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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final action by legislatures on state education budgets and other education-related matters.

INDIANA

Governor: Evan Bayh (D)

FY 1997 state budget: $7.93 billion FY 1997 K-12 budget: $3.09 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget: $2.97 billion Percent change K-12 budget: +4.0 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature passed a measure allowing public access to questions on the state's student assessment, called ISTEP Plus.
  • Lawmakers also approved creation of a state literacy coalition.

MARYLAND

Governor: Parris N. Glendening (D)

FY 1997 state budget: $7.41 billion FY 1997 K-12 budget: $2.48 billion FY 1996 K-12 budget: $2.34 billion Percent change K-12 budget: +5.9 percent

Highlights:

  • Legislature approved a spending increase for education while the rest of the state budget remained stagnant. Budget includes a $75 million increase in general school aid to cover projected enrollment increases, and $24 million for school-employee pensions.
  • To consolidate youth programs, lawmakers also shifted $39 million from the health, human resources, and juvenile-justice budgets into the education budget.
  • Budget includes $12 million to start a state and local partnership to manage the Baltimore schools.
  • Legislature enacted a $1.25 million school-technology grant and a $2.75 million awards program for outstanding schools and districts.

NEBRASKA

Governor: Ben Nelson (D)

FY 1997 state budget: $1.86 billion FY 1997 K-12 budget: $575 million FY 1996 K-12 budget: $555 million Percent change K-12 budget: +3.6 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget reflects an increase in general state aid for local districts--from $414 million in the current year to $434 million in fiscal 1997--due mostly to increased sales-tax revenue.
  • State's teacher-salary-enhancement fund was phased out completely for fiscal 1997; the state's contribution was $6.9 million in 1996. Money that would have gone into the fund will be used to add a new cost-of-living adjustment to the teachers' retirement plan.
  • Legislature and governor also approved a statewide lid on local property taxes. Beginning in fiscal 1999, the lid will limit the amount schools receive from those taxes to $1.10 per $100 of assessed value.

VERMONT

Governor: Howard Dean (D)

FY 1997 state budget: $721 million FY 1997 K-12 budget: $223 million FY 1996 K-12 budget: $216 million Percent change K-12 budget: +3.2 percent

Highlights:

  • Budget for fiscal 1997 restores $5 million for the teachers' retirement plan that was cut last year.
  • Legislature also approved a new sliding-scale school-construction-aid formula that would limit aid to wealthier towns. It will not go into effect until the state pays off the school-construction obligations incurred under the older, more generous aid formula.

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