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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.

ALABAMA

Governor:
Fob James Jr. (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$9.59 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.46 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$2.32 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+6 percent

Estimated enrollment:
729,600

Highlights:

  • Total state budget figure includes federal, state, and local funds deposited to state treasury. Officials do not break funding down by source. K-12 budget figure covers basic state foundation for education only.
Gov. Fob James Jr.
  • Lawmakers approved $127 million for reducing class sizes, including paying for about 900 new teachers statewide.
  • Legislature failed to approve $125 million bond issue that would have paid for statewide computer network, a major part of state's plan for educational technology. Legislature is expected to consider $35 million bond issue this fall.
  • Legislators halved state's allocation for professional development for teachers, from last year's annual $120 per teacher to $60 per teacher.
  • Governor proposed annual $100 million merit-scholarship trust fund in his State of the State Address in February, but has yet to put forth specific plan.

CALIFORNIA

Governor:
Pete Wilson (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$67 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$22.2 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$20.8 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+6.7 percent

Estimated enrollment:
5.6 million

Highlights:

  • Budget adds $717.5 million to fully pay for state's class-size-reduction initiative in grades K-3, nearly doubling spending on that program, to $1.5 billion.
  • Fiscal 1998 funding provides $100 million for new technology grants for high schools and $5 million to upgrade and repair more than 15,000 donated computers in K-12 schools.
  • Lawmakers allotted $50 million for one day of staff development for teachers in exchange for additional day of pupil instruction. Funding for Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program was more than doubled, to $10 million.
  • Legislators approved mandatory statewide standardized test of basic skills for K-11 students in May 1998.

ILLINOIS

Governor:
Jim Edgar (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$18.18 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$4.52 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$4.17 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+8.2 percent

Estimated enrollment:
1.96 million

Highlights:

  • Lawmakers approved $47 million for new "adequacy" grants so that schools receive per-pupil funding of at least $3,600.
  • Budget provides $31.7 million in "hold harmless" funds, which assure that each school district receives no less than it did during fiscal 1996.
  • Legislators approved spending more than $9.5 million for school technology, and about $55 million for early-intervention programs for children with developmental disabilities.
  • Budget also includes an $11.2 million increase for preschool programs, bringing the total allocation to $123.9 million. That increase raises funding to a level where twice as many preschoolers will be served as were participating six years ago.

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