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Gov. Ray Mabus of Mississippi has decided not to call a special session of the legislature to consider his recent education-reform package.

Some lawmakers had speculated that Mr. Mabus, who proposed a major overhaul of education programs in the state last month, would call for a special session beginning Dec. 6. (See Education Week, Nov. 1, 1989.)

Instead, the Governor indicated this month that he would await the beginning of the legislature's regular 1990 session in January to give lawmakers more time to study the complex plan.

Mr. Mabus added that he would reconvene legislators next year if they did not approve "substantial" reforms during their regular session.

He denied that his decision to hold off action was due to opposition to his proposal to create a state lottery to pay for roughly a third of the reform package's estimated $500-million cost.

Supporters concede, however, that winning the two-thirds legislative majority needed to place a lottery plan before state voters may face difficulties in the Senate, which has repeatedly voted against the idea in the past.

Citing a shortfall in projected tax revenues, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York has ordered all state agencies to cut their budgets by 2 percent.

Revenues for this fiscal year are running about $277 million below estimates, according to the state budget director.

A spokesman for the education department said last week that it was uncertain which parts of the department's $9-billion budget would be cut.

The spokesman noted, however, that the part of the budget earmarked for local school districts--more than $8 billion--would not be touched.

The money could be excised from other areas of the budget, such as equipment purchases, he added.

The Georgia education department has appealed a state court's ruling requiring it to hold public hearings on all proposed rules and regulations.

The decision, handed down last month by the state court of appeals, affirmed a lower-court decision delivered in August 1988. (See Education Week, Sept. 7, 1988.)

The case now goes to the state supreme court.

If unsuccessful in its appeal, the department would be required to reopen hearings on hundreds of regulations. Included would be many rules implementing the Quality Basic Education Act, the comprehensive school-reform law passed in 1985.

At issue is whether the department falls under the scope of the 1971 Administrative Procedures Act, which requires all state agencies to file proposed rules with the secretary of state's office and to leave adequate time for public comment.

The case was filed by a teacher who had lost her job after receiving low marks on a competency test. The test was required by the department under the q.b.e. Act.

Iowa should provide $12 million in grants next year to help districts buy computers and other electronic instructional aids, the state superintendent has proposed.

Director of Education William L. Lepley included the request in his $1.3-billion budget submitted this month to Gov. Terry E. Branstad.

The program would award matching grants to districts, allowing them to acquire a "fairly broad" array of equipment, said Sharon Slezak, an education department spokesman.

Arizona Business Leaders For Education has announced its opposition to a $5.9-billion education initiative that a coalition of educators and some businesses is trying to place on the November 1990 ballot.

The initiative, proposed by the Arizona Citizens for Education, would raise per-pupil spending by $100 annually for 10 years. Able argues that the measure lacks strong accountability provisions.

Vol. 09, Issue 11

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