Published Online: June 11, 1997

Departments

Legislative Update

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

FLORIDA

Governor:
Lawton Chiles (D)

FY 1998 state budget:
$42.4 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$5.92 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$5.88 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+0.7 percent

Estimated enrollment:
2,296,000

Highlights:

  • Budget provides $13.5 million for school-based technology, a 20 percent increase over last year's budget. It also allocates $18.7 million for instructional materials for 60,500 new students expected to enroll in Florida public schools in 1997-98.
  • New reading programs for children in early grades will receive $4.3 million.
  • Governor and other state leaders will hammer out a plan this summer for financing school construction.

IOWA

Governor:
Terry E. Branstad (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$4.36 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.69 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.62 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+4.3 percent

Estimated enrollment:
505,600

Highlights:

  • Proposal to double to $200 a tax credit for private school tuition failed when it was linked to a $200 tax credit for public school fees. That addition would have more than doubled cost of bill, from $1.5 million to at least $3.5 million. Bill that would have stipulated what fees schools can charge students and who should get fee waivers also was defeated.
  • Budget earmarks about $18 million for computer connections to Internet, part of a program for improving educational technology.
  • It also provides $250,000 for a commission charged with recommending benchmarks for school progress, and boosts spending on programs for at-risk 4-year-olds by $840,000.
  • Governor's request for seed money to build a program that matches at-risk students with volunteer mentors was rejected.

MISSOURI

Governor:
Mel Carnahan (D)

FY 1998 state budget:
$10.62 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$3.1 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$3.05 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+1.6 percent

Estimated enrollment:
880,000

Highlights:

  • Legislature approved 5.2 percent increase, to $1.51 billion, for state's school funding formula that aims to equalize resources between poor and wealthy districts.
  • Lawmakers approved $9.5 million for accountability measures and other reforms, including $2.5 million for state-designated "A+ schools" that have upgraded their curricula, reduced dropout rates, and promoted higher student achievement over the past three years.
  • To meet goal that every student be computer-literate by age 12, state will give $10 million in grants to districts for new computers and $5 million for computer training and hooking up high-speed Internet connections.
  • Governor's plan to offer $700 to $1,500 annual tax credits for students who continue their educations for two years after high school was not added to budget.

OKLAHOMA

Governor:
Frank Keating (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$4.48 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.63 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$1.53 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+6.5 percent

Estimated enrollment:
620,695

Highlights:

  • Legislature rejected Gov. Keating's proposal for annual performance awards for teachers and his plan to pay for connecting every public high school to state computer network.
  • Legislature provided $31.6 million to meet school employees' contribution requirements for retirement. It also boosted funding for vocational and technical education programswhich serve more than 122,000 high school students, as well as postsecondary students--by $11.7 million, to $107.9 million.

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