Voters approved major spending items in several states in last week’s elections. Not every education-related issue passed, however. Following are the descriptions for 17 ballot measures that sought to affect school policy. The measures that failed to pass are labeled.
Would remove the current limitation on how much revenue from the state sales tax is allowed to be spent on education.
Would direct earnings from public lands that are above the 2000-01 level to be deposited in the state classroom- site fund, to be used for such things as class-size reduction, teacher raises, and school facility bond debt.
The Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2002 would provide a $13.05 billion general-obligation bond for construction and renovation of public education facilities.
Would increase state grant funds by up to $550 million annually for before- and after-school programs that provide tutoring, homework assistance, and educational enrichment.
Would require that public school children be taught in English in their classrooms, and require that children who were learning English be placed in an English-immersion program that was intended to last one year or less, and that, if successful, would result in placement of such students in regular classrooms. FAILED
Constitutional Amendment 8
Would require the state to offer every 4- year-old in Florida a free, voluntary, and high-quality prekindergarten learning opportunity by the 2005-06 school year. The prekindergarten funding could not be taken from existing school or health funding.
Constitutional Amendment 9
Would require the state to set a maximum classroom size in primary and secondary schools, and provide the funding to meet those levels by 2010.
Constitutional Amendment 11
Would establish that a local 13-member board of trustees administer each state university. A 17- member statewide governing board would coordinate operation of the whole university system.
Would authorize the state to issue revenue bonds to assist private, not-for-profit nonsectarian and sectarian elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities.
Would require that, with limited exceptions, all public school children be placed in English-language classrooms and be taught all subjects in that language. The measure would require public schools to educate English-language learners through a sheltered immersion program, normally not lasting more than one year.
Would reallocate approximately $300 million from tobacco-settlement funds to various health-care programs and efforts to deter tobacco use. That revenue currently funds a college scholarship program for graduating high school seniors. FAILED
Would amend current law to impose an additional tax of 2.75 cents per cigarette (55 cents per pack) and 20 percent on other tobacco products, with the new revenues being placed in a Healthy Families Trust Fund to be used for a variety of social services, including early child care and education. FAILED
Would eliminate wording in the state constitution that says all official government proceedings, including classroom instruction, should be conducted only in English. FAILED
Ballot Question 7
Would amend the state constitution to allow an exemption from the state debt limit for state contracts necessary for the improvement, acquisition, or construction of public elementary and secondary schools. FAILED
Would authorize certain bonds for seismic rehabilitation of public education buildings.
Constitutional Amendment 1
Would lift the state’s constitutional ban on lotteries so that a lottery could begin that likely would fund college scholarships.
Constitutional Amendment 1
Would make changes to the investment of state school money to allow dividends from the State School Fund to be spent on public education rather than being added to the fund’s principal.
A version of this article appeared in the November 13, 2002 edition of Education Week as Education Measures