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Gov. Roy Romer of Colorado has signed a school-finance bill that includes $205 million in new funding for K-12 education but will still result in an overall 4 percent decrease in per-pupil spending.

The finance bill passed both legislative chambers by relatively comfortable margins late last month and was approved by the Governor this month.

Despite concerns about the impact of Amendment 1, a restrictive budget and spending constitutional amendment adopted by voters last fall, the finance issue turned out to be less contentious than in recent years in the legislature. (See Education Week, Feb. 24, 1993.)

Lawmakers were able to come up with the $205 million from other areas of state government to help make up a budget shortfall for the public schools. Because of enrollment increases, however, the final budget will create the overall 4 percent per-pupil spending decrease.

All told, the state will provide $1.3 billion in general funding to K-12 education next year.

The school-finance package was threatened at the last minute by a dispute over an amendment added in the Senate. The Colorado Education Association objected to a reduction-in-force policy that would have allowed school districts to lay off any teacher regardless of seniority. A compromise struck in a conference committee will require districts to lay off first-year teachers first.

New Jersey schools would be prohibited from distributing condoms, under a bill approved by a Senate panel.

The bill, which was approved by the Senate health and human services committee this month, is the second pertaining to sex education that has been working its way through the legislature this spring.

The other bill would require districts to stress sexual abstinence in family-life and sexuality classes. It has passed the Assembly and awaits Senate action.

State and school officials know of no public school district in the state in which condoms are currently being distributed.

Gov. William F. Weld of Massachusetts has unveiled a proposal that would require people who have been on welfare for two years to work, perform community service, or participate in education or training.

The proposal would require recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children to sign a contract with the state outlining steps they will take to become self-sufficient.

A key feature of the proposal is the requirement of participation in a new community-service program--Temporary Employment for Massachusetts Parents--for recipients not employed or in education and training programs after two years. The work might include volunteering in hospitals, churches, or schools.

Parents with preschool or disabled children would be exempted.

Vol. 12, Issue 34

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