Published Online: February 5, 1997

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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors budget requests for schools and highlights of proposals on the state education agendas.

ALASKA

Governor:
Tony Knowles (D)

FY 1998 proposed state budget:
$2.4 billion

FY 1998 proposed K-12 budget:
$702 million

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$687 million

Percent change K-12 budget:
+2.2 percent

Estimated enrollment:
128,100

Highlights:

  • Governor's budget proposal would add $1.1 million toward a program to develop high academic standards and related assessments, set professional standards, create a family, school, and community network, and set standards for school excellence.
  • Proposes changing the state's school funding formula and would raise school aid by $12.4 million to cope with increasing enrollment.
  • Would provide an additional $2.4 million to fully pay for pupil transportation.

ARIZONA

Governor:
Fife Symington (R)

FY 1998 proposed state budget:
$5.08 billion

FY 1998 proposed K-12 budget:
$2.10 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.87 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+12.3 percent

Estimated enrollment:
761,400

Highlights:

  • Budget proposal includes $10 million for a school voucher plan. Proposal, which would give parents public funds to pay for children's tuition at private schools, would be phased in during 1997-98 school year. In recent years, lawmakers have stymied similar requests.
  • Budget plan also includes $1 million in charter school "stimulus funds" and $198 million that would help pay charter school administration costs. Governor's office projects charter school enrollment to top 25,000 in fiscal 1998.
  • Proposal includes a $400 million fund to help schools improve their facilities. State supreme court ruled in 1994 that school finance system is unconstitutional because of disparities in school construction, building maintenance, and equipment.

COLORADO

Governor:
Roy Romer (D)

FY 1998 proposed state budget:
$4.5 billion

FY 1998 proposed K-12 budget:
$1.85 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.72 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+7.6 percent

Estimated enrollment:
644,240

Highlights:

  • Governor proposes extra funding to cover forecasted enrollment increases plus 3 percent boost for inflation.
  • Budget request includes $2.7 million to continue new tests tied to state standards. Fourth graders will be tested in three subjects this spring. Next year's budget would cover testing of 4th and 8th graders in six subjects.
  • Governor seeks $2 million for four pilot schools for students expelled from their local schools. Two of the schools would also provide housing.

MINNESOTA

Governor:
Arne H. Carlson (R)

FY 1998 proposed state budget:
$10.55 billion

FY 1998 proposed K-12 budget:
$3.35 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$3.28 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+2.1 percent

Estimated enrollment:
840,400

Highlights:

  • In his two-year budget, governor proposes that K-12 spending in fiscal 1999 rise to $3.37 billion, a 0.6 percent increase over 1998.
  • Governor wants to allow $150 million in tax credits or deductions to help parents pay for tutoring, private school tuition, home schooling, computers, and other education expenses.
  • Mr. Carlson would provide $48 million to local school boards as incentive to explore site-based budgeting and merit pay.
  • Proposal includes $50 million for school technology upgrades and $5 million for new statewide testing of students in 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 12th grades.

NEBRASKA

Governor:
Ben Nelson (D)

FY 1998 proposed state budget:
$1.96 billion

FY 1998 proposed K-12 budget:
$593.9 million

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$574.5 million

Percent change K-12 budget:
+3.4 percent

Estimated enrollment:
328,900

Highlights:

  • Mr. Nelson proposes a $17 million increase for general state aid, reflecting increases generated from earmarked taxes. Aid for special education would jump from $124 million to $128 million.
  • After Nebraska lawmakers passed new caps on local property taxes in last year's session, educators had hoped governor would propose replacement funds from state income taxes and other sources. Instead, he announced plans to cut state income taxes for most Nebraskans, and he proposed a new property-tax credit for homeowners.
  • Governor wants to use state aid to pay for scholarships and new grants to encourage graduates of Nebraska colleges and universities stay and work in the state.

NORTH DAKOTA

Governor:
Edward T. Schafer (R)

FY 1998-99 proposed state budget:
$1.49 billion

FY 1998-99 proposed K-12 budget:
$544 million

FY 1996-97 K-12 budget:
$501 million

Percent change K-12 budget:
+8.6 percent

Estimated enrollment:
118,400

Highlights:

  • Governor seeks to increase foundation aid by $15 million in his two-year budget, raising it to $447 million.
  • Mr. Schafer proposes increasing special education spending by $3.7 million over the biennium.
  • Budget proposal includes establishing $1.3 million "Myrdal Fund for Excellence," named after Lt. Gov. Rosemarie Myrdal, who would oversee the initiative. Funds under proposed program would be used to develop academic standards and assessments and train teachers to use technology.

OREGON

Governor:
John A. Kitzhaber (D)

FY 1998-99 proposed state budget:
$26.8 billion

FY 1998-99 proposed K-12 budget:
$5.70 billion

FY 1996-97 K-12 budget:
$5.34 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+6.7 percent

Estimated enrollment:
515,000

Highlights:

  • Proposal would expand prekindergarten to 4,000 more Oregon children by 1999.
  • Mr. Kitzhaber's request would replace estimated $423 million in revenue lost to local officials under a ballot measure that cut property taxes by 20 percent.
  • Two-year budget proposal continues to move toward equalized school funding.
  • Governor's request would provide $8 million for teacher training and public awareness to help implement state's 1991 school reform law.

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