Education

Capitol Recap

June 19, 2002 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The following offers education-related highlights of the recent legislative sessions. The enrollment figures are based on estimated fall 2001 data reported by the National Center for Education Statistics for prekindergarten through 12th grade in public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending include money for state education administration, but not federal, flow-through dollars, unless otherwise noted.

Iowa | New Mexico

Iowa

Salary Funds Remain
After Deep Budget Cuts

It took two special sessions and intensive negotiations between Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack and the Republican-dominated state legislature to address the Hawkeye State’s multimillion-dollar shortfall in the current fiscal year, as well as for the 2002-03 budget.

Gov. Tom Vilsack

Democrat
Senate:
21 Democrats
29 Republicans

House:
44 Democrats
29 Republicans

Enrollment:
491,000

To balance the 2001-02 budget, Iowa legislators and the governor pulled about $219 million from economic-emergency funds, cash reserves, and other miscellaneous funding. Every state agency had to contend with an average 6 percent budget cut to make up for a $300 million decrease in state revenues before the 2001-02 fiscal year even began.

The department of education closed its offices for two half-days earlier this month to cope with cuts to its $5 million budget.

The economic picture isn’t any brighter for the 2002-03 fiscal year, as lawmakers grappled with a projected $220 million shortfall. Still, legislators managed to protect per-pupil funding for school districts in the state’s $2.2 billion budget for K-12 education. The portion of the budget that covers per-student funding to school districts increased by $59 million, or 1 percent, over fiscal 2002 to $1.7 billion.

The full $40 million set aside for Iowa’s ambitious teacher-quality initiative—which hinges on a salary plan that pays teachers based on their work performance and student achievement— survived the tight budget situation. This year all Iowa districts must participate in the new salary schedule and mentoring programs for new teachers. About $30 million for class-size reduction was left untouched as well.

“That we got any increase in funding for schools is good news,” said Kathi Slaughter, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education.

Yet not every portion of the education budget was spared the budget ax. Technology, school-to-work programs, the state’s involvement in the federal AmeriCorps program, and vocational education were among the fiscal victims.

The legislature completely eliminated the K-12 technology budget, to the tune of $5.7 million. But school districts can tap their class-size-reduction funds to make up some of the difference. Lawmakers also wiped out all of the roughly $185,000 in funding for school-to-work programs, about $142,000 for AmeriCorps after-school programs, and $80,000 for youth vocational organizations.

Iowa also passed its first charter school law. Under the statute, Iowa can now establish 10 pilot charter schools. Local districts would charter the schools, which could grow out of current programs or be new schools. All charter schools must be approved by the state board of education, under the law.

—Karla Scoon Reid

New Mexico

Overriding Third Veto,
Legislature Passes Budget

In an extraordinary move, the New Mexico legislature voted to override Gov. Gary Johnson’s third veto of its $3.9 billion budget bill in a special session May 24.

Under the fiscal 2003 budget passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature, schools would get $1.66 billion, which means spending on public education will increase $2.6 million, or less than 1 percent, over current levels.

In vetoing the bill for the third time, the Republican governor had called it financially irresponsible, and said it would underfund state agencies.

Gov. Gary E. Johnson

Republican
Senate:
24 Democrats
18 Republicans

House:
42 Democrats
28 Republicans

Enrollment:
316,000

“I made a promise to New Mexicans when I was first elected to this office over seven and a half years ago that I would never leave the state in worse fiscal shape than when I took office,” Gov. Johnson said in a statement at the time of the May 24 veto. “I have not and will not sign a budget that constitutes a step toward a future tax increase.”

The state faced a possible government shutdown July 1 if a budget had not been passed. The Senate voted 36- 4, and the House voted 62-7, to override the third and final veto.

The New Mexico Education Association called the budget bare-bones and pointed out that it provided for no increase for teacher pay or health-insurance costs.

In other news, Gov. Johnson vetoed a bill in March that would have created an Indian education division within the New Mexico Department of Education to handle Native American education issues. He argued that such matters are already adequately handled within the department.

Also, he vetoed a bill that would have divided the Albuquerque schools into three separate districts. He opposed the bill because the start-up costs to create three new districts from the 85,000-student Albuquerque school system would have been too high. If any of the three districts had included a smaller commercial tax base than the others, he added, homeowners likely would have to make up the difference in order to equalize funding.

—Lisa Fine

A version of this article appeared in the June 19, 2002 edition of Education Week as Capitol Recap

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
Education Opinion The Top 10 Rick Hess Straight Up Columns of 2022
NAEP, pre-K, who decides what gets taught. Those are among the most popular or impactful posts of the year.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty