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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors' budgets for precollegiate education and highlights of proposals that rank high on the states' education agendas.

ALASKA

Governor: Walter J. Hickel (I)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $2.4 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $652 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $636 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +2.5 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor proposed several ideas stemming from recommendations of Alaska 2000 panel, including an increase in the school year from 180 days to 200 days by 2000, with the addition of three days in 1994.
  • Three-year pilot program of charter schools proposed.
  • Governor introduced legislation that would allocate $500 million over four years for new school construction and rebuilding of existing facilities. Proposal calls for using earnings from the state's Permanent Fund.

ARKANSAS

Governor: Jim Guy Tucker (D)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $2.39 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $1.18 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.13 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.7 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor has proposed launching new early-childhood and K-3 initiative to improve school readiness and increase parental involvement.
  • Governor has recommended developing comprehensive competency and outcome-based assessments to evaluate student performance.
  • Also calling on school districts to provide mandatory safety training for all employees, and recommending requiring districts to absorb a portion of worker-compensation claims.

IDAHO

Governor: Cecil D. Andrus (D)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $1.08 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $549 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $497 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +10.5 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor urging eliminating sales-tax exemptions on certain goods and services and restructuring other taxes to add $57.7 million in revenues.
  • Proposed K-12 budget is $52 million higher than in fiscal 1992, and includes $18 million to increase teacher salaries and retirement benefits, $5 million for pilot education-reform projects, and $13.3 million to place counselors in every elementary school and to establish gifted-and-talented programs in all districts.
  • Governor has recommended that parents delinquent in paying child-support obligations be prohibited from obtaining a driver's license or hunting and fishing privileges.

LOUISIANA

Governor: Edwin W. Edwards (D)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $4.21 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $1.80 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.77 billion
Percentage change K-12 budget: +1.5 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor has included $32 million for second-year funding of a program to revamp the state's basic school-aid funding formula, which has yet to pass the legislature. The plan would provide more money to poor school districts.
  • Spending plan includes no money for a redesigned teacher-evaluation program, but the Governor has pledged to fund it next year. The program, which is being field-tested now, is scheduled for full implementation in the 1994-95 school year.
  • Also calls for $3 million for the Tuition Assistance Program, which helps low-income high school graduates who meet certain academic requirements finance higher education. But budget provides no money for program to provide tuition assistance to students in the top 5 percent of each high school graduating class who attend in-state institutions.

MARYLAND

Governor: William Donald Schaefer (D)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $6.5 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $2.27 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $2.05 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +11 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor proposed full funding of the Maryland Tomorrow program to extend dropout-prevention efforts to the middle school level.
  • Also seeking $6 million for pre-K teacher training and services, $500 per limited-English-proficient student for language instruction, and $1.6 million transportation cut.

NEW JERSEY

Governor: James J. Florio (D)

FY 1994 proposed state budget: $15.6 billion
FY 1994 proposed K-12 budget: $5.0 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $4.8 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget compromise provides state-aid increases for poor and middle-income districts and holds harmless wealthier districts.
  • Legislative agreement also calls for creation of a bipartisan commission to address long-term school-finance formula.
  • Legislature has approved $250 million low-interest revolving-loan program for school construction and renovation.

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