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Published in Print: July 12, 2000, as Legislative Update

Legislative Update

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Arkansas | Connecticut | Florida | Nebraska | New York | Tennessee

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.


Governor: Mike Huckabee (R)

FY 2000-01 state budget: $ 3.5 billion

FY 2000-01 K-12 budget: $1.66 billion

FY 1999-2000 K-12 budget: $1.61 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: +3.1 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 445,700


  • For fiscal 2001, second year of state's biennial budget, Arkansas has allocated $3.49 billion for overall state spending, $1.66 billion of which is slated for K-12 education.
  • In coming year, state education department will continue phasing in new testing requirements that are part of a comprehensive, standards-based assessment and accountability system authorized by legislature last year.


Governor: John G. Rowland (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $12.3 billion

FY 2001 pre-K-12 budget: $1.84 billion

FY 2000 pre-K-12 budget:$1.77 billion

Percent change pre-K-12 budget: +4 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 555,000


  • Lawmakers failed to act on governor's plan to give parents annual tax credit worth up to $500 to help offset cost of private school tuition.

Gov. John G. Rowland

  • Among revisions to 2001 budget—the second in state's current biennial fiscal cycle—legislature allocated $4 million in improvement funds for high- poverty schools with low scores on state assessments. Another $1 million goes toward summer school and weekend programs for students in economically distressed communities.
  • Budget now includes $20 million for wiring schools for Internet access. State per-pupil aid to charter schools was raised by $500, to $7,000.


Governor:Jeb Bush (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $49.6 billion

FY 2001 pre-K-12 budget: $9.50 billion

FY 2000 pre-K-12 budget: $8.78 billion

Percent change pre-K-12 budget: +8.2 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 2.4 million


  • Budget includes 13 percent increase for a $663 million supplemental fund that schools can use to pay for programs such as after-school instruction, class-size reduction, and tutoring.
  • Education officials estimate that budget increases include enough money to give state's 67 school districts negotiating room to boost teacher salaries by an average of 6 percent statewide— larger than teachers have seen in more than a decade.
  • Governor vetoed legislation that would have significantly limited impact fees paid by buyers of new homes in 15 counties; fees are designed to offset cost of expanding schools or building new ones. Had it been approved, measure would have used state funds to reimburse those counties for lost revenue from impact fees, while preventing additional districts from levying such fees—a provision Mr. Bush called unfair.


Governor: Mike Johanns (R)

FY 2000 state budget: $3.6 billion

FY 2001 pre-K-12 budget: $746.5 million

FY 2000 pre-K-12 budget: $768.7 million

Percent change pre-K-12 budget: -2.9 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 322,000


  • Marrying its tradition of local control with a push for statewide standards, legislature adjusted testing and accountability system it created last year: Districts will be able to choose their own reading and mathematics tests, rather than use state test, but still administer state writing exam. State will adopt locally developed tests it deems most legitimate and offer them as models from which districts statewide can choose.
  • Legislators increased reimbursements for districts' special education expenses, voting to relax state limits on the growth of state spending for such costs.
  • Lawmakers also voted to study how state pays teachers and how it might do that differently, including provisions for merit pay.


Governor: George E. Pataki (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $53.3 billion

FY 2001 pre-K-12 budget: $13.63 billion

FY 2000 pre-K-12 budget: $12.53 billion

Percent change pre-K-12 budget: +8.8 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 2.9 million


  • Budget represents fourth consecutive year state has added record amounts to school spending. Includes increase of $140 million, for total of $225 million, for expansion of prekindergarten education and $140 million overall for reducing class sizes.
  • Building-aid program received additional $228 million, for total of $1.1 billion in coming fiscal year.
  • Another $25 million will pay for incentives to attract and retain teachers, including tuition reimbursements of up to $3,400 a year for prospective teachers who agree to teach in shortage areas; stipends of up to $2,000 a year for teachers earning permanent certification; and summer internships for college students who want classroom experience.
  • Legislature passed and governor signed package of bills to promote safe schools, including measures that make assaults on teachers and teacher assaults on students felonies; incorporate citizenship education into K-12 curricula; and, in some circumstances, require family and criminal courts to notify schools of adjudications involving students.


Governor: Don Sunquist (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $18.2 billion

FY 2001 pre-K-12 budget: $2.89 billion

FY 2000 pre-K-12 budget: $2.52 billion

Percent change pre-K-12 budget: +14 percent

Estimated pre-K-12 enrollment: 967,000


  • Budget for 2000-01 school year includes 3.5 percent pay raise for teachers statewide.
  • Budget contains $99 million in new funding for precollegiate education; $27 million of that money will go toward basic operating aid to school districts.
  • Legislature doubled funding for state's preschool programs for students deemed at risk of school failure, from $3 million to $6 million. Created in 1998, program now serves 600 preschoolers.

Vol. 19, Issue 42, Page 29

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