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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.

PENNSYLVANIA

Governor: Tom Ridge (R)

FY 1996 state budget: $16.1 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $5.63 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $5.38 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.7 percent

Highlights:

  • The legislature did not pass the governor's education package, including a plan to help pay private school tuition.
  • All districts received at least a 1 percent increase in basic aid.
  • The special-education funding formula was changed, resulting in a 33 percent cut for the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh districts.

WISCONSIN

Governor: Tommy G. Thompson (R)

FY 1995-97 state budget: $17.39 billion
FY 1995-97 K-12 budget: $6.33 billion
FY 1993-95 K-12 budget: $4.69 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +35 percent

Highlights:

  • The substantial increase in the biennial education budget reflects a change in the state-aid formula to provide property-tax relief. The state share of school funding is to increase to two-thirds, from about half.
  • Lawmakers approved the governor's proposal to expand the Milwaukee voucher program to include religious schools; the state supreme court has blocked the expansion pending consideration of a suit challenging the law.
  • The legislature also approved the Governor's proposal to scrap the state education department and create a new, cabinet-level agency headed by a gubernatorial appointee.

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