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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.


Governor: Joan Finney (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $3.35 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.545 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.655 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +7.1 percent


  • Legislature approved a pilot program that will allow as many as 15 state-regulated charter schools to open across the state.
  • State will pay 90 percent of the share of districts' costs for special-education students that exceed regular per-pupil expenditures, up from 82 percent.


Governor: Ned McWherter (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $12.570 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.834 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.759 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.3 percent


  • Budget figures do not include a 4 percent raise for state employees, including teachers, that was contingent on sufficient state revenues. The raise brings the average teacher salary to just over $32,000.
  • Since the 21st Century Schools program was adopted in 1992, education funding has risen from 52 percent to 55 percent of the state's general-fund expenditures, for a total increase of $560 million.
  • Under a new law, judges may fine parents or guardians $50 or require them to perform five hours of community service when children in kindergarten through 6th grade miss five or more school days without an excuse.
  • Legislature also enacted a law requiring parents teaching high-school-age children at home to have a high school diploma or equivalency diploma. The children must take achievement tests.
  • Another new law bars students from carrying weapons to school.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 1995, gubernatorial appointments to the state school board must alternate between female and male members until the proportion on the 12-member board matches that of the general population. The new law also applies to the state's Board of Regents, Board of Trust, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

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