News In Brief

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The Republican-majority New Jersey legislature last week voted to override Gov. James J. Florio's veto of a bill rolling back the state sales tax from 7 cents to 6 cents.

The General Assembly overcame the Governor's objections to the tax rollback by a vote of 59 to 12. In the Senate, the override vote was 29 to 2.

In vetoing the measure, Mr. Florio had cited the Republican leadership's unwillingness to say in advance how it would cut spending or raise other funding to make up the $1 billion in revenue the 1-cent rollback was expected to cost the state.

The Democratic Governor, whose party lost control of the legislature last fall in the wake of a tax increase, has indicated he will work with lawmakers as long as they are willing to meet some of his funding requests, such as an increase in education aid.

The Illinois House has passed a bill that would allow school districts to carve military installations out of their boundaries.

The bill is intended to force the federal government either to increase its payments to districts that educate militarily connected students or to establish schools on the bases with full federal funding. (See Education Week, April 22, 1992.)

Officials from three suburban Chicago districts say their federal impact-aid payments cover only about one-third of educational costs.

Two districts in downstate Illinois also would be affected by the bill.

The Missouri legislature has adjourned without revising the state's school-finance formula, increasing the likelihood that any change in the current system will come about as the result of lawsuits pending in state courts.

"We have accelerated to an impasse,'' Senator Harold L. Caskey, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, told reporters this month.

Despite last-minute efforts to reconcile funding measures passed by both chambers of the legislature, lawmakers were unable to agree on a bill to send to Gov. John Ashcroft.

Scores of districts have challenged the existing funding formula in court; a trial is scheduled for September.

New Hampshire will limit local districts' liability for the cost of educating disabled students, under a bill signed into law this month by Gov. Judd Gregg.

The measure requires districts to spend up to 3.5 times the state's average annual per-pupil expenditure, plus 20 percent of further costs up to 10 times the average.

The state will foot the remaining costs, including those that exceed 10 times the average expenditure.

Massachusetts teachers could stage a statewide strike and other actions if the state fails to come up with an acceptable education-funding plan, the state's largest teachers' union has warned.

Frustrated by the legislature's failure after 16 months of debate to produce an education-reform bill, the Massachusetts Teachers Association voted at its annual meeting of delegates this month to take "whatever action is necessary to achieve equity, excellence, and achievement'' for public-school students.

Vol. 11, Issue 36, Page 13

Published in Print: May 27, 1992, as News In Brief
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