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Published in Print: June 24, 1998, as Legislative Update

Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final 1999 budgets for schools and highlights of education-related action during legislative sessions. 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 1999 state budget:
$10.30 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$2.57 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.47 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+4 percent

Estimated enrollment:
739,321

Highlights:

  • Total budget figure includes federal, state, and local funds deposited to state treasury, which are not broken down by source. State education figure covers basic foundation program--state and local funds--only.
  • Public education employees in K-12 and two-year colleges will receive 8.5 percent cost-of-living pay increase.
  • Legislators approved $550 million bond issue to pay for capital improvements in K-12 and higher education.
  • Lawmakers passed requirement that teachers open each school day with period of quiet reflection not to exceed 60 seconds. Period is not to be religious service, but may include student-led prayer.
  • Changes to law governing textbooks include making state board of education final authority on adoption or rejection of texts.
  • Legislature provided for appropriation in 1999-2000 education budget to begin 12-year phase-in of school nurses. Beginning that year, each school system must employ at least one nurse. By fiscal 2010-11, school systems must have at least one nurse for every 2,000 students.

ARIZONA

Governor:
Jane Dee Hull (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$5.33 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$2.16 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.12 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+2 percent

Estimated enrollment:
784,000

Highlights:

  • Legislature allocated $350 million, not included in $2.16 billion figure, toward solving state's school construction funding crisis. State supreme court ruled current school finance system unconstitutional in 1994. Last week, court ruled legislature's latest attempt unconstitutional as well, sending lawmakers back to drawing board. (See story, page 23.)
  • Attempt to establish vouchers that could be used at nonreligious private schools failed in Senate.
  • Governor signed bill to require that, by 2000, districts offer parents choice of reading programs that children in grades K-3 receive, including phonics-based approach. Lawmakers allocated $1 million to train teachers in reading methods.

FLORIDA

Governor:
Lawton Chiles (D)

FY 1999 state budget:
$45.3 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$6.87 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$6.50 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+5.7 percent

Estimated enrollment:
2.4 million

Highlights:

  • Budget includes $4.4 million for on-line Florida high school project, which will connect rural schools to distance-learning programs.
  • Budget allocates $10 million for new reading initiatives for elementary students. State Commissioner of Education Frank T. Brogan will award the funds as grants.
  • Legislature also voted $12 million for executive teaching program--stipends for teachers with national board certification.

ILLINOIS

Governor:
Jim Edgar (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$19.79 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$5.18 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$4.6 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+12.6 percent

Estimated enrollment:
1.96 million

Highlights:

  • Budget provides for increase in K-12 per-pupil spending by nearly 26 percent, to $4,225 per student, as requested by state school board and approved by legislature last fall.
  • Qualified districts can tap nearly $300 million appropriated for fiscal 1999 in newly budgeted state money for construction projects.
  • Budget includes $20.1 million increase in spending on early-childhood education, bringing total state budget for such programs to $154.3 million.
  • Governor's Technology Initiative, which guarantees that schools have Internet access, received $15 million boost, bringing program's total budget to $60 million for fiscal 1999.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Governor:
William J. Janklow (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$731.02 million

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$286.60 million

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$273.47 million

Percent change K-12 budget:
+4.8 percent

Estimated enrollment:
134,209

Highlights:

  • Budget allocates $2.3 million in fiscal 1999 for state program to wire schools to Internet. Total of $11.6 million has been approved for program over next three years.
  • Lawmakers also approved Mr. Janklow's recommendation for 2.9 percent increase in per-student spending allocations for both general and special education.
  • Budget provides $450,000 for a program for at-risk youths.

TENNESSEE

Governor:
Don Sundquist (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$15.59 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$2.41 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.32 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+ 3.8 percent

Estimated enrollment:
884,100

Highlights:

  • K-12 budget provides $2.5 million for schools with increasing enrollments.
  • Two percent teacher-salary increase is also included for fiscal 1999.
  • Budget allocates $3 million for early-childhood initiative to benefit 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families.

UTAH

Governor:
Michael O. Leavitt (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$6.4 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$2.09 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.94 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+7.7 percent

Estimated enrollment:
479,000

Highlights:

  • Legislature approved 3.5 percent increase in weighted per-pupil funding formula, allowing for more aid for schools. Also approved was $13.8 million for class-size-reduction initiative in middle schools.
  • Lawmakers approved governor's Schools for the 21st Century program, although with less money than he requested. Program will allow 60 schools to receive extra funding over three years if they meet academic goals.
  • Pilot program authorizing eight charter schools approved. Senate passed private school tax credit worth about $1,900 per child, but measure died in House.

WISCONSIN

Governor:
Tommy G. Thompson (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$9.9 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$4.46 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$4.27 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+4.4 percent

Estimated enrollment:
891,000

Highlights:

  • Funding for fiscal 1999 is second half of a two-year biennial budget passed last year. Legislature decided this year to spend less than expected on K-12 education, due to low inflation rates and a slightly smaller enrollment than anticipated. Originally, Wisconsin projected K-12 budget of $4.48 billion.
  • Budget requires all districts to adopt state's new academic standards or set their own standards by fall.
  • Budget includes $4.74 million in fiscal 1999 to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through 3rd grade.

Vol. 17, Issue 41, Page 24

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