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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.

Kentucky

Governor: Brereton C. Jones (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $4.98 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $2.26 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $2.14 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +5.3 percent

Highlights:

  • The two-year budget will increase K-12 funding by 4 percent more in fiscal 1996, to $2.35 billion.
  • Lawmakers met education department requests for assessment, professional development, administrator evaluation, and regional service centers. Other areas of the 1990 education-reform act were funded at lower levels.
  • Education technology won $40 million over two years.

Massachusetts

Governor: William F. Weld (R)

FY 1995 state budget: $16.3 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $2.06 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.84 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +12 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget increases funding for 1993 education reforms, such as the state's "foundation aid" formula, charter schools, and a statewide public-school-choice program.
  • Legislature killed a bill that would have allowed charter schools to open this fall instead of in 1995.
  • Legislature barely sustained Governor Weld's veto of a welfare-overhaul plan that the Governor said did not go far enough.

New Jersey

Governor: Christine Todd Whitman (R)

FY 1995 state budget: $15.2 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $4.03 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $4.05 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: -0.05 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget shifts $28.5 million from wealthier to poor districts.
  • Also cuts state income taxes as much as 10 percent, and requires teachers and other state employees to pay a greater share of their pension contributions.
  • New law requires schools to teach about the Holocaust and genocide.
  • Legislature eliminated the state department of higher education.

North Carolina

Governor: James B. Hunt Jr. (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $10.2 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $3.96 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $3.63 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +9.1 percent

Highlights:

  • The legislature approved raises of 5 percent to 7 percent for teachers and 5 percent to 9.6 percent for other school staff members.
  • Funding was approved for a teacher training academy proposed by the Governor.
  • $42 million was appropriated for new computers and technology, and $35.7 million was provided for new school buses, textbooks, and instructional supplies.

Vermont

Governor: Howard Dean (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $684 million
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $194.7 million
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $193.5 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +0.62 percent

Highlights:

  • A plan that would have overhauled the state's system for financing education died when the legislature adjourned without reaching a consensus. The Senate had proposed alleviating funding disparities through a system of regional property taxes, while the House measure, which was backed by the Governor, would have ended locally based property-tax financing for schools altogether.
  • Other provisions of the bill, which lawmakers expect to revisit next year, would have mandated the development of state standards for schools, students, and educators; the creation of a charter-school program and a public-school-choice plan; and increased collaboration between education and human-services agencies.

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