Summary of Gubernatorial Candidate's Positions

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments


Gov. James E. Folsom, Jr. (D)

Governor's "Alabama First" reform program--which died in the legislature this year--calls for more spending on facilities, supplies, and technology; reducing class size; school-based decisionmaking. He says he does not favor raising taxes to pay for reforms, but that if the courts order it the funding should come from local property taxes. Promises that the voters will have to approve any tax increase.

Rob James, Jr. (R)

Former Governor calls for strengthening local school boards' authority; directing resources to failing schools; paying "competitive" teacher salaries; competency testing for new teachers; public school choice; community report cards, and prayer in schools. Despite court orders to improve school quality and equity, says new revenue will not be necessary.


James O. Campbell (R)

Proposes increased vocational-training opportunities for both non-college-bound students and adults. Calls for a "back-to-basics" emphasis and teaching values in schools. Would encourage businesses to establish training centers, as his company did.

Tony Knowles (D)

Pledges to develop a funding formula that promotes equity and requires appropriators to act early enough for schools to prepare their budgets in a timely fashion. Proposes higher graduation standards, tougher standards for new teachers, a mentor-teacher program, and expanded early-childhood programs.


Gov. Fife Symington (R)

Sponsored education-reform bill, approved this year, that calls for creating charter schools, public school choice, and school report cards. Favors a voucher program that would include private schools.

Eddie Basha (D)

Proposes that any "surplus" state revenue go to schools; asking businesses and churches to contribute to schools through "challenge grants." Supports giving the state authority to take over failing schools. Proposes vocational centers that students would attend for part of their school day. Opposes private school vouchers.


Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D)

Supports exit exam for students that is planned for 1997. Proposes creating alternative schools for students who do not succeed in a traditional setting. Launched a program this year that links colleges with school districts to improve teacher preparation. Wants to expand school-to-work programs.

Sheffield Nelson (R)

Supports more flexibility for local school districts, encouraging mentoring programs that involve local businesses. Emphasizes the need for stronger school discipline.


Gov. Pete Wilson (R)

Emphasizes "school violence elimination strategy," which includes a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and guns in schools and trying some juveniles as adults. Has commissioned a school-reform plan from the Education Commission of the States. Vetoed the California Learning Assessment System and wants a testing system that provides individual student scores. Backs ballot initiative that would deny educational and other services to illegal immigrants.

State Treasurer Kathleen Brown (D)

Supports increased school funding. Promises a K-12 master plan setting goals and standards for schools and students. Proposes disciplinary schools for students caught with guns, a cap on districts' administrative spending, and removal of the current limit on the number of charter schools allowed in the state. Opposes immigration initiative.


Gov. Roy Romer (D)

Former chairman of the National Education Goals Panel. Enacted legislation creating a new standards and assessment system for the state, as well as a charter- schools program. Opposed 1992 voucher initiative. Announced a package of juvenile-crime proposals, including reform schools for young offenders.

Bruce Benson (R)

Supported 1992 ballot initiative on private school vouchers, favors a pilot program. Caused a stir by stating in campaign debate that children from welfare families are a major source of classroom disruption.


State Comptroller Bill Curry (D)

Calls for the state to fund a greater percentage of education costs, provide property-tax relief, and equalize spending among districts. Supports expanded preschool and technology programs. Backs public school choice but not vouchers for private schooling.

Lieut. Gov. Eunice S. Groark (CP)

Carrying the flag of A Connecticut Party, founded by Gov. Lowell P. Weicker to back his independent run in 1990, touts his legislation requiring regional desegregation plans. Supports setting state standards for students and schools.

John G. Rowland (R)

Favors public school choice, charter schools, site-based management. Emphasizes deregulation and ending unfunded state mandates.


Gov. Lawton Chiles (D)

Has enacted a reform package giving districts and schools more flexibility, sought increased education funding, and supported the idea of enacting a broad-based tax. Opposes private school vouchers.

Jeb Bush (R)

Proposes a voucher program that would allow parents to use public funds for private schooling if their public school is unable to meet standards defined by local advisory council. Supports charter schools. Would abolish the state education department.


Gov. Zell Miller (D)

Promised in 1990 to campaign for a state lottery, and touts the programs it has funded, such as college scholarships, preschool programs, and school construction; but had to delete $8 million in lottery-funded computer purchases from the budget after critics said the funds were targeted to the districts of key legislators. Aired ads accusing opponent of wanting to eliminate the lottery.

Guy Milner (R)

Opposed creation of state lottery; proposes requiring periodic approval from voters to continue it. Pledges to insure that a higher percentage of state education aid is spent in the classroom, make schools more accountable. His company adopted a DeKalb County high school; he organized camps for at-risk students and personally funded scholarships.


Benjamin J. Cayetano (D)

Former lieutenant governor calls for increasing school spending, expanding preschool programs, improved management of construction projects, restructuring the state's unique single-district school-governance system to increase accountability and decentralize decisionmaking.

