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Published in Print: August 4, 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.

ALASKA

Governor: Tony Knowles (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $2.27 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $762.28 million

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $752.02 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +1.4 percent

Estimated enrollment: 133,400

Highlights:

  • Education spending went up slightly despite a statewide budget crunch stemming from low oil prices. State's general operating budget for fiscal 2000 is approximately $66 million less than it was in fiscal 1999.
  • Facing $1 billion budget deficit, governor has proposed balanced-budget plan that hinges on September ballot initiative that would allow lawmakers to tap part of state's permanent fund to balance budget. Alaska's $25 billion permanent fund, set up in 1977 with excess state oil revenues, provides annual dividend checks for all residents. Education spending would not be affected by initiative vote.

COLORADO

Gov. Bill Owens

Governor: Bill Owens (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $5.1 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $1.97 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $1.85 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +6.5 percent

Estimated enrollment: 700,000

Highlights:

  • Despite passing $490 million package of tax cuts, legislature fully funded state's school finance formula, plus 2.5 percent for inflation.
  • Beginning in 2000-01 school year, charter schools will get at least 95 percent of district per-pupil revenues for each child enrolled, up from 80 percent guaranteed under current law.
  • Some lawmakers have called for a special session to deal with gun issues in the wake of Columbine High School massacre. One proposal would allow prosecution of anyone who buys guns for criminals or minors.

DELAWARE

Governor: Thomas R. Carper (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $2.12 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $666.70 million

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $637.51 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +4.6 percent

Estimated enrollment: 114,000

Highlights:

  • Legislature plans to meet in special session this month to consider a state bond issue for construction projects, including school construction.
  • In September, another special session will consider a broad-based accountability plan proposed by Gov. Carper, which includes a $10.8 million plan to boost teacher salaries in the state, particularly for beginning teachers.

HAWAII

Gov. Benjamin J. Cayetano

Governor: Benjamin J. Cayetano (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $3.06 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $824.89 million

FY 1999 K-12 budget:

$784.92 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +5.1 percent

Estimated enrollment: 187,400

Highlights:

  • Fiscal 2000 budget includes $32.6 million for school mental-health services, part of which responds to so-called Felix consent decree. That decree followed 1993 federal lawsuit that found disabled children were not receiving appropriate educational and mental-health services in Hawaii.
  • Legislature approved bill creating new Century Charter Schools. Program allows up to 25 schools statewide--or a combination of programs from existing schools--to operate as independent schools with governance through their own local boards. Two Hawaii schools, which had been operating as "student centered" schools, are now operating under the new law. Final law is scaled-back version of what Gov. Cayetano originally proposed.

LOUISIANA

Governor: Mike Foster (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $9.15 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.45 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $2.46 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: -0.4 percent

Estimated enrollment: 751,800

Highlights:

  • Governor's office says there is $119.3 million in new funding for K-12 reform initiatives in new fiscal year that is not reflected in Education Week comparison of K-12 budgets for fiscal 1999 and fiscal 2000. Certain items that were funded through the K-12 budget in the past--for example, educational technology and vocational education--will be funded through other budget areas in fiscal 2000. For that reason, the governor's office says, the apparent drop in K-12 funding is misleading.
  • Fiscal 2000 budget includes $20 million for K-3 reading and mathematics initiative that has received total of $70 million since 1996. In addition, $17.5 million of education budget is set aside for school accountability, testing, and remediation efforts.
  • State will use $14.4 million in surplus funds to pay for educational technology, a drop from $25 million last year.
  • Budget includes $81.3 million for state's Tuition Opportunity Program for Students, which provides financial aid to students attending in-state public and private colleges and universities. State officials project that 36,000 students will participate in TOPS program in fiscal 2000.
  • For the first time, legislators set aside $1.2 million to send "distinguished educators" into some of Louisiana's lowest-performing schools.

MISSOURI

Governor: Mel Carnahan (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $16.6 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $3.28 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $3.17 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +3.5 percent

Estimated enrollment: 893,050

Highlights:

  • State will spend $1.1 million to finish connecting all Missouri school districts to Internet in fiscal 2000. Some 125 of state's 525 districts have yet to be wired.
  • Lawmakers authorized spending $18 million on state's early-child-care program, which is expected to reach 74,000 children under the age of 5.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Governor: Jeanne Shaheen (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $1.85 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $880.44 million

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $114.72 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +667.5 percent

Estimated enrollment: 205,000

Highlights:

  • State's biennial K-12 budget for fiscal 2000 and 2001 is first under state's newly revamped school finance system, which emphasizes state rather than local contribution to school spending. For that reason, budget reflects huge jump in state spending on schools.
  • Spending plan for fiscal 2000 includes $825 million that legislators agreed is needed to pay for an adequate public education as part of new system. So far, legislators have agreed to use e xisting revenues and new taxes to pay for $725 million of that new obligation; they are to decide this fall how to make up remaining $100 million. Legislators have budgeted $883 million for K-12 education in fiscal 2001.
  • Budget contains $1.39 million for fiscal 2000 and $2.1 million for fiscal 2001 for Best Schools Leadership Institute, new program in which school administrators, teachers, parents, and community members meet in teams to plan and carry out strategies to improve student achievement. Teams from 80 districts will be chosen to attend statewide seminar on school improvement and receive support to draw up plans for their schools in fiscal 2000.

TENNESSEE

Gov. Don Sundquist

Governor: Don Sundquist (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $6.69 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.49 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $2.41 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +3.3 percent

Estimated enrollment: 906,000

Highlights:

  • For fiscal 2000, legislature provided $66 million for Basic Education Program, state's foundation-funding formula for schools. State provided same amount in fiscal 1999.
  • Legislature also allotted $5.6 million for Safe Schools Act. Districts may use money from that program for a variety of security measures.

UTAH

Governor: Michael O. Leavitt (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $6.69 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.13 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $2.08 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.23 percent

Estimated enrollment: 479,000

Highlights:

  • Governor signed bill that creates $5.2 million program designed to ensure that children can read at grade level by end of 3rd grade. Students who are behind grade level will receive extra 30 days of specialized reading instruction in small classrooms.
  • Governor also signed bill requiring students to pass basic-skills proficiency test before graduation. He also signed measure that strengthens standards for teacher evaluation and development.

WYOMING

Governor: Jim Geringer (R)

FY 1999-2000 state budget: $1.06 billion

FY 1999-2000 K-12 budget: $726.03 million

FY 1997-1998 K-12 budget: $633 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +14.7 percent

Estimated enrollment: 97,000

Highlights:

  • State is in second year of fiscal 1999-2000 biennial budget.
  • As part of new funding formula, districts will receive up to 100 percent reimbursement for money spent on special education. In years past, state provided only 85 percent reimbursement.
  • State will provide small schools with a block grant to provide extra money for student activities.

Vol. 18, Issue 43, Pages 26-27

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