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Legislative Update

The following are summaries of governors' budget requests for precollegiate education and highlights of proposals on the states' education agendas.

ARIZONA

Governor: Fife Symington (R)

FY 1996 proposed state budget: $4.53 billion
FY 1996 proposed K-12 budget: $1.74 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.66 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +4.8

Highlights:

  • Governor's proposed budget would give the education department the largest increase of any state agency, anticipating a 3.4 percent growth in enrollment.
  • Governor's proposal would also boost per-student funding for gifted-education programs from $41 to $55.
  • Extended-year program for special-education students would be expanded to allow the participation of all districts thought to be eligible in fiscal 1996.

IOWA

Governor: Terry E. Branstad (R)

FY 1996 proposed state budget: $3.8 billion
FY 1996 proposed K-12 budget: $1.32 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.27 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +4.5 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor's budget proposes a 3 percent increase in general state aid and an additional $15 million for the the first year of a new school-improvement program focused on educational technology.
  • Governor proposed welfare reforms that would allow teenage parents on welfare to work without losing benefits, but would require them to attend parenting classes or work toward a high school diploma.

MISSISSIPPI

Governor: Kirk Fordice (R)

FY 1996 proposed state budget: $2.614 billion
FY 1996 proposed K-12 budget: $1.066 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.535 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: -31 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget recommendation is comparable to Governor's proposal last year; higher appropriation for fiscal 1995 reflects increased revenue projections and includes funds for technology and other one-time capital expenditures.
  • Governor has proposed charter-school legislation that would allow creation of autonomous public schools that would receive waivers from state regulations in exchange for heightened accountability. The schools would receive regular per-pupil aid but would not get any additional start-up money.
  • Governor has also proposed a tuition-assistance program for low- to middle-income students attending public or private colleges in Mississippi. Awards would be based on financial need, academic performance, and student behavior. Families with one child that are earning less than $40,000 a year would be eligible; the income ceiling would rise $5,000 for each additional child.
  • Governor is still pushing to institute a system of appointed local superintendents and elected school boards.

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