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Published in Print: May 17, 2000, as Legislative Update

Legislative Update

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The following is a summary of fiscal 2001 state budgets for schools and highlights of final education-related action in legislatures. The figures for the state budget and for precollegiate education spending include money for state education administration, but not federal, flow-through dollars. Percentage increases are based on rounded numbers, and estimated enrollment reflects the state's projected public school enrollment for 2000-01, unless otherwise noted. Depending on the state, figures may or may not include prekindergarten spending and enrollment.


ARIZONA

Governor: Jane Dee Hull (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $8.8 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $2.86 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.78 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.9 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 859,000

Highlights:

  • For fiscal year starting in July—the second year of state's first biennial budget—education funding is slated to rise by some $80 million, to $2.86 billion. Lawmakers plan to vote in February on a midyear adjustment to fiscal 2001 budget, which Gov. Hull has proposed increasing to $3.03 billion at that time.
  • Governor is expected to call special legislative session this month to revisit education issues—particularly her proposal to raise funding by approximately $445 million with revenue from state sales-tax increase. Ms. Hull wants lawmakers to put initiative on November ballot.
  • Legislature passed bill that, among other provisions, prohibits school districts not in compliance with state financial regulations during either of two previous fiscal years from sponsoring new charter schools. Another bill signed into law requires all teachers to undergo fingerprint background checks when renewing their certification.
  • Law appropriates $1 million for a safe-schools initiative that includes new information clearinghouse, violence-prevention World Web site, and school conflict- mediation program with toll-free telephone hot line.

GEORGIA

Governor: Roy Barnes (D)

FY 2001 state budget: $14.17 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $5.47 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $5.02 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +9.0 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 1.4 million

Highlights:

  • Governor signed comprehensive school improvement law that creates system of school accountability, sets up new $2.77 million accountability office, ends tenure for new teachers, reduces class sizes in early grades, requires more input from parents and community members into school decisions.
  • Legislature increased amount districts receive for ongoing maintenance and operations from $268 per student to $295 per student, for total of $37.2 million.
  • State will spend $30 million from its portion of legal settlement between states and tobacco companies to provide districts with school nurses.

IDAHO

Governor: Dirk Kempthorne (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $2.91 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $1.22 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $1.16 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +5.2 percent

Estimated enrollment: 245,000*

Highlights:

  • Budget increases state reimbursement for school employee salaries to $732.5 million, from $692.6 million.
  • Legislature created a scholarship fund to award $1,000 each to high school students with qualifying grades to attend an Idaho postsecondary school. Law takes effect next January, but is not expected to be funded until state's next budget cycle.
  • Amendment to existing law prohibits any person from possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event. Previous law pertained only to students, and only to concealed weapons.
  • New law requires districts to identify unsafe conditions in schools, and appropriates $10 million from general funds to create a revolving-loan fund allowing districts to borrow money from state for school repairs.

*Reflects enrollment for 1999-2000 school year.


INDIANA

Governor: Frank L. O'Bannon (D)

FY 2001 state budget: $12.18 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $4.2 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $3.99 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +5.7 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 989,000

Highlights:

  • State has set aside $3.9 million in fiscal 2001, second year of its biennial budget, to pay for new diagnostic assessment to detect reading problems among 1st graders.
  • Budget includes $33.2 million for education technology, which will pay for continued development of state's infrastructure for technology and programs to better integrate technology into daily classroom work.
  • For first time, budget includes $1.1 million to support a governor's advisory group to make recommendations on educational standards, assessment, and accountability, as well as to pay for independent evaluation of state's education policies and programs.

KENTUCKY

Governor: Paul E. Patton (D)

FY 2001 state budget: $13.33 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $2.94 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.86 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +2.8 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 624,000

Highlights:

  • Second year of biennial budget appropriates $3.02 billion for education in fiscal 2002, a 2.7 percent increase over fiscal 2001.
  • In a program for pre-K children, legislature set aside 25 percent of state's share of multistate settlement with nation's tobacco companies—or nearly $56 million over two years—to improve quality of child care and health services for state's 257,000 children under age 6.
  • Other significant laws will allow schools to post the Ten Commandments along with other historical documents; require school boards to adopt policies regarding criminal-background checks of volunteers who work with schoolchildren; and mandate that school boards revise codes of student conduct to include appropriate use of cellular phones.
  • Legislature passed only minor elements of $23 million teacher-quality initiative proposed by Gov. Patton that would have overhauled education schools; created incentives for minority candidates to enter teaching; and required middle school teachers to expand their subject-matter knowledge.

MISSOURI

Governor: Mel Carnahan (D)

FY 2001 state budget: $12.33 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $3.56 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $3.28 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +8.5 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 897,000 million

Highlights:

  • For fourth year in a row, Missouri will fully fund its equity-aid formula, spending $1.96 billion in fiscal 2001, up from $1.78 billion in fiscal 2000. Aid is designed to help equalize funding between poor and wealthier districts.
  • Some $6.7 million is set aside for a new reading initiative that will provide $40,000 grants to 800 K-3 schools in which students have poor reading skills.
  • Lawmakers agreed to increase funding for A+ Schools program from $15 million this year to $18 million in fiscal 2001. Money will be used to reward high schools that show improved academic performance and attendance rates, as well as to provide college scholarships for 5,000 selected students who graduate from those schools.

NEW MEXICO

Governor: Gary E. Johnson (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $5.70 billion

FY 2001 pre-K-12 budget: $1.70 billion

FY 2000 pre-K-12 budget: $1.61 billion

Percent change pre-K-12 budget: +5.6 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 311,000

Highlights:

  • Final budget, signed April 12, was reached in a special session after governor vetoed two earlier budgets. It gives public elementary and secondary schools an additional $93 million next year, drawn from revenues generated by growth in state's economy.
  • Spending plan includes $8.5 million for full-day kindergarten. Implementation of full-day programs is voluntary for districts.
  • Budget calls for pay raises of 6.25 percent for teachers, 5 percent for other instructional employees, and 4 percent for other school workers, including administrators. Proposal to base part of teachers' raises on merit died before reaching governor's desk.
  • State will issue $600 million in bonds over next 10 years for school capital-outlay projects, under plan designed to settle lawsuit over state financing of school facilities improvements.
  • Legislators approved an increase from 40 percent to 50 percent in portion of state's annual $22 million in lottery proceeds set aside for full college scholarships for public school students who attend New Mexico state universities.
  • For second year in a row, legislature rejected Gov. Johnson's proposals for a $15 million tax cut over three years and a taxpayer-financed tuition-voucher program

Vol. 19, Issue 36, Page 24

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