News In Brief
Lawmakers in Kentucky have presented Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson with a three-year, $884-million proposal to reform the state's schools.
A proposed special legislative session devoted to education has been delayed for months due to disagreements between the Governor and lawmakers over the direction of state reform efforts.
Mr. Wilkinson has insisted on a plan that would ensure greater local accountability and establish a network of "benchmark schools." Legislators have pressed for full funding of the reforms enacted in 1985.
Under the new legislative proposal, Mr. Wilkinson's plan would receive first priority during the special session. The legislators also recommended a tax increase to fund existing reforms, a step that the Governor has resisted in the past.
Mr. Wilkinson has declined to comment on the proposal and has not yet set a date for the special session.
The Oklahoma legislature has voted to override Gov. Henry Bellmon's veto of legislation set4p8ting May election dates for local school boards.
Governor Bellmon rejected the measure last month, arguing that the current practice of holding board elections in November encourages more people to vote. Supporters of the bill countered that a spring ballot would allow voters to address only education issues rather than face the wide range of issues on a general-election ballot.
In other action, a House-Senate conference panel has killed a House-passed measure that would allow districts to fire striking teachers.
The Oklahoma Education Association has been threatening to stage a statewide strike in September if lawmakers fail to raise taxes to increase school spending. The legislature's 1989 session ends May 26.
About 1,600 Tennessee teachers recently staged an impromptu march on the capitol to protest the defeat of a bill that would have increased the state sales tax and used part of the additional revenue to boost their pay.
The teachers had gathered in Nashville for the Tennessee Education Association's annual assembly. Union members voted to suspend the meeting in order to deliver en masse letters of protest to the legislature and Gov. Ned R. McWherter.
The bill rejected by the Senate education committee would have raised the sales tax by half a cent. Cavit C. Cheshier, executive secretary of the t.e.a., said the union backed the bill but still considered it a "Band-Aid" that would not ob4viate the need for more basic tax reform.
Florida's lottery dollars do little to boost education funding, according to a study by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
"We're concerned that Florida taxpayers have the perception that the lottery is solving our education-funding problems," said Ted Granger, the group's vice president. "The potential impact of that kind of misinformation could be disastrous for our state."
Backing up educators' contentions, the chamber found lottery profits are being used to replace basic state aid, rather than to enhance special programs as the public was promised when the lottery was adopted in 1987.
The chamber report, released May 1, also found that although state aid to schools has increased since the lottery's inception, education's share of available state revenue has declined.
Vol. 08, Issue 34