Patricia F. Saiki (R)

Former U.S. representative supports decentralized decisionmaking and site-based management, improving coordination of school-construction projects. Backs increased school funding, smaller class size, expanded preschool programs. Proposes a school board appointed by the governor, making the governor accountable for results.


Phil Ratt (R)

Proposes cutting local property taxes and replacing the funds with state revenue. Opposes private school vouchers, but would experiment with privatizing some specialized services. Supports merit pay for teachers. Proposes overhauling juvenile-crime system, putting the department of corrections in charge.

Attorney General Larry Echohawk (D)

Proposes a smaller cut in property taxes, setting "clear, rigorous" standards for students, establishing parent councils in each school, giving schools more flexibility in exchange for public progress reports, using state seed money for innovative schools.


Gov. Jim Edgar (R)

Opposes state tax increases, but proposes a guarantee that schools receive no less than 36 percent of the state's general-fund revenue each year. Has also promised new spending on educational technology.

State Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch (D)

Has based her campaign on a plan to increase school spending and cut local property taxes by raising income taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals. Proposes a technology network, annual audits of each district, and requiring improvement plans from each school.


Gov. Terry E. Branstad (R)

Renewing his 1990 promise to raise teacher salaries. Proposes allowing communities to set the length of the school day, opposes charter schools and infringement of local control of schools. Supports tougher juvenile-crime laws and more authority for school officials to discipline students. Proposes expansion of computer network linking elementary and secondary schools with colleges.

Attorney General Bonnie J. Campbell (D)

Pledges to create an "education-economic" commission, a program that would bring people with "real-life experience" into classrooms to help teachers, and an initiative to replicate successful education methods and ideas. Promises to equip every classroom with a computer.


Bill Graves (R)

Supports setting state performance standards and a system of report cards for schools, while allowing districts to determine how to meet the standards. Opposes private-school-voucher programs; believes public school choice should be a local option.

U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery (D)

Promises to make education his highest budgetary priority. Opposes private-school- voucher programs. Touts sponsorship, as a state representative, of bills setting a minimum teacher salary, providing textbooks to disadvantaged children and regulating school buses.


Joseph E. Brennan (D)

Former Governor supports restructuring the state's school-funding formula to funnel more funds to poor school districts. Calls for expanded partnerships between business and the schools. Pledged to increase school funding with any state revenue that exceeds estimates. Calls for consolidating small school districts.

Susan M. Collins (R)

Supports altering school-funding formula to promote equalization among districts and backs charter schools.

Argus King (I)

Proposes statewide school standards, improved teacher training, experimenting with all-day programs, funding equalization, more school-business partnerships.


Parris N. Glendening (D)

Supports increased school spending and equalization, school-based decisionmaking, public school choice. Proposes expanded preschool, technology, school-to-work programs.

State Rep. Ellen R. Sauerbrey (R)

Proposes 24 percent income-tax cut over four years. Calls for allowing voters in each district to opt for a choice program of open enrollment and state scholarships for children attending a private school. Also supports charter schools and alternative "schools within schools."


Gov. William F. Weld (R)

Advocate of charter schools. Signed education-reform bill in 1993; pushed for tougher curricular requirements, provisions making it easier to fire incompetent teachers. Supported legislation guaranteeing the rights of gay students.

State Rep. Mark Roosevelt (D)

Chairman of legislature's joint education committee and key supporter of 1993 reform bill that set statewide standards, expanded state's public-school-choice program, reduced tenure rights, mandated local school councils, and altered state finance formula to provide a foundation budget and penalize towns for low tax effort.


Gov. John Engler (R)

Supported law that replaced property taxes with sales taxes for funding schools. Backed charter-schools law; strong supporter of choice, including private school vouchers. Angered teachers' union with laws limiting collective-bargaining rights, increasing competition for union pension plan. Supports school report cards, investment in technology, tougher core curriculum. Proposes fining parents of truants.

Howard Wolpe (D)

Former U.S. representative supports performance-based standards for students and schools, strengthening curriculum, deregulation, more spending on educational technology, tougher standards for new teachers. Proposes a cap on school district administrative costs. Pledges to recognize an outstanding student, teacher, or school each month.


Gov. Arne Carlson (R)

Supports statewide academic standards and local flexibility. Has discussed altering finance system to reduce property taxes.

State Sen. John Marty (D)

Proposes funding education through state income taxes rather than property taxes and altering the state aid formula to consider differential costs. Supports increased spending on preschool and school technology, tougher graduation requirements. Proposes saving money and keeping small schools open by sharing school facilities with other community programs.


Gov. Ben Nelson (D)

A former chairman of the National Education Goals Panel, supports state standards and community-based reform efforts. Touts his sponsorship of a lottery that will fund education projects and increased funding for teacher training.

