Published Online: May 7, 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.



ARIZONA

Governor:
Fife Symington (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$5.23 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.12 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.87 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+13.4 percent

Estimated enrollment:
761,400

Highlights:

  • Governor approved $110 million income-tax reduction.
  • Budget increase includes $50.6 million in school maintenance and operating funds, $62.5 million for school facility needs, and $4 million for charter school facility needs. Previously, Arizona charter schools did not qualify for ongoing facility aid. Lawmakers passed a finance bill to funnel more facility aid to schools in attempt to settle ongoing school finance lawsuit.
  • Numerous voucher plans died in legislature. But Mr. Symington signed into law a plan granting taxpayers up to $500 in income-tax credits for donating money to nonprofit groups that, in turn, provide scholarships for students to attend private and religious schools. Slated to take effect next year, law may be challenged in court. It also provides up to $200 credit for money given to public schools to support extracurricular activities that may require fees.
  • Governor signed bill to implement ballot measure Arizona voters approved last year that will authorize trying certain juveniles as adults and open juvenile court records to the public. Juveniles age 15 and older accused of murder, rape, or armed robbery automatically will be tried as adults under the measure.

MISSISSIPPI

Governor:
Kirk Fordice (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$3.23 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.34 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.25 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+7.2 percent

Estimated enrollment:
506,000

Highlights:

  • In one-day special session, legislators overrode Gov. Fordice's veto to pass Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which eventually will channel $130.5 million a year in additional funding into public education.
  • Governor signed bill authorizing state board of education to grant charter status to six local, existing public schools.

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