Published Online: April 30, 1997

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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.



ARKANSAS

Governor:
Mike Huckabee (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$2.90 billion

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FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.37 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.26 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+8.7 percent

Estimated enrollment:
451,900

Highlights:

  • Legislature added $30 million to amount Gov. Huckabee proposed for K-12 funding in fiscal 1998. In fiscal 1999, funding will rise another 4.5 percent under the budget bill.
  • Districts will be required to conduct criminal-background checks of new teachers. Districts may pass cost of such searches on to job candidates. State will conduct same background searches of current teachers who apply to extend their certification.
  • Legislature tinkered with new education funding formula to ensure every district receives at least $4,000 per student.

GEORGIA

Governor:
Zell Miller (D)

FY 1998 state budget:
$11.8 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$4.65 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$4.29 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+8.4 percent

Estimated enrollment:
1,308,100

Highlights:

  • Legislature approved 6 percent salary increase for teachers. Raise comes in third year of a four-year effort by Gov. Miller to bring teacher salaries in line with national average.
  • State will spend $2.1 million to give all public schools access to the Internet.
  • Legislature also approved $300,000 to expand elementary foreign-language program to 5th grade in 24 pilot schools.

NORTH DAKOTA

Governor:
Edward T. Schafer (R)

FY 1998-99 state budget:
$1.4 billion

FY 1998-99 K-12 budget:
$546 million

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

Percent change K-12 budget:
+9 percent

Estimated enrollment:
118,400

Highlights:

  • Legislature approved $33.8 million increase in foundation aid and $3.1 million to improve equity in poorest districts. Governor had proposed $20 million for equity improvements.
  • Lawmakers approved additional $3.7 million in special education funding.
  • They also approved $5 million in technology grants for schools.

UTAH

Governor:
Michael O. Leavitt (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$3.04 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.9 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.8 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+5.6 percent

Estimated enrollment:
478,000

Highlights:

  • Legislature increased per-pupil funding formula and gave a one-time $9.6 million boost to state's education technology initiative.
  • Funding to aid non-English-speaking students decreased, as did money for "highly impacted schools," or those with high numbers of students in poverty.

WEST VIRGINIA

Governor:
Cecil H. Underwood (R)

FY 1998 state budget

$2.45 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.35 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.31 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+3 percent

Estimated enrollment:
304,400

Highlights:

  • Responding to new court ruling giving West Virginia a year to improve its school system, governor will form commission on school funding and other education issues as soon as legislature adjourns.
  • Legislature approved $16.6 million for upgrading computer technology in kindergarten through 12th grade, including second-year funding of $8.8 million earmarked for secondary schools.
  • Lawmakers directed state education department, health and human services department, and Governor's Cabinet on Children and Families to study state's educational programs for children under 5.
  • Effort to repeal state's sweeping 1996 school reform law, the Jobs Through Education Act, failed.

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