Published Online: September 17, 1997

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Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final action on state education budgets and related matters. Budget totals for K-12 education include money for state education administration, but do not include federal flow-through dollars.

OHIO

Governor:
George V. Voinovich (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$25 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$5.9 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$5.3 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+11.3 percent

Estimated enrollment:
1.8 million

Highlights:

  • Budget includes $7 million for vouchers to subsidize one year of private school tuition for 3,000 poor children in Cleveland. State supreme court is reviewing lower court decision that such vouchers are unconstitutional, since most are used at religious schools.
  • Budget also allots $4.5 million for pilot charter school in Toledo area, $250 million for school repairs and construction, and $86.8 million for all-day kindergarten in 21 urban districts.
  • Legislature rejected plan to raise sales tax 1 cent to generate an extra $1.1 billion for schools annually. Governor had urged tax hike in response to 1996 state supreme court ruling that Ohio's school finance system is unconstitutional.
  • Lawmakers passed bills that require districts to set aside money for maintenance and replace 9th grade test required for high school graduation with a 10th grade test.

PENNSYLVANIA

Governor:
Tom Ridge (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$17.2 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$5.8 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$5.7 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+1.8 percent

Estimated enrollment:
1,804,256

Highlights:

  • Lawmakers approved $10.4 million for new program to reward school districts that improve graduation and attendance rates and test scores.
  • Budget also includes $36 million for Project Link to Learn, an education technology initiative.
  • After failing in similar attempt last year, Gov. Ridge pushed bill through legislature that, for the first time, allows charter schools in Pennsylvania, beginning this school year.

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