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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.

CONNECTICUT

Governor: Lowell P. Weicker Jr. (I)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $8.6 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $1.27 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.22 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.1 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor proposed $240 million cut in education spending from level requested by state board of education. About $10 million in aid to neediest school districts would be cut and close to $7 million in transportation aid would be eliminated.
  • Budget plan includes $775,000 to establish six regional-planning boards to explore ways to integrate the state's schools. By January 1995, the state is expected to allocate up to $85 million a year to build regional schools and transport students across town lines.
  • Governor also shifting $57 million to children's-aid fund, which includes health coverage for children under age 5 who are from poor families but are not eligible for Medicaid.

MAINE

Governor: John R. McKernan Jr. (R)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $3.6 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $487 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $514.6 million
Percent change K-12 budget: -5.3 percent

Highlights:

  • Although Governor initially proposed spending more than $630 million on general-purpose aid to education, he later reduced the figure to $487 million, marking a return to 1991 funding levels. An additional $30 million in aid would be cut in the second year of the two-year budget cycle.
  • Under Governor's reduction proposal, state would cap schools' administrative spending and set threshold student-teacher ratios.

MASSACHUSETTS

Governor: William F. Weld (R)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $15.1 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $1.47 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.63 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: -9.6 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor's budget proposal withholds $361 million in state aid pending the passage of a reform bill.
  • House has passed a reform measure, but it is expected to get bogged down in the Senate.
  • Budget also calls for major expansion of voucher program that allows school choice.


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