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Published in Print: September 8, 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.

NEW JERSEY

Gov. Christine Todd Whitman

Governor: Christine Todd Whitman (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $19.52 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $6.1 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $5.94 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.7

Estimated enrollment: 1.2 million

Highlights:

Formula-driven state aid to K-12 schools climbs by $380 million, or 7.8 percent, to $5.22 billion. Increase is offset by reductions of $220 million in other state aid, including $32 million cut in funding for school construction and renovation.

Budget adds $35 million in first-time stabilization funds for schools that have grown rapidly in past six years.

Special education spending increases by $44 million, or 6.9 percent, over last year to $682 million.

Early-childhood aid increases by $10 million, or 3.4 percent, to $313 million, to help pay for preschool and all-day-kindergarten programs.

Budget includes $37 million in first-time supplemental state aid for the 30 urban districts covered by funding-equalization court order.


NORTH CAROLINA

Governor: James B. Hunt Jr. (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $13.06 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $5.56 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $5.07 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +9.75 percent

Estimated enrollment: 1.24 million

Highlights:

First year of $11.1 billion biennial budget includes $140 million in bonuses under state's accountability law, which provides up to $1,500 each for employees in schools that meet or exceed expectations on state tests. Some $20 million of that money, however, is earmarked for bonuses awarded in fiscal 1999.

Spending plan allocates $239 million in fiscal 2000 for third year of four- year plan to raise teacher salaries to the national average. That 7.5 percent increase pushes state average to $36,441, about $4,000 less than national figure.

Under new law to end social promotion in 2000-01, $20.6 million will go this fiscal year toward remediation programs to help students meet standards at each grade level.


OHIO

Governor: Bob Taft (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $20.59 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $6.49 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $6.07 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +6.9 percent

Estimated enrollment: 1.85 million

Highlights:

Biennial education budget for fiscal 2000 and 2001 marks first time Ohio has adopted special two-year budget solely for education. It increases per-pupil spending by more than $240, to $4,502 in fiscal 2000, and fully funds state's new education spending formula more than a year ahead of schedule laid out last year.

Tapping into state surplus, legislature approved $500 million for school construction in each year of biennium.

Lawmakers agreed to allocate $30 million in each year of fiscal 2000-01 biennium for governor's OhioReads program, designed to improve reading skills for pupils in grades K-4. Program seeks to involve thousands of volunteers and will provide $20 million for classroom reading grants and $5 million each for community reading grants and volunteer coordination.


PENNSYLVANIA

Governor: Tom Ridge (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $36.69 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $5.83 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $5.61 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +3.9 percent

Estimated enrollment: 1.8 million

Highlights:

Budget raises basic state subsidy for K-12 education by 3 percent, to $3.7 billion, for an increase of $107 million.

State aid for school-violence-prevention program increases from $1 million last year to $22 million.

Legislature rejected governor's plan to allocate $63.6 million to give private school vouchers to students in low-achieving schools.

Governor won approval of one-year, $34.2 million extension of Link to Learn school technology program, which was slated to be phased out this year.

Budget includes $35 million in first-time funding for Read to Succeed literacy program for students in grades K-3.


RHODE ISLAND

Gov. Lincoln C. Almond

Governor: Lincoln C. Almond (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $2.20 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $614.03 million

FY 1999 final K-12 budget: $565.03 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +9 percent

Estimated enrollment: 154,000

Highlights:

Budget includes total increase from about $41 million to $66 million for two aid categories aimed at narrowing gap in financial resources between rich and poor districts. This represents largest single portion of education budget's overall increase.

Lawmakers included some $2.5 million in new funding for charter schools. Although Rhode Island passed legislation allowing for charter schools in 1995, until now the state has not allocated money specifically to support them.

Legislature rejected Gov. Almond's proposal to put additional increases in state lottery revenues into fund to pay for school renovation and expansion.


SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor: Jim Hodges (D)

FY 2000 state budget: $4.94 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.20 billion

FY 1999 K-12 budget: $2.00 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +10 percent

Estimated enrollment: 644,500

Highlights:

Budget includes $250 million for K-12 school construction, part of four- year, $750 million plan to build and renovate K-12 facilities.

Spending plan allocates $20 million for new grant program to help counties prepare preschool children for school.

Some $1 million is set aside for Principals' Executive Institute held at University of South Carolina, a new, yearlong training program aimed at helping 60 principals a year improve their leadership skills.

Vol. 19, Issue 1, Page 18

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