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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors' budget requests for pre-collegiate education and high-lights of proposals on the states' education agendas.

CONNECTICUT

Governor: John G. Rowland (R) FY 1996 proposed state budget: $8.48 billion FY 1996 proposed K-12 budget: $1.36 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.34 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +1.4 percent

Highlights:

Governor is proposing to free districts from mandates in special education and bilingual education, and to remove issues related to pensions and health insurance from the purview of collective-bargaining agreements for teachers and other school employees.
A bill before the legislature would allow school districts that have been petitioned by at least 2.5 percent of registered voters to establish school-choice programs for low-income children.
Budget includes about $45 million for voluntary magnet schools that could be created under regional desegregation plans.

INDIANA

Governor: Evan Bayh (D) FY 1996 proposed state budget: $7.15 billion FY 1996 proposed K-12 budget: $2.38 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $2.29 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +4 percent

Highlights:

Figures are for the first year of a biennial budget. Governor proposes spending $100 million over two years to administer a new testing program.
Governor also proposes spending $20 million for technology grants.
An additional $1 million is being requested to establish a "safe-school fund."

LOUISIANA

Governor: Edwin W. Edwards (D) FY 1996 proposed state budget: $4.83 billion FY 1996 proposed K-12 budget: $1.87 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.83 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.2 percent

Highlights:

Governor is proposing a 5 percent pay raise for all school employees, contingent upon expected revenues from a casino scheduled to open in May.
Lawmakers are expected to consider legislation to create a pilot charter-school program.
Proposed budget figures assume that negotiations with the federal government will alleviate a potential $750 million shortfall in the state Medicaid program.

OREGON

Governor: John Kitzhaber (R) FY 1996-97 proposed biennial state budget: $6.85 billion FY 1996-97 proposed biennial K-12 budget: $3.45 billion FY 1994-95 biennial K-12 budget: $2.56 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +34.7 percent

Highlights:

The apparent rise in K-12 spending is due to Measure 5, the 1990 property-tax-limitation measure passed by Oregon voters, which transfers more school-funding responsibility to the state. School district budgets are estimated to drop by about 2 percent over all.
Governor proposed a constitutional amendment clarifying that lottery money can be appropriated for K-12 education spending. The proposed fiscal 1996-97 budget assumes $454 million in lottery funds.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor: David M. Beasley (R) FY 1996 proposed state budget: $4.1 billion FY 1996 proposed K-12 budget: $1.54 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.50 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.6 percent

Highlights:

Governor requested a 5 percent cut in state programs and services to finance a property-tax-relief plan.
Legislature is considering bills that would transfer $32 million in school-reform money to finance a 4.7 percent increase in teacher salaries.
Legislature also considering a measure that would transfer $30 million in sales taxes earmarked for school-improvement projects to help pay for a $200 million property-tax rebate.

TEXAS

Governor: George W. Bush (R) FY 1996-97 proposed biennial state budget: $44.15 billion FY 1996-97 proposed biennial K-12 budget: $17.08 billion FY 1994-95 biennial K-12 budget: $15.16 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +12.6 percent

Highlights:

The budget proposal was generated by the state's Legislative Budget Board before Governor Bush took office. The Governor has not made budget recommendations for the next biennium.
The K-12 budget figures exclude about $1.5 billion that the state plans to spend over the next two years on teacher-pension contributions.
Governor has pushed for school reforms that would provide more autonomy to districts, and is supporting a major reform plan recently passed by the Texas Senate.

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