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Published in Print: September 9, 1998, as Legislative Update

Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final fiscal 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.

ALASKA

Governor:
Tony Knowles (D)

FY 1999 state budget:
$2.3 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$726.19 million

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$699.4 million

Percent change K-12 budget:
+3.8 percent

Estimated enrollment:
126,000

Highlights:

  • Budget includes $1.9 million for development of new assessments under Knowles administration's Quality Schools Initiative.
  • Under state's revamped school finance formula, budget includes $15.6 million boost, to nearly $730 million, in general state funds for education. Urban districts such as Anchorage and Fairbanks will benefit most from increases.
  • K-12 budget figures do not reflect $83.1 million legislators authorized for fiscal 1999 to address major school maintenance and construction needs.

IOWA

Governor:
Terry E. Branstad (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$4.53 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$1.78 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$1.69 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+5.3 percent

Estimated enrollment:
505,097

Highlights:

  • New accountability law will require Iowa districts and accredited public schools to report student performance in mathematics, reading, and science using uniform "academic indicators" set by state, as well as measurements of school success, such as graduation rates. In 1999-2000, schools and parents will be able to compare local performance with statewide trends.
  • Gov. Branstad vetoed most of education bill intended to help districts face enrollment changes and pressures for school reform. Among items vetoed were $9 million in block grants for primary grades. Governor said he would reconsider vetoes if offered a strengthened teacher merit-pay plan, but legislative leaders refused.
  • Beginning teachers won minimum salaries of $23,000, starting in coming school year, and up to 25 teachers certified by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will receive pay raise of $10,000 annually for five years.

MASSACHUSETTS

Governor:
Paul Cellucci (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$19.5 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$3.25 billion

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.90 billion

Percent change K-12 budget:
+12.1 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment:
931,000

Highlights:

  • Budget offers $86 million--$20.5 million boost from fiscal 1998--for early-childhood education.
  • Legislators also provided $43 million, or $9.2 million more than in last fiscal year, for teacher professional development.
  • Budget allots $300 million for numerous child-care programs, including initiatives for women moving from welfare to the workforce and for low-income families. That amount represents a $37 million increase from fiscal 1998.

RHODE ISLAND

Governor:

Gov. Lincoln C. Almond


Lincoln C. Almond (R)

FY 1999 state budget:
$1.9 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget:
$566.81 million

FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$519.30 million

Percent change K-12 budget:
+9.1 percent

Estimated enrollment:
153,321

Highlights:

  • Basic aid to local districts grew from $438 million to $480 million; 10 percent increase is one of state's largest in 10 years. Funds include $8 million targeted to state's five poorest districts.
  • Lawmakers also amended budget provisions to allow for greater state control when schools fail to meet performance targets after three years.
  • Lawmakers allocated $1 million for Starting RIght initiative, which will allow more families to be served by state-subsidized day care and after-school programs.

Vol. 18, Issue 1, Page 28

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