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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors' budget requests for precollegiate education and final action by legislatures on education-related matters.

IDAHO

Governor: Cecil D. Andrus (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $1.264 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $620.5 million
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $528 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +17.5 percent

Highlights

  • Although fiscal 1995 K-12 appropriation approved by legislature is $15 million less than the Governor requested, the $92.5 million hike in school spending, made possible by Idaho's booming economy, was the largest percentage increase in the state's history.
  • In an effort to make distribution of state funds more equitable and avert a pending school-finance lawsuit by about 40 of the state's 113 districts, legislature approved new aid-distribution formula that would generally benefit lower-paying districts with fewer employees. Consequently, about half of the plaintiff districts dropped out of the lawsuit.
  • Governor vetoed property-tax-reduction bill that would have eliminated local property taxes as a source of school funding over a two-year period.
  • Governor also vetoed measure that would have limited districts' ability to sue the state for school-finance inequities.
  • Legislature appointed 15-member citizens' panel to oversee development of a statewide educational-technology plan and to distribute grants to school districts developing local plans.

IOWA

Governor: Terry E. Branstad (R)

FY 1995 state budget: $3.64 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.27 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.23 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +3.3 percent

  • Legislature enacted a law creating a system to help districts share information on students who have been suspended or expelled or have assaulted school employees.
  • Budget includes $1 million to pay for innovative programs through the New Iowa Schools Development Corporation.
  • A new program will provide demonstration grants for youth-based school-service initiatives.

INDIANA

Governor: Evan Bayh (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $6.69 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $2.59 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $2.54 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +2 percent

Highlights

  • Tight budget year forced lawmakers to scramble to find funding to hold school spending steady.
  • This year begins six-year period in which state will phase in a new school funding formula that attempts to equalize school aid based on local tax effort.

MISSISSIPPI

Governor: Kirk Fordice (R)

FY 1995 state budget: $2.549 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.535 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $953 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +60 percent

Highlights

  • Fiscal 1995 appropriations provided raises for teachers and fully funded health insurance for teachers and other school employees.
  • Legislature approved $36.9 million to expand a tech-prep vocational program and $37.8 million to purchase computer hardware and software for schools. Funds will be derived from the state's general fund and a separate education-enhancement fund, and are not included in the regular K-12 budget.
  • Legislature approved $10.1 million in enhancement funds and $9 million in bonding authority to construct new facilities and enhance existing facilities at state's school for blind and deaf.
  • Budget includes two anti-violence initiatives: $2.7 million for a new Youth Challenge National Guard program and $1.2 million for wilderness and forestry rehabilitation camps for at-risk youths.
  • Legislature approved bill requiring state education department to calculate impact of proposed revisions in state's school-funding formula that are designed to create greater per-pupil funding equity across districts.
  • A new law will require all classrooms in the state's 149 districts to be air-conditioned by June 1995.

PENNSYLVANIA

Governor: Robert P. Casey (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $15.7 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $5.6 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget $5.4 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +3.5 percent

Highlights

  • Poorer school districts will receive additional $123.2 million in state aid, guaranteeing that each district will have a minimum per-pupil foundation budget of $4,700.
  • For first time in two years, all districts will receive some additional state aid.
  • Budget also provides a $33.9 million boost to special-education programs and a $21.3 million increase for early-intervention programs.

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