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Gov. John H. Sununu of New Hampshire approved a state-spending bill last week that includes $210-million for precollegiate education for the 1987-89 biennium--a 30 percent increase over current funding.

The legislature's appropriation for elementary and secondary education was more generous than the Governor's proposal, which would have increased funding by 22 percent in the next biennium, to $197 million. The budget authorized $2.7 billion in total state spending, a $310-million increase above the current biennium.

The spending bill includes $3.2- million for the Governor's "excellence in education'' program created in 1985, about $1.5 million less than Mr. Sununu requested. Part of the money will be used, as in the current biennium, for programs intended to improve the skills of teachers by instructing them in the use of computers in the classroom. The excellence program received $5 million in the current biennium, part of which was used to develop a curriculum for gifted and talented students.

The school-aid budget for the next biennium also includes:
$64 million in foundation aid to school districts, $16.4 million above current funding.
$14.3 million for building maintenance and construction, a $3.3-million increase above the current level.
$10.3 million for special education, an increase of $6.6 million.
$4.7 million for vocational-education centers, a $1.8-million increase.--A.P.

Gov. Ned McWherter has signed a $6.6-billion budget measure that will provide $1.21 billion in state aid for elementary and secondary education in Tennessee next year, a $41-million increase above the current funding level.

The fiscal 1988 budget includes $26.6 million to raise the minimum salaries of beginning teachers by 4 percent, from $14,760 to $15,350. Mr. McWherter pledged to raise teacher salaries in his election campaign last year, and has said that any available funds the state identifies in the upcoming year would be earmarked for that purpose.

Sydney Owen, a spokesman for the state education department, noted that the additional funds included in the budget would have little impact statewide, because only two or three of Tennessee's 141 school districts pay starting teachers the minimum required by law. The statewide average beginning salary is expected to increase this year from $16,085 to $16,728, she said.

The budget measure will also provide $152 million, the same amount as in the current fiscal year, for Tennessee's "Better Schools Program,'' the package of reforms enacted in 1984.

Of that amount, $89.6 million is earmarked for the state's career-ladder system for teachers, $3 million less than in fiscal 1987. Ms. Owen said the reduced cost reflected more efficient administration of the program.--A.P.

Vol. 06, Issue 36

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