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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.

ALABAMA

Governor: Fob James Jr. (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $9.2 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $2.4 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $2.25 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +6.6 percent

Highlights:

  • Total state budget figure includes all federal, state, and local funds that are deposited to the state treasury. The state does not break them down by source.
  • Governor said he will offer a bill that would allow juvenile offenders to be publicly identified and their criminal records opened to the public.
  • He also has proposed requiring the parents of a minor seeking an abortion to sign a consent form in the presence of the abortion provider.

MASSACHUSETTS

Governor: William F. Weld (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $17 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $2.5 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $2.25 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +10 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget would allocate about $210 million to continue implementing the seven-year plan for education reform that was enacted in 1993, which includes gradual increases in state aid to boost the resources of low-wealth districts.
  • Budget includes $2.5 million to be divided between the state's charter school program and its statewide open-enrollment program. The state partially compensates districts that lose state aid when students transfer under the two programs, and state officials expect more schools to join the programs, requiring increased funding. Mr. Weld proposed adding six new charter schools in the 1996-97 school year to the 15 currently operating in the state and has proposed removing limits on the number of such schools.

NEW JERSEY

Governor: Christine Todd Whitman (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $15.9 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $4.84 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $4.77 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +1.46 percent

Highlights:

  • Governor has made proposed academic-content standards the centerpiece of her education agenda for this year. A new school-finance system is to be devised based on the amount of money schools need to meet the standards.
  • Budget proposes $60 million in aid for the state's 30 special-needs districts to reduce disparities between them and wealthier districts. Budget also includes $10 million for school-technology initiatives.

OKLAHOMA

Governor: Frank Keating (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $4.01 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $1.53 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $1.41 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +8.5 percent

Highlights:

  • In his State of the State Address, governor proposed a $10.9 million program that would give bonus pay to teachers in the 20 percent of schools that improved the most over two to three years.
  • Governor has also proposed spending $47.5 million to increase per-pupil funding for growing school districts and $40 million to shore up the state's teacher-retirement system.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Governor: William J. Janklow (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $643.7 million
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $219.7 million
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $190.5 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +15.3 percent

Highlights:

  • A new funding formula for K-12 education that is to be implemented in the latter half of 1997 will increase the state's contribution to school funding.
  • Governor has proposed no new education programs for fiscal 1997.

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