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Published in Print: August 2, 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.


DELAWARE

Governor: Thomas R. Carper (D)

FY 2001 state budget: $2.2 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $720.23 million

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $666.70 million

Percent change K-12 budget: + 8.0 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 114,000

Highlights:

  • Budget allots $3.1 million toward implementing new educator-accountability system passed by legislature earlier this year. In part, funds will help create new, three-tiered certification system for teachers.
  • Another $2 million will go for professional development and "skills and knowledge" supplements as required under Educator Accountability Act.
  • Spending plan provides $1.2 million to hire new reading specialists for every school district, to help train teachers in reading instruction and help students firsthand.

IOWA

Governor: Tom Vilsack (D)

FY 2001 state budget: $4.9 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $1.93 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $1.84 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: + 4.9 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 497,000

Highlights:

  • For first time, state government will help local districts pay for school facilities under $50 million grant program to help schools meet fire and health codes over next three years. Districts are required to match state grants up to 50 percent, depending on their ability to raise money locally.
  • In another first for Iowa, lawmakers added $7 million to help districts with secondary school students deemed at risk of school failure. Another $10 million will be added for early-intervention programs and smaller classes.
  • House rejected Senate bill to allow up to five charter schools statewide chartered by local districts, and another five chartered by state. House also killed strict new rules to prohibit 3rd graders more than a year behind in mathematics or reading from promotion to 4th grade.

LOUISIANA

Governor: Mike Foster (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $9.2 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $2.42 billion

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $2.45 billion

Percent change K-12 budget: - 1.2 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 730,000

Highlights:

  • Given budget shortfall in Louisiana, state is seeing a slight decrease in education spending this year.
  • Though Gov. Foster vowed in his 1999 re-election campaign to bring teacher salaries up to Southern regional average, final budget did not contain any money to accomplish that goal. But this fall, voters will consider referendum that would restructure state tax system to produce an estimated $200 million annually in additional revenue, most of which would go for pay raises at public schools and universities.
  • Budget contains $12.3 million for remedial education, summer school, early intervention, testing, and other parts of state's new accountability program, far below roughly $30 million originally requested.
  • Also, budget allocates $14.3 million for K-3 reading and mathematics initiative, short of $19.5 million originally sought by governor.

RHODE ISLAND

Governor: Lincoln Almond (R)

FY 2001 state budget: $3.4 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $665.56 million

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $617.98 million

Percent change K-12 budget: +7.7 percent

Estimated K-12 enrollment: 155,000

Highlights:

  • Budget includes about $4 million to support state intervention and assistance in Rhode Island's largest district, 25,000- student Providence public schools. In allocating funds, legislators joined officials from Providence schools and state education department in signing an "education compact" in which city school leaders accepted responsibility for improving student achievement in exchange for additional state aid.
  • State funding for charter schools rose from $2.5 million annually to $4 million.
  • Efforts to equalize school funding between rich and poor school systems included $7.4 million in additional funds to be distributed to districts based on their local tax effort in support of schools.
  • Lawmakers also agreed to phase out residency rules that have required public school teachers to live in municipalities where they work.

VERMONT

Governor: Howard Dean (D)

FY 2001 state budget: $1.25 billion

FY 2001 K-12 budget: $879.70 million

FY 2000 K-12 budget: $833.66 million

Percent change K-12 budget: + 5.5 percent

Estimated enrollment: 104,000

Highlights:

  • State is in third year of implementing Act 60, which overhauled its school finance structure. This year's budget contained no changes to plan, as it had in years past.
  • Special education funding was a major concern for legislature this year. Budget increases special education spending from $46.8 million to $55.8 million per year.
  • Budget also includes $1.2 million for new measure to contain special education costs by setting up state systems to help districts share information and resources. Annual statewide expenditure targets for special education also have been set for 2002 through 2004. And legislature plans to review system of providing aid to districts for special education.

Vol. 19, Issue 43, Page 28

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