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Published in Print: July 14, 1999, as Legislative Update

Legislative Update

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The following is a summary of the fiscal 2000 state budgets for schools and highlights of education-related action in legislatures. The totals for K-12 education include money for state education administration, but do not include federal, flow-through dollars.

ALABAMA

Gov. Donald Siegelman

Governor: Donald Siegelman (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $14.39 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.90 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $2.77 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +4.7 percent

Estimated enrollment: 736,800

Highlights:

  • Budget includes $22.6 million to pay for two more days of training for teachers. Also, lawmakers approved spending $11 million to hire 200 new K-3 teachers.
  • Lawmakers set aside $6 million to expand state education department's reading initiative, a statewide effort to help students read at or above grade level.
  • Budget contains $5.2 million to meet legislative mandate to hire one school nurse in all 128 Alabama school districts.
  • Legislature approved $6.3 million in targeted assistance to help pay for intervention staff for schools struggling academically and financially. Move responds to 1995 accountability law requiring schools to meet certain academic standards or face state intervention.
  • Lawmakers approved first-term governor's plan to create state lottery, with all revenues earmarked for education, including college scholarships, prekindergarten programs, and school technology. Lottery plan faces statewide referendum on Oct. 12 before it can move forward.

CONNECTICUT

Gov. John G. Rowland

Governor: John G. Rowland (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $10.58 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $1.77 billion

FY 1999 adjusted K-12 budget: $1.7 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +4.1 percent

Estimated enrollment: 551,400

Highlights:

  • Biennial budget includes $52.6 million increase for fiscal 2000 over the $1.3 billion currently allocated to schools through Educational Cost Sharing grants, the main program Connecticut uses to narrow gaps in funding between rich and poor districts. Program is slated for another $43 million increase in fiscal 2001, when $1.85 billion overall has been allocated for K-12 budget.
  • Within that two-year cost-sharing allocation, $6 million has been set aside for Hartford school district, which state took over in 1997.
  • Budget also includes $1.5 million for new state reading institute for training educators in teaching literacy skills.
  • New accountability law requires districts to reduce social promotions and allows state to order reconstitution of low-performing schools that fail to improve over time. Students in state's 14 poorest districts who don't meet minimum standards must attend summer school or be held back. Budget includes $300,000 for fiscal 2000 and $2.7 million for fiscal 2001 to pay for those summer programs.

IOWA

Governor: Tom Vilsack (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $4.78 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $1.87 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $1.80 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +3.8 percent

Estimated enrollment: 502,500

Highlights:

  • Under major reform bill passed with bipartisan support, state will provide $10 million in new money in fiscal 2000 and $20 million in fiscal 2001 to lower class sizes and bolster reading and other basic-skill programs in early grades. In fiscal 2002 and fiscal 2003, amount will rise to $30 million annually.
  • In addition, law renews $30 million annual technology grant for fiscal 2002 and fiscal 2003, but gives districts greater leeway in using it--allowing, for instance, up to two-thirds to be spent on lowering class sizes.
  • Democratic proposal to spend up to $150 million over five years to help districts repair or build schools was rejected by the Republican-controlled legislature.
  • Early in session, lawmakers approved 4 percent increase in basic per-pupil state aid to schools, an additional $61 million in fiscal 2001.
  • Legislature approved measure providing salary bonuses for next 10 years to teachers who win certification from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Teachers certified by May 2000 will receive $5,000 extra per year; those certified later will receive $2,500 extra per year. Payouts are capped at $50,000 per teacher.

MARYLAND

Governor: Parris N. Glendening (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $8.97 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.89 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $2.79 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +3.6 percent

Estimated enrollment: 827,600 students

Highlights:

  • Governor signed off on $80 million increase for basic K-12 education aid reflecting enrollment hikes, teacher salary increase, and $31 million rise in aid targeted to poorer schools.
  • Budget also includes $130 million for school renovation and construction of 2,000 classrooms in fiscal 2000.
  • Legislature also appropriated $14 million in additional dollars for special education services for children, as well as $6 million for scholarships for undergraduate students committed to teaching careers when they graduate.
  • Lawmakers also funded $50 million aid package for Baltimore city schools in third year of a partnership designed to improve student performance in exchange for greater accountability.

NEBRASKA

Governor: Mike Johanns (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $2.32 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $749.1 million

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $752.72 million

Percent change K-12 budget: -0.48 percent

Estimated enrollment: 290,000

Highlights:

  • Legislature overrode governor's veto to make up $19 million shortfall in state aid to school districts for fiscal 2000. Measure also altered aid-calculation process, which was responsible for shortfall.
  • Lawmakers dropped proposed funding for statewide assessment system for primary and secondary education, but they financed statewide report card and provided money for districts to participate in next round of National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • Legislators replaced regional educational agencies' authority to levy half-cent property tax earmarked for school technology with general-fund appropriation. In fiscal 2000, $3 million will go to the agencies for technology.
  • State budget for fiscal 2001, second year of Nebraska's biennial budgeting cycle, was set at $2.39 billion and K-12 budget at $751.4 million.

