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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors' budget requests for precollegiate education and highlights of proposals on the states' education agendas.

ALASKA

Governor: Tony Knowles (D)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $2.45 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $657 million
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $660.3 million

Percent change K-12 budget: -0.50 percent

Highlights:

  • A state commission has estimated that lawmakers face a $500 million budget shortfall for fiscal 1997.
  • School spending by the state in 1997 would slightly exceed the fiscal 1996 total after adding $3.5 million earmarked for schools from a state trust fund.
  • Governor's proposal includes a $2.5 million cut in state transportation aid for schools.
  • Governor has proposed creating a finance plan to pay for school construction and maintenance projects across the state, though he has not calculated its cost. His agenda also includes a bill to reform teacher-tenure rules. Mr. Knowles vetoed a similar bill last June, but is expected to support a new measure hammered out by school board members, teachers, administrators, and others over the summer.

ARIZONA

Governor: Fife Symington (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $4.71 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $1.87 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.77 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +5.6 percent

Highlights:

  • Bulk of the increase proposed by governor--$85.7 million--would cover enrollment growth anticipated for fiscal 1997.
  • Mr. Symington proposes to boost state spending on charter schools by $41.5 million, to finance 46 existing charter schools and provide for up to 50 more in 1997.
  • In response to a 1994 state supreme court ruling that found state's school-funding formula unconstitutional, governor is proposing to create a $30 million fund to help poor districts with capital needs. The money might pay for grants, loans, or debt-service assistance.
  • In an attempt to shift school-funding formula closer to current-year enrollment figures, governor recommends setting aside $20 million to cover the adjustment.

    IOWA

    Governor: Terry E. Branstad (R)

    FY 1997 proposed state budget: $3.8 billion
    FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $1.4 billion
    FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.33 billion

    Percent change K-12 budget: +5.2 percent

    Highlights:

    • Gov. Branstad wants state to pay all costs associated with enrollment growth, a move that would replace an estimated $14 million that would be collected from local property taxes in 1996-97 school year. State currently pays 83 percent of districts' allowable growth costs.
    • Governor proposes a four-year, $150 million fund for school technology, of which $15 million would be spend in the next school year.
    • Mr. Branstad wants to increase minimum teacher salary from $18,000 to $20,000 and is seeking retirement incentives for older teachers.
    • Education agenda also includes a proposal to give school officials authority to search student lockers.

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