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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.

ILLINOIS

Governor: Jim Edgar (R)

FY 1995 state budget: $15.5 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $4.78 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $4.41 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +8.4 percent

Highlights

  • The budget added nearly $8 million in funding for staff development, while nearly doubling the state's teacher-certification fund.
  • The legislature appropriated $5 million to launch a school-technology initiative and $2.4 million to expand tech-prep and student apprenticeship programs.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Governor: Stephen Merrill (R)

FY 1995 state budget: $938.8 million
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $47.4 million
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $57.4 million

Percent change K-12 budget: -21 percent

Highlights

  • The state education budget was essentially level-funded; the decrease resulted from a one-time, $10 million addition in fiscal 1994.
  • The Governor vetoed a measure that would have fully funded the state's school-finance formula for the first time since its enactment nine years ago. The Governor argued that there was no money to pay for the increases, and that the state would be forced to cut other aid to cities and towns.
  • A legislative task force was established to study the adequacy, equity, and efficiency of the education-funding system, which a state court has declared unconstitutional. The task force will consider alternative funding mechanisms, including statewide taxes; the relationship between the state and districts; and funding mechanisms for public kindergarten.

OKLAHOMA

Governor: David Walters (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $5.1 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.41 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.36 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +3.7 percent

Highlights

  • The legislature appropriated the fifth and final year of funding for the education-reform law known as House Bill 1017.
  • The legislature passed a bill that puts some limits on state payments to districts for gifted and talented students, creates local advisory panels on gifted education, and gives the state education agency responsibility for auditing districts' identification processes.
  • Under the new Community Youth Development Act, a state commission will contract with providers to deliver in-school and school-related programs to children and families living in at-risk districts and communities. The services are to include child-development, delinquency-prevention, and early-intervention programs.
  • Under another new law, local school districts may use funds derived from a building-fund levy for such purposes as purchasing equipment and computer software, paying utility costs, and installing security systems.

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