropriated $1.8 million to improve instructional services in elementary schools and $1.9 million for increased enrollment in state-subsidized after-school child-care program.

LOUISIANA

Governor: Edwin W. Edwards (D)

FY 1993 state budget: $4.41 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.88 billion
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $1.79 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.8 percent

Highlights:

Budget includes $1.77 billion to fund state's Minimum Foundation Program. Governor's proposal of $38 million in additional money--the first phase of a five-year plan--to equalize spending among districts survived, but legislature trimmed base per-pupil expenditure from $1,965 to $1,930.

Also includes $3 million as part of matching grant offered by the National Science Foundation program to fund mathematics and science equipment and an additional $3 million to establish a trust fund for such purposes, and $1.9 million to fund scholarships to state's top students to attend state colleges and universities.

Governor signed bill revamping teacher evaluations, under which local districts will be required to develop a program based on state guidelines by 1994-95.

Legislature did not pass bills to allow teachers to bargain collectively.

MISSISSIPPI

Governor: Kirk Fordice (R)

FY 1993 state budget: $1.992 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $907.5 million
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $922.2 million
Percent change K-12 budget: -1.6 percent

Highlights:

Legislature overrode Governor's veto of legislation raising the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.

The tax increase is expected to generate some $166 million for an Educational Enhancement Fund created to stabilize the state's education budget, which has been cut more than $60 million over the past two years.

NEW JERSEY

Governor: James J. Florio (D)

FY 1993 state budget: $14.6 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $4.47 billion
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $4.46 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +0.02 percent

Highlights:

Legislature did not approve a proposed constitutional amendment that would have eliminated the state's mandate to provide a "thorough and efficient'' education for K-12 students. The amendment also would have limited the amount of extra funding that could have gone to 30 poor, urban districts.

  • Also rejected a proposed constitutional amendment giving citizens the right to make laws through the initiative and referendum process.

Republican-majority legislature overrode veto of budget, which was $1 billion short of what Governor had requested.

Spending plan provides full funding for school districts under the Quality Education Act.

OKLAHOMA

Governor: David Walters (D)

FY 1993 state budget: $3.6 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.3 billion
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $1.2 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +8 percent

Highlights:

State voters in March passed a ballot initiative limiting the legislature's ability to raise taxes. Although measure was not expected to endanger funding for House Bill 1017, the $2-billion education-reform measure enacted in 1990, it could affect the generation of new revenue for state programs in the future.

Governor signed a bill doing away with the proposed high-school-graduation test that was to have gone into effect this year.

Legislature passed a measure injecting $1 billion over 25 years into the state's financially faltering teacher-retirement fund.

PENNSYLVANIA

Governor: Robert P. Casey (D)

FY 1993 state budget: $14.1 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $4.9 billion
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $4.9 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: Unchanged

Highlights:

Legislature passed bill limiting teachers' right to strike but mandating timetable for collective-bargaining negotiations.

Budget freezes K-12 education spending and authorizes special-education funding for only six months.

Fiscal plan does not include Governor's proposal to lower state and school-district contributions to teacher-pension fund.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor: Carroll A. Campbell Jr. (R)

FY 1993 state budget: $4 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.51 billion
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $1.48 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +2 percent

Highlights:

Budget provides funding for a 3.8 percent pay raise for teachers.

Legislators voted for a mandatory breakfast program for all school districts by the 1993-94 school year. Waivers are allowed to schools with insufficient facilities, equipment, or student participation.

Also allowed home schooling for members of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools whose instruction complies with the association's standards.

Established a program of counseling on postsecondary-education options for 8th-grade students and their parents.

VERMONT

Governor: Howard B. Dean (D)

FY 1993 state budget: $659.8 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $220.7 million
FY 1992 K-12 budget: $220.3 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +0.2 percent

Highlights:

Legislature passed bill authorizing the Vermont Crime Information Center to release limited information about the criminal records of prospective school employees, foster parents, and social- and rehabilitation-service employees.

Lawmakers also approved measure requiring businesses to give employees a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave at the birth of a child or during the illness of a family member.

State education department currently reviewing its fiscal-management policies after discovering that poor accounting practices had caused it to inadvertently overspend some $500,000 in state and federal employment and training funds for youth programs.

WASHINGTON STATE

Governor: Booth Gardner (D)

FY 1992-93 state budget: $15.4 billion
FY 1992-93 K-12 budget: $7 billion

Highlights:

Legislature enacted bill to "deregulate'' education by allowing schools and districts to apply for automatic exemptions from most state requirements.

Bill also creates state panel on student learning to determine what students should know and be able to do in order to receive a "certificate of mastery.''

To help eliminate a projected $746-million deficit, lawmakers took $160 million from "rainy day'' fund and cut $35 million from education programs, including slicing a scheduled 3.55 percent pay raise for teachers to 3 percent.

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