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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.

COLORADO

Governor: Roy Romer (D)

FY 1996 state budget: $8.55 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.6 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.5 billion

Percent increase K-12 budget: +6.7 percent

Highlights:

The legislature increased state aid to public schools by $121 million.
Lawmakers passed a measure requiring school districts to offer merit pay for teachers.
A measure that would have turned state education standards into a voluntary pilot program failed to survive the session. Lawmakers also killed a bill that would have banned corporal punishment in schools.


HAWAII

Governor: Benjamin J. Cayetano (D)

FY 1996 state budget: $3.17 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget: $740 million FY 1995 K-12 budget: $732 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +1 percent

Highlights:

The state board of education had requested funding for 300 new classroom teachers next year; the budget would pay for about 200. Many resource teachers working on the development of curriculum and other statewide professional-development activities will be moved back to classrooms over the next two years.
The budget reduces the number of state and district administrators by 20 percent over the next two years.


IOWA

Governor: Terry E. Branstad (R)

FY 1996 state budget: $3.8 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget $1.33 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.27 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +4.7 percent

Highlights:

Lawmakers appropriated $18 million to connect 93 high schools, mostly in rural areas, to the state fiber-optic network.
A new law requires lawmakers to set the state's school-spending levels two years in advance. Previously, lawmakers passed school budgets just before the upcoming fiscal year began.
The legislature app~rop~r~iated $900,000 for a school-to-work pilot program called "Career Pathways" that finances school and business partnerships.
A new welfare-reform program would require young parents to live at home and work toward a high school diploma or an equivalency degree in order to receive welfare. The requirement must get federal approval before it can be enforced.


VIRGINIA

Governor: George Allen (R)

FY 1996 state budget: $7.6 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget: $2.8 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $2.6 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +7.7 percent

Highlights:

The budget includes a 2.3 percent pay increase for public school employees.
The Governor also signed into law a measure to grant $46.5 million to schools to expand their access to technology. Interested schools will receive $10,000 grants to begin networking computers and developing automated school libraries and media centers.
A "parental responsibility" act will hold parents financially liable for their children who misbehave at school.


WEST VIRGINIA

~Governor: Gaston Caperton (D)

FY 1996 state budget: $2.28 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.26 billion FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.23 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.4 percent

Highlights:

Lawmakers approved funding for schools at the same time a county judge weighed arguments that the state has not met the funding requirements of a 1982 court order.
The budget includes $9 million from state lottery proceeds for expansion of a computer-basic-skills program.
A new "safe schools" law will require a mandatory one-year expulsion for students found carrying a deadly weapon on school grounds.

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