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Legislative Update

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

ILLINOIS

Governor: Jim Edgar (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $14.3 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $3.18 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $3.04 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.4 percent

Highlights

  • Budget approved by legislature includes about $91 million for the financially strapped Chicago schools, but lawmakers resisted efforts to do more to close the district's $415 million shortfall.
  • Legislature adopted sales- and income-tax credits for businesses that offer vocational training to youths.
  • Lawmakers appropriated $5 million for school-improvement services under the state accountability program.

LOUISIANA

Governor: Edwin W. Edwards (D)

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

Highlights

  • Legislature approved $32 million for second-year funding of a program to revamp the state's school-aid formula by providing more money to school districts with low levels of property wealth.
  • Included $1.8 million for a redesigned teacher-evaluation program, to be used for pilots and field-testing.
  • Also approved $3 million for a tuition-assistance program that helps high-achieving, low-income high school graduates pay for further education, but did not include money for a program to provide tuition aid to graduates in the top 5 percent of the class who attend in-state institutions.

MASSACHUSETTS

Governor: William F. Weld (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $15.46 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.70 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $1.63 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.3 percent

Highlights

  • Legislature adopted a long-awaited education-reform bill that will add increasing amounts of money for state aid until school districts are able to reach foundation-budget levels of about $5,500 per child by 2000.
  • Reform legislation also expands public school choice; permits the opening of charter schools funded with public money but operating largely free of state rules; puts more power in the hands of principals; removes school boards from making most personnel decisions; trims teachers' seniority rights; and establishes a statewide core curriculum, expected student outcomes, and a tougher assessment system.

NEVADA

Governor: Bob Miller (D)

FY 1994-95 biennial state budget: $2.1 billion
FY 1994-95 biennial K-12 budget: $846 million
FY 1992-93 biennial K-12 budget: $766 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +10.4 percent

Highlights

  • Legislature rejected Governor's proposal of a major reorganization of state government, under which the education department would have been merged with the human-resources department.
  • Passed, but did not fund, a measure tightening requirements for accountability of school districts to the state board, such as in student achievement and pupil-teacher ratios.
  • Also approved measures prohibiting corporal punishment in schools, except in self-defense, and requiring the state board to establish a pilot program for site-based management.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Governor: Stephen Merrill (R)

FY 1994 state budget: $899.7 million
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $93.2 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $82.9 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +12.4 percent

Highlights

  • Funding for 1994 includes an additional $10 million in foundation aid for districts to use as property-tax relief. The money was added on a one-time basis as part of a budget compromise.
  • Budget also includes $238,500 for development of a new statewide student-assessment program in grades 3, 6, and 10, which the state will use in place of the California Achievement Test.

NORTH CAROLINA

Governor: James B. Hunt Jr. (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $9.02 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $3.55 billion
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $3.30 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +7.6 percent

Highlights

  • Legislature passed a proposal to provide an additional $9 million to low-wealth schools and $4 million to small schools to purchase textbooks and hire more staff members.
  • Lawmakers approved a 3 percent salary increase for teachers and a 2 percent salary hike for all other public school employees.

Also enacted measure revoking tenure for principals hired beginning in 1995.

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