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Legislative Update

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MINNESOTA

Governor: Arne Carlson (R)

FY 1997 proposed state budget: $8.91 billion
FY 1997 proposed K-12 budget: $3.09 billion
FY 1996 K-12 budget: $2.94 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +5.1 percent

Highlights:

  • Lawmakers rejected governor's $15 million voucher proposal, which would have given students in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Center, a Twin Cities suburb, state tuition aid to attend private or religious schools.
  • Governor also pledged to push for relaxed state mandates and looser teacher-tenure laws.
  • Mr. Carlson's budget included $22 million for classroom technology, $25 million for school construction and renovation, and $14 million to help parents establish tax-free savings accounts to pay for their children's college tuition.

WYOMING

Governor: Jim Geringer (R)

FY 1997-98 proposed state budget: $992 million
FY 1997-98 proposed K-12 budget: $118.8 million
FY 1995-96 K-12 budget: $127.7 million
Percent change K-12 budget: -6.9 percent

Highlights:

  • Overall education funding in the state would remain constant from the previous biennium under the governor's proposal. State aid is traditionally adjusted up or down to compensate for changes in local tax collections, which are expected to go up in the biennium that begins in July.
  • Select committee began meetings last week that are expected to mark lawmakers' first step toward a new school-finance system. State supreme court ruled the current system unconstitutional last year, and lawmakers have until July 1, 1997, to come up with a new funding law. The chief job of the task force is to define the components of an adequate education and determine the cost.

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