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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final action by legislatures on state education budgets and other education-related matters.

NEW MEXICO

Governor: Gary E. Johnson (R)

FY 1996 state budget: $2.77 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.30 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.22 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +6.6 percent

Highlights:

Legislature killed Governor's proposal to establish criminal-background checks and licensure fees for candidates seeking teaching certification from the state board of education.
Budget provides a pay hike for all public school employees, including teachers, which budget officials estimate at 4.5 percent to 5 percent.
Governor signed into law a measure that calls for creation of a state lottery, whose proceeds are earmarked for school construction and postsecondary tuition assistance.
Another new law will overhaul the state's public-transportation funding system, altering the funding formula and also giving local school boards more control over bus operations and contracts.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Governor: William J. Janklow (R)

FY 1996 state budget: $596.3 million FY 1996 K-12 budget: $185.5 million FY 1995 K-12 budget: $184.9 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +0.3 percent

Highlights:

Legislature approved legislation increasing sales taxes, reducing state government expenditures, and increasing the state's share of the take from its video lottery, in order to target $80 million of the 1996 budget toward property-tax relief.
Starting in fiscal 1996, the education budget no longer includes funding for services to children declared wards of the state; the aid will be provided instead in the social-services budget. In 1995, $5 million of the education budget was earmarked for those services, and so the increase granted for education spending in 1996 is greater than it appears.
Legislature placed a 3 percent cap on local-spending increases and set in motion an overhaul of the state's school-funding formula, which is to be fully implemented in 1997.

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