News In Brief
The Kentucky legislature's Democratic caucus has rejected Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson's recommendation on when to begin spending proceeds from a new state lottery.
Mr. Wilkinson called lawmakers into special session last month to pass legislation implementing the lottery authorized by voters on Nov. 8.
He proposed that the revenues collected from the lottery's April 1989 starting date to July 1990 be equally divided among early-childhood programs, expanded services for the elderly, and a one-time bonus for Vietnam veterans, and that the lawmakers authorize spending as soon as funds become available.
"The bone of contention right now seems to be when to spend the money," said Doug Alexander, the Governor's press secretary. He said that lawmakers appear to favor holding on to the revenues and appropriating them during their 1990 regular session.
The Governor's office has predicted that the lottery will generate $70 million in its first year, $23 million of which would be used to supplement funding for the federal Head Start and the state Parent and Children Education programs.
Mr. Wilkinson also used his address at the opening of the special session to placate lawmakers who were upset by his plan to call a second special session early next year to reconsider an education-reform package that the legislature refused to consider this year.
"I have never claimed to have every good idea," Mr. Wilkinson said. "Nor have I ever said that only my ideas should be considered. We owe it to the children to look at every good idea for improving education in Kentucky."
In a separate development, the Governor announced on Nov. 22 that he would not join legislative leaders in an appeal of a state trial-court ruling that struck down Kentucky school-finance system.
The state supreme court was expected to hear arguments in the case this week.
New Mexico's legislature should slightly modify the state's school-aid formula in order to comply with a 1986 law mandating smaller class sizes in early grades, a study group has told lawmakers.
The Public School Funding Formula Task Force also recommended that the formula be adjusted to provide districts with more aid for at-risk children, and that lawmakers consider adopting a statewide property tax if the need for school revenues grows.
The panel presented its report last month to the legislature's education study committee, which is preparing legislation s session.
The 1986 school-reform law required that class sizes be reduced to 20 pupils in kindergarten and 1st grade by the 1989-90 school year, and in grades 2 through 6 by 1991-92. The study group suggested that the $17.2 million needed to hire new kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers could be generated by increasing the formula's weight factor for students in those grades.
Saying his hands are tied by the Maryland legislature, Gov. William D. Schaefer has turned down a plea to use a portion of the state's $412-million budget surplus for school construction and renovation.
The request had been made by the state's seven largest school districts, most of which face growing enrollments and have schools that were built in the 1960's or earlier. They had sought $50 million of the surplus for new construction and repairs.
Earlier this year, the legislature agreed to spend $60 million for school capital projects over five years, but also required districts to bear a greater share of such costs.
Mr. Schaefer "indicated that he would like to help, but that he does not have any more money beyond the $60 million to give," said Linda Dove, a spokesman for the Governor.
Dennis Heck has conceded his defeat by Judith Billings in the cliffhanger race for Washington State's top education post.
An unofficial vote count last week gave Ms. Billings 831,530 votes to Mr. Heck's 813,784. Election officials said a unexpectedly large number of absentee ballots prevented them from issuing the final vote tally in the contest for state school chief.
In another close contest, Rhode Island officials have announced that a recount of votes in that state's race for governor gave the Republican incumbent, Edward D. DiPrete,203,550 votes to 196,936 for Bruce Sundlun.
Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey was expected last week to sign a bill that would move the state's exit test for high-school graduation from 9th grade to 11th grade.
The measure, which also toughens the examination, was passed by the legislature at Mr. Kean's request.
Under the bill, the test would first be administered to 11th graders in the 1993-94 school year. They would be given three chances to pass it.
In addition, 8th graders would be allowed to take an "early warning'' test beginning in the 1990-91 school year to find out where they might need remediation.
Florida lottery revenues, which are expected to reach $440 million next year, would be used to enhance education programs rather than the state's general-fund budget under a plan endorsed by the executive branch cabinet.
The proposal was offered by the state school chief, Betty Castor. Mr. Martinez rejected a smilar proposal by the cabinet in 1987.
The superintendent also suggested that a portion of the lottery board's $18-million advertising budget be set aside for commercials explaining how much money public schools receive from the lottery, according to David Voss, a spokesman for Ms. Castor.
Educators in Florida and several other states argue that many local school-bond and tax measures have been rejected because voters mistakenly believed that lottery proceeds fully funded education.
Vol. 08, Issue 14