State of the States
State of the States
Here are summaries of recent annual addresses by governors around the country.
GOV. JOHN E. BALDACCI (R) • MARCH 10
Gov. Baldacci unveiled a planned expansion of the state’s pioneering laptop program to ensure that all students in grades 7-12 have laptop computers in school, and that those computers are equipped with software that families can use for career information.
State officials are negotiating a lease with Apple Inc. for 100,000 laptops—enough for all public school students and staff members in that grade span—at a price tag of $25 million a year. Currently, all 7th and 8th graders and students in about 30 of 100 public high schools have laptops.
Gov. Baldacci also told lawmakers in his annual address that the state should continue its push to streamline the administration of K-12 schools. “The way forward—the way to protect local schools and resources for the classroom—is to stop wasting money on unnecessary bureaucracies and administrations,” he said.
GOV. BEVERLY PERDUE (D) • MARCH 9
Gov. Perdue pledged in her first State of the State address that, even in tough times, the state “will increase per-pupil spending in our public schools,” while warning that she and the legislature would have to make “hard, painful decisions” on the budget.
The new governor’s pledge to increase per-pupil spending surprised many legislators, who questioned how she would make such a move when the state government faces a projected $3.6 billion spending gap entering next year. Her office has said the state could receive at least $1.4 billion in federal stimulus aid for education in the next two years.
North Carolina spent $12 billion in federal, state, and local funds, or $8,522 per pupil, during the 2007-08 school year, according to the most recent data from the state education department. The state portion of the per-pupil spending was $5,616 last year.
In her speech, the governor also called for school testing reform and for getting the business community involved in training workers. And she said she wanted to expand a college-affordability program to help children as early as 5th grade with the pledge of a debt-free college education. —A.P.
Vol. 28, Issue 25, Page 14