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Legislative Update

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

Governor: Stephen Merrill (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $1.6 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $92.2 million
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $85.5 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +7.8 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor supports a bill that would give financial incentives to districts that do not have kindergarten programs and want to establish them. In fiscal 1997, the state education department would give districts a one-time grant of $2,400 per kindergarten-age student to set up their own programs or send students to private, nonreligious schools. State would also pay 20 percent of any construction costs. For the next five years, districts would receive $150 per kindergarten child. Mr. Merrill proposed a similar plan last year, but it died in the legislature.
  • Governor has not proposed school-finance measures, although the state supreme court ruled the finance system unconstitutional in 1994 and lawmakers failed last year to agree on a response.

RHODE ISLAND

Governor: Lincoln Almond (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $1.7 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $475 million
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $477 million
Percent change K-12 budget: -0.4 percent

Highlights:

  • Mr. Almond hopes to save $2 million by cutting 61 full-time administrative positions from the state department of education.
  • Governor's budget also proposes a $700,000 increase in education aid to local governments, much of which would cover increases in teacher-retirement-fund obligations.
  • Budget would provide about $400,000 to launch the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical School in Providence, a job-training center for high school students that would be funded through partnerships between the state government, local businesses, and non-profit organizations.

UTAH

Governor: Michael O. Leavitt (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $2.85 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $1.42 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.26 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +12.7 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor proposes largest K-12 funding boost in state's history.
  • Budget proposal earmarks $32.5 million to reduce class sizes and $26.6 million for technology.
  • Teachers and administrators would get a 4.7 percent increase in salary and benefits under the governor's plan.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor: Gaston Caperton (D)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $2.4 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $1.3 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.26 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +3.2 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor proposed dedicating $10 million in lottery proceeds to complete an effort to equip elementary schools across the state with computers. Budget would also provide $6.8 million for a technology program for middle schools and high schools.
  • Proposal would allocate $2.5 million to the state's college grant program for poor students and $2.5 million for alternative programs for disruptive students.
  • Budget proposes raises of $500 for each public school teacher and $300 for school service workers.

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