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Legislative Update

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

CALIFORNIA

Governor: Pete Wilson (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $38.5 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $14.3 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $16.1 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: -11.2 percent

Highlights:

  • Decline in state funding for K-12 education was offset by a rise in local property taxes shifted to the state.
  • Overall K-12 funding from local, state, and federal sources will rise from $27.7 billion in fiscal 1993 to $28.3 billion in fiscal 1994.
  • Per-pupil aid to school districts is expected to decline slightly, from $4,209 in 1992-93 to $4,187 in 1993-94.

INDIANA

Governor: Evan Bayh (D)

FY 1994-95 state budget: $15.95 billion
FY 1994-95 K-12 budget: $5.55 billion
FY 1992-93 K-12 budget: $5.25 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +5.5 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget increases basic school aid by 3.3 percent in calendar years 1994 and 1995.
    8 Includes revision in school-funding formula, to be phased in over six years, aimed at equalizing tax rates and school spending across districts.
  • Delays until the 1995-96 school year implementation of a revamped statewide testing program approved in 1992 that will focus on assessing students' application of skills and problem-solving abilities.

MAINE

Governor: John R. McKernan Jr. (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $1.6 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $519.8 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $516.2 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +0.7 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature placed a 5 percent cap on any increase in the annual recommended funding level for state subsidy to local schools.
  • Lawmakers also set aside $3.9 million in incentives for schools with school-to-work, youth-apprenticeship, and new technology programs.
  • A task force created by the state board of education is working to develop long-range educational goals and set standards for school and student performance.

MINNESOTA

Governor: Arne H. Carlson (R)

FY 1994-95 state budget: $16.5 billion
FY 1994-95 K-12 budget: $5.2 billion
FY 1993-94 K-12 budget: $4.4 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +18.2 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget includes increased funding to reduce class sizes, with a goal of one teacher for every 17 students in grades K-6.
  • As part of a move to a more equitable school-finance system, steps were taken to reduce the amount of funds school districts can raise through local levy referendums. The referendums will be prohibited altogether by 1997.
  • Per-pupil funds to districts were also redistributed to promote equity.
  • Legislature added $10 million for effort to move to an outcomes-based education system and reduced the number of mandates on schools.
  • Also increased the limit on the number of charter schools from eight to 20 and created three "change oriented'' districts that, like charter schools, would be allowed to operate free from most state mandates.

OHIO

Governor: George V. Voinovich (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $14.9 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $3.81 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $3.64 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.7 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature increased state equity fund, a program aimed at increasing state support for poor school districts, from $43 million in fiscal 1993 to $60 million in 1994 and $75 million in 1995.
  • Budget includes increased funding for state Head Start and local building-assistance programs and creates a model school-improvement program that will distribute $8.7 million to individual schools based on their improvement plans.

OKLAHOMA

Governor: David Walters (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $4.58 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.36 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.28 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +6.3 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature was able to fully fund the fourth year of a five-year education- and tax-reform package passed in 1990, despite overly optimistic projections made previously about the amount of revenue the law's tax provisions would generate. Legislators approved a dip into the cash-flow reserve fund for $27.6 million, a transfer of $9 million from the state tax commission, and a 10 percent budget cut for state agencies, boards, and commissions.
  • Lawmakers also approved and put on the ballot for next February a measure that would keep regular school millages in effect without annual elections by local voters. The proposal would give local school boards authority over millage assessments.

PENNSYLVANIA

Governor: Robert P. Casey (D)

FY 1994-95 state budget: $15 billion
FY 1994-95 K-12 budget: $5.1 billion
FY 1993-94 K-12 budget: $4.9 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4 percent

Highlights:

  • Poorer school districts received a $130 million increase in state aid, while aid remained frozen for other districts.
  • Legislature released additional funding for special education and, against the Governor's recommendation, agreed to continue funding private schools that serve special-education students.
  • Governor and legislative panel approved, and state board of education accepted, changes in board's controversial proposal for an outcomes-based education system.

VERMONT

Governor: Howard Dean (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $657.7 million
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $209.4 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $212.5 million
Percent change K-12 budget: -1.5 percent

Highlights:

  • K-12 budget cut as part of effort to reduce projected deficit of $26.7 million in general fund.
  • All education-policy bills, including proposals for a statewide property tax and teacher contract, reduction in the number of school districts, and mainstreaming of special-education students, tabled until second half of legislative session next January. Two legislative committees and one independent accounting staff set up to work on property-tax-reform proposals. co skg

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor: Gaston Caperton (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $2.1 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.19 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.18 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +0.8 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor signed bill giving all K-12 teachers planning time during instructional day.
  • Measure also strengthens school boards' duty to communicate with local school-improvement councils and faculty senates.
  • Lawmakers also approved a bill requiring teacher reductions based solely on seniority, which overturned court ruling calling for staff reductions based on both qualifications and seniority.
  • $3 million in state lottery funds approved for expansion of computer-basic-skills program to the 3rd and 4th grades.

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