Governor: John Engler (R)
FY 1996 state budget: $16.03 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $8.23 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $7.98 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +3.1 percent
- The bulk of the $245 million increase in K-12 funding was dedicated to "foundation grants" for districts, which will increase per-pupil funding for the state's poorest districts to help close spending disparities as called for in a 1993 school-finance-reform law.
- Although lawmakers have completed action on the 1996 budget, the full-time legislature is still in session and considering a wide range of proposals to modify the state's education code. One of the most contentious issues is whether to make the state's core-curriculum standards voluntary for school districts. Lawmakers made the standards mandatory in 1993.
Governor: Mel Carnahan (D)
FY 96 state budget: $13.1 billion.
FY 96 K-12 budget: $3.175 billion
FY 95 K-12 budget: $2.94 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +7.9 percent
- Lawmakers approved a large increase in school aid, moving toward the goals of a 1993 education-reform law that requires the state to provide 100 percent of the amount called for in its "foundation formula." This year's appropriation brings the state contribution to 75 percent of the required level.
- Governor signed a teacher-retirement bill that gives public school teachers who retire between July 1, 1996, and July 1, 1998, the option of retiring as early as age 47. The new law allows teachers to draw half of their salary as a pension after 25 years of service, regardless of age. Under the previous law, retirees had to be at least 55 or have 30 years of service to receive those benefits.
- Lawmakers required public school administrators to inform all students of the state's new, more stringent juvenile-justice laws.
- The legislature extended from 90 to 180 days the length of time local superintendents can suspend students from school without the approval of local school boards.