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Legislative Update

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NEVADA

Governor: Bob Miller (D)

FY 1996-97 state budget: $2.49 billion
FY 1996-97 K-12 budget: $944.7 million
FY 1994-95 K-12 budget: $851.7 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +10.9 percent

Highlights:

  • Total biennial state budget figure includes some federal aid.
  • Biennial K-12 budget total does not include operating expenses for the state department of education or funds for an ongoing program to reduce class sizes.
  • Gov. Miller had requested $111 million over the biennium for the class-size-reduction program; the legislature approved $89 million over two years. In fiscal 1996, the money is to be used to maintain current subsidies for smaller classes in the 1st and 2nd grades. In 1997, $7 million is earmarked for a pilot program to reduce class size in some 3rd-grade classrooms.

OREGON

Governor: John Kitzhaber (D)

FY 1995-97 state budget: $8.2 billion
FY 1995-97 K-12 budget: $3.55 billion
FY 1993-95 K-12 budget: $2.56 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +39 percent

Highlights:

  • K-12 education budget is the state's largest ever, and reflects final implementation of a 1990 property-tax-limitation law requiring the state to assume a greater share of K-12 costs.
  • In response to criticism, legislature revised the state's pioneering school-reform act. New language clarifies the purpose of certificates of "advanced mastery" and "initial mastery" created under the 1991 law, and reasserts the importance of a traditional high school diploma.
  • Legislature approved a state constitutional amendment allowing lottery proceeds to be spent on K-12 education, and dedicating 15 percent of net lottery proceeds to an education endowment. The principal cannot be spent, but interest earnings will support college scholarships and grants to local schools for innovative reform projects.
  • Legislature adjusted state aid formula to move the state toward equalization in spending between districts.
  • New law allows districts to expel students who carry weapons to school for a minimum of one year, and to deny admission to students expelled from other districts.

WASHINGTON

Governor: Mike Lowry (D)

FY 1996 state budget: $8.67 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $4.09 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $3.96 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +3.18 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature approved a bill requiring a state panel to propose ways to overhaul state governance of education by the end of next year. The measure also creates a financial-review program to help districts lower administrative costs.
  • Another new law gives the state school board and superintendent the authority to grant waivers of state regulations that inhibit school reform in local districts.
  • Parts of a "runaway bill" were signed into law by the governor, including a requirement that school districts keep track of truant students and notify juvenile courts about violations of the state's compulsory-attendance laws.

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