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Legislative Update

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

DELAWARE

Governor: Thomas R. Carper (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $1.36 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $461 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $438 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +5.2 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature passed a 2 percent salary increase for all public education employees.
  • Also approved a $3 million equalization measure to further combat school-funding inequities and a bill to require the state board to begin a study of special-education programs.

RHODE ISLAND

Governor: Bruce Sundlun (D)

FY 1994 state budget: $1.46 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $344 million
FY 1993 K-12 budget: $250 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +38 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature passed a bill giving the education department authority to develop a school-aid formula that would reduce disparities in per-pupil funding.
  • Also approved a bill to create "child opportunity zones'' for delivering coordinated social services at or near public school sites, as well as early-childhood legislation to provide technical assistance and seed grants to districts with programs to encourage parental involvement and to assist disadvantaged preschoolers.

WISCONSIN

Governor: Tommy G. Thompson (R)

FY 1994-95 biennial state budget: $15.2 billion
FY 1994-95 biennial K-12 budget: $4.43 billion
FY 1993-94 biennial K-12 budget: $3.96 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +11.9 percent

Highlights:

  • Lawmakers rejected Governor's proposal to freeze property taxes, deciding instead to place cost controls on school districts. Under the plan approved by the legislature, districts cannot increase spending by more than $190 per pupil this year. Annual raises for teachers and other school personnel will be held to 2.1 percent.
  • Legislature authorized establishing up to 20 charter schools operating free from most state education rules.
  • Also expanded the state's school-to-work initiatives and provided for the creation of a Council on Workforce Excellence.

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