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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 dollars earmarked for local programs.

MASSACHUSETTS

Governor:
Paul Cellucci (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$18.8 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.88 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$2.59 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+11 percent

Estimated enrollment:
950,000

Highlights:

  • Budget fully pays for state's 1993 Education Reform Act, increasing aid by $222 million, to about $2.3 billion for fiscal 1998.
  • Lawmakers approved $30.7 million increase in early-childhood-education programs, from about $35 million in fiscal 1997 to $65 million for fiscal 1998. Budget includes near-$700,000 increase for school transportation costs, from $28 million allocated for 1997.
  • Lawmakers eliminated the $200,000 allocated for family-support and adult-literacy program for 1997.
  • Legislature also eliminated funds for developing statewide curriculum frameworks, as mandated by the reform act. Some $750,000 was allocated for 1997.

NEW JERSEY

Governor:
Christine Todd Whitman (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$16.8 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$5.4 billion

FY 1997K-12 budget:
$4.9 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+9.6 percent

Estimated enrollment:
1.2 million

Highlights:

  • In first year of new funding formula, state boosts aid to school districts by $580 million, not including state pension and Social Security payments for school employees. Includes $10 million for financial rewards to districts based on test scores.
  • Twenty-eight poor, mostly urban school systems receive extra $246 million in state aid following ruling last spring in lawsuit over funding inequities.
  • Budget provides $287.5 million for preschool and full-day kindergarten in 125 districts in which at least 20 percent of students receive federally subsidized lunch. Also includes $175.4 million for disadvantaged students.
  • State spending plan relies in part on $2.8 billion bond sale used to cover projected shortfall in state pension fund.

WISCONSIN

Governor:
Tommy G. Thompson (R)

FY 1998 state budget:
$9.8 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$4.3 billion

FY 1997 K-12 budget:
$4 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+7.5 percent

Estimated enrollment:
880,000

Highlights:

  • Budget includes $6.96 million to continue class-size-reduction program in kindergarten and 1st grade and extend it to 2nd grade.
  • Budget pays two-thirds of public schools' costs and adheres to strict caps on district spending and teacher salaries. Gov. Thompson vetoed bill that would have allowed savings in employee benefits to slightly increase salaries.
  • Governor signed measure allowing students to attend any public school they choose this fall, provided there is room and they have transportation.
  • Another law allows the city of Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Area Technical College to start charter schools.
  • Mr. Thompson also signed bill establishing mandatory high school graduation test starting in 2003.

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