News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
N.H. Misses School Funding Deadline
The New Hampshire legislature failed last week to meet the state supreme court's deadline for resolving the state's school funding crisis.
In December 1997, the court declared the current system of funding inequitable and unconstitutional because it relied too heavily on local property taxes. It told the legislature to fix the problem by midnight, March 31.
Late last week, the House voted down an $825 million proposal--initially approved by the Senate--to use a statewide property tax and various business and entertainment taxes to finance education. The vote paved the way for the House to come up with its own competing proposal before lawmakers can begin negotiating a solution, legislative aides said. Earlier in the week, the House rejected a proposal for a statewide income tax to fund schools.
Also last week, the Senate approved a measure that the House had passed the previous week, which would enable the state to aid districts that could be hurt financially by the failure to meet the school funding deadline.
--Mary Ann Zehr
Alaska Schools Chief Holloway Resigns
Following a six-week leave of absence, Shirley J. Holloway stepped down last week as Alaska's commissioner of education. Ms. Holloway, 59, cited health reasons for her retirement, which became effective April 1.
Ms. Holloway has been credited with overseeing the development of the state's first mandatory performance standards for students on state tests in reading, writing, and mathematics. The legislature passed the standards-and-assessments accountability package last spring.
Gov. Tony Knowles said Ms. Holloway, who served as commissioner for four years, had been a "tireless advocate for Alaska's children."
Richard S. Cross, who has served as deputy commissioner since 1995, will be the acting commissioner until the state board of education appoints a permanent replacement.
--Jessica L. Sandham
Vol. 18, Issue 30, Page 23