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Legislative Update

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

ALABAMA

Governor: James E. Folsom Jr. (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $10.37 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.92 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.78 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +7.9 percent

Highlights

  • Figure for total state budget includes earmarked funds that the state does not break down by source. The monies include federal and local funds as well as state revenues.
  • Legislature passed a 6.5 percent increase in teacher pay to begin Oct. 1.
  • A state judge has given top officials until Oct. 1 to propose reforms of the state school system, which the judge ruled in March was unconstitutionally inadequate and inequitable.

ALASKA

Governor: Walter J. Hickel (I)

FY 1994 state budget: $2.36 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $652.6 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $633.5 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +3 percent

Highlights

  • Governor signed bills setting aside $172 million in funding for school-construction and maintenance grants, with districts required to provide a share of a project's cost within three years of an appropriation.
  • Legislature killed or did not act on proposals for adding days to the school year and for establishing a three-year pilot program of charter schools.

COLORADO

Governor: Roy Romer (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $3.35 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.3 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.19 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +9.2 percent

Highlights

  • Governor signed bill creating new educational standards and assessments system. Under the measure, a state council will recommend content standards by 1994 and each district will be required to establish content guidelines and new assessments for most curriculum areas.
  • Also signed bill allowing for the establishment of 50 charter schools statewide.
  • Legislature passed school-finance plan that increases funds but fails to keep pace with enrollment growth, thus requiring budget cuts at the district level.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor: Carroll A. Campbell Jr. (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $3.79 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.21 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.17 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +3.4 percent

Highlights

  • Legislature approved a measure shifting $95 million in existing educational-improvement funds toward early-childhood-development and academic-achievement programs, including a statewide parenting program for preschool children and their parents. The bill authorizes grants to districts to develop innovative parenting programs.
  • Citing a projected reduction in education revenue from state sales taxes, lawmakers approved a budget that provides for increasing teachers' salaries by only the required 2 percent.
  • The budget bill also includes a provision directing the state education department, business groups, and school boards to develop a strategic plan by 1995 to meet the national education goals.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Governor: Walter D. Miller (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $574.3 million
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $158.5 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $153.9 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +2.9 percent

Highlights

  • Legislature passed proposal by the late Gov. George S. Mickelson to increase payments to school districts that graduate "second chance'' dropout students from the existing $1,000 ceiling to a maximum of 125 percent of the state average cost per secondary pupil.
  • Lawmakers also approved bill to allow the secretary of education to issue waivers of state rules to schools.

TENNESSEE

Governor: Ned McWherter (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $11.2 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.73 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.55 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +11.6 percent

Highlights

  • Governor signed legislation making the state's half-cent sales-tax increase permanent and earmarking all revenue for K-12 education.
  • Also signed measure authorizing adjustments in state-aid formula for districts with rapid enrollment growth.
  • State supreme court ruled in March that state's previous school-finance system, amended by the legislature last year, was unconstitutionally inequitable.


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