Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of final action by legislatures on education-related matters.

Final Action


Governor: John Waihee (D)

FY 1988-89 state budget: $5.2 billion (approved April 1987)
FY 1988-89 K-12 budget: $773.3 million
Addition to K-12 budget: $22.3 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +3 percent


  • Added $5.1 million to education budget to hire an additional 196 special-education teachers and 157 teachers' aides.
  • Also added: $880,488 to continue school "learning centers'' for students with particular talents and interests;$540,105 for the state's distance-learning program; $300,000 for efforts to increase parental involvement in schools; $147,984 for an AIDS-awareness program in high schools; and $50,000 for instruction in the Hawaiian language in middle grades.


Governor: John R. McKernan Jr. (R)

FY 1988-89 state budget: $2.42 billion (approved June 1987)
FY 1988-89 K-12 budget: $774.1 million
Addition to K-12 budget: $23 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +3 percent


  • New school-aid formula sets state's share of school revenues at 56 percent; guarantees districts they will not receive less than 90 percent of amount received the previous year.
    Prohibited all tobacco use by students on school grounds; employees may smoke only in designated areas.
  • Added $10 million to budget to raise teachers' salaries. Will be provided through the funding formula, rather than through a separate block grant as in the past. Also added $1.6 million to continue subsidizing local teacher-certification process.
  • Approved $5 million for school-bus purchases.


Governor: John H. Sununu (R)

FY 1988-89 state budget: $2.7 billion (approved May 1987)
FY 1988-89 K-12 budget: $207 million
Addition to K-12 budget: $1.47 million
Percent change K-12 budget: +0.7 percent


  • Required prospective dropouts to demonstrate competence in reading, writing, mathematics, speaking, and reasoning, but rejected Governor's plan to enforce the new requirement by tying it to the awarding of a driver's license.
  • Provided $250,000 in grants to districts for dropout-prevention programs, and $50,000 for programs to screen potential dropouts.
  • Required state to distribute $6 million in lottery revenues to cities and towns each year. Directed that funds to be used for education, rather than to reduce property taxes.
  • Required department of human services to make available to schools materials on AIDS, and required that the materials stress sexual abstinence.
  • Made it a felony to omit from applications for teacher certification information about past convictions on charges of child physical or sexual abuse or child pornography. Also authorized the revocation of teaching certifications for those convicted of such offenses.


Governor: Tommy R. Thompson (R)

FY 1989 state budget: $5.58 billion
FY 1989 K-12 budget: $1.59 billion
FY 1988 K-12 budget: $1.50 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +6 percent


  • Passed a $240-million plan to curb local property taxes by increasing state aid to schools and other programs.
  • Imposed cost controls on districts and local governments; provision will expire in four years.
  • Revised school-aid formula to include count of 4-year-olds enrolled in kindergarten.
  • Earmarked $75,000 to develop a "Marshall plan'' for improving Milwaukee's public schools. Defeated bills that would have: created an autonomous, primarily black district within the city; allowed the city's most disadvantaged families to send their children to the public or private school of their choice.
  • Passed a measure banning corporal punishment in public schools.
    Strengthened laws mandating school attendance until age 18; approved a bill to suspend driver's licenses of chronic truants; postponed until fall sanctions under the state's "learnfare'' program that would cut welfare benefits to families of habitual truants.
  • Reduced retirement age for local government and school employees, from 65 to 62.

Vol. 07, Issue 32

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