NEW MEXICO

Governor: Gary E. Johnson (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $3.33 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $1.55 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $1.47 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +5.4 percent

Estimated enrollment: 330,000

Highlights:

  • Governor called special session in May in effort to pass private-school-voucher program and $25 million income-tax cut; both measures failed in the Democratic-controlled legislature. After threatening not to sign state budget for a third time if it failed to include those priorities, Mr. Johnson approved it on May 13.
  • Budget includes $1.1 million to help with charter school start-up costs. Governor signed two bills to expand state's charter school law. One would permit up to three school districts to convert to charter status; other would lift cap on number of charter schools from five to 100 over five years.
  • Budget includes enough money to provide for 5.25 percent salary hike for teachers and 4.25 percent increase for other school employees statewide. Governor signed measure to establish task force on merit pay to report back with recommendations next year.

OKLAHOMA

Gov. Frank Keating

Governor: Frank Keating (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $5 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $1.77 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $1.74 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +1.7 percent

Estimated enrollment: 628,000

Highlights:

  • Major education reform package--HB 1759--passed by legislature and signed by Gov. Keating toughens graduation requirements for high school diploma to require four years of English and three years each of mathematics, science, and social studies.
  • Reform law allows public school choice, enabling students to transfer between schools without restriction unless the receiving school lacks adequate space.
  • Legislators also voted to allow charter schools in selected school districts--notably districts in Oklahoma County and Tulsa County that have enrollments above 5,000--and set aside $1 million from state's "rainy day" fund to support them.
  • Some education provisions--all-day kindergarten, summer academies for failing students in grades 3-8, and limited college scholarships--will take effect only when Oklahoma's school spending levels reach 90 percent of the average of what states in surrounding region spend.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Governor: William J. Janklow (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $750.85 million

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $286.86 million

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $286.09 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +0.27 percent

Estimated enrollment: 132,400

Highlights:

  • Budget takes $1.1 million from two state horse-racing funds and channels it to state education department for efforts to enhance technology-based K-12 education and underwrite early-child-development programs.
  • Legislature required public schools and libraries to equip computers with filtering software to restrict minors from computer access to obscene materials by Jan. 1, 2001.
  • Lawmakers also revised special education funding for students with severe disabilities. Funding for education of such students--which had been based on average daily enrollment figures--is now based on head-count system.

TEXAS

Governor: George W. Bush (R)

FY 2000-01 biennial state budget: $98.2 billion

FY 2000-01 K-12 budget: $23.36 billion

FY 1998-99 K-12 budget: $19.84 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +17.7 percent

Estimated enrollment: 3.9 million

Highlights:

  • Budget makes up to $1.7 billion available for individual pay raises of $3,000 annually for teachers and school nurses, librarians, and counselors.
  • Spending plan includes $300 million in new aid over biennium to help districts add or expand full-day kindergarten.
  • Gov. Bush won $1.35 billion cut in local school property taxes, a reduction of 6 cents per $100 valuation for average homeowner.
  • As part of governor's proposal to end social promotion of 3rd, 5th, and 8th graders, two-year budget targets $200 million in new funds to help train teachers to identify and assist students with reading problems and other learning deficiencies.
  • Budget adds $150 million for textbooks, bringing that total to $470 million over biennium.

WASHINGTON

Gov. Gary Locke

Governor: Gary Locke (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $10.2 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $4.6 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $4.5 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.2 percent

Estimated enrollment: 990,000

Highlights:

  • Figures represent one year of two-year budget. For fiscal 2000-01, total state budget is $20.6 billion. Two-year K-12 budget is $9.5 billion.
  • After teacher walkouts over salaries, legislature increased teacher pay by $145.7 million in 2000 and $267 million in 2001. Largest raises--around 16 percent over the two years--will go to teachers who are starting out or are early in their careers; 10 percent hike will go to the most senior teachers; other teachers will see average increase of 8 percent.
  • Lawmakers gave schools $2.5 million in fiscal 2000 for security grants, directed toward helping them devise safety plans and pay for alternative schools for disruptive students.
  • Legislature also added $18.3 million for fiscal 2000 to $60 million it spends yearly to help struggling students; $8 million of that increase will go to recruit volunteer reading tutors.
  • Washington will spend $14.5 million to hire additional teachers to provide more individualized instruction to students.

Vol. 18, Issue 42, Pages 17,20

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