Gene Spence (R)

Proposes a 10 percent income-tax cut, paid for by slicing $80 million from state spending, as well as capping property-tax levies, but also calls for more education spending and higher teacher salaries. Supports boot camps for nonviolent juvenile offenders and tougher penalties for youth crime.


Gov. Bob Miller (D)

Says education has been his number-one budgetary priority and touts improvements in test scores and dropout rates. Has pushed for smaller class sizes and more counselors for elementary schools.

State Rep. Jim Gibbons (R)

Sponsored ballot referendum that would require a two-thirds majority in the legislature to raise taxes, and pledges to veto any property-tax increase. Says education should be the highest budgetary priority. Supports charter schools, expanded apprenticeship programs, boot camps for juvenile offenders. Proposes state evaluation of school performance and parent centers to distribute information on schools.

New Hampshire

Gov. Steve Merrill (R)

Proposes limiting spending disparities by focusing all state aid on the poorest communities and deciding local school-budget issues with referendums; opposes statewide taxes for schools. Supports funding for statewide kindergarten, expanded assessment program, efforts to replicate successful programs. Proposes reducing tenure rights for educators, sponsored parent-involvement campaign.

Wayne D. King (D)

Proposes using a statewide property tax to equalize tax effort and revenue among districts. Supports funding for statewide kindergarten, computers in schools. Calls for considering extension of the school calendar, requiring students to perform community service. Proposes state standards for student performance, annual "town meetings" on education.

New Mexico

Gov. Bruce King (D)

Proposes increased teacher salaries, state standards and performance-based assessment, eliminating state rules that impede systemic reforms. Supports expanded preschool, professional-development, technology, violence-prevention, and parent-involvement programs. Supports linkage between schools and other social-service providers. Opposes private school vouchers.

Gary E. Johnson (R)

Supports expansion of charter schools, preschool, school-to-work, community-service, technology, and after-school-enrichment programs. Calls for improving the state's funding formula, rewarding good teachers and schools, and giving residents more say in school policies.

New York

Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (D)

Claims credit for doubling state education aid during his 11 years in office, pledges to continue working for changes in aid formula to benefit urban areas. Has promised $1 billion in income-tax cuts to counter opponent's tax-cut plan. Has proposed a package of children's initiatives, including expanded funding for immunization, health insurance for poor children, school construction, and schools for disruptive students.

State Sen. George E. Pataki (R)

Proposes to slash state income taxes by 25 percent in four years. Has also proposed diverting lottery revenue from education to property-tax relief. Contends that this can be financed without hurting schools by freezing state spending on everything but education.


Gov. George V. Voinovich (R)

Sponsored SchoolNet, an effort to link schools by computer. Claims credit for increased spending on Head Start and school construction, as well as school-to-work programs, proficiency testing, and funding to decrease disparities between school districts. Supports strengthening these programs, as well as tougher teacher licensing requirements, improved teacher training. Supports state education standards.

Rob Burch (D)

Proposes to achieve school-funding equity and property-tax relief by cutting those levies in half and replacing the funds through whatever form of sales or income tax the voters approve. Calls for a school-facilities program that would raise funds by issuing bonds backed by lottery profits.


Frank Keating (R)

Proposes cutting administrative staff at state education agency and in school districts, barring districts from paying any administrators other than a superintendent or principal more than a master teacher, liberalizing teacher certification, giving tax credits to teachers seeking higher education. Supports public school choice, boot camps for juvenile offenders.

Lt. Gov. Jack Mildren (D)

Proposes "pass or don't play" policy; setting state standards and developing rules that allow more local autonomy. Supports expanding early-childhood and crime-prevention programs, and holding parents accountable for youth crime.

Wes Walkins (I)

Backs higher salaries for veteran teachers, expanded use of telecommunications, expansion of mentoring and school-to-work programs, and site-based management.


John Kitzhaber (D)

Proposes shifting $400 million in lottery revenue to schools, phasing in school-funding-equalization plan by 1997. Says parts of 1991 school-reform bill may have to be delayed due to the impact of a tax-limitation measure. Supports expansion of drug education, anti-violence programs,and investments in technology. Calls for school-business partnerships and integrating education and social services.

Denny Smith (R)

Former U.S. representative proposes increasing state funding for schools and public-safety programs by freezing all other spending. Opposes outcomes-based education reforms; has criticized the 1991 reform act.


Peg Luksik (I)

Leading critic of outcomes-based education. Proposes eliminating state education agency and unfunded state mandates. Backs choice and tuition tax credits but not private school vouchers.

U.S. Rep. Tom Ridge (R)

Favors school choice, charter schools, and private school vouchers. Emphasizeslocal control. Backs initiative that would require voter approval of tax increases.

Lt. Gov. Mark Singel (D)

Proposes a major revamping of the state's school-funding system, under which state would fund teacher salaries and most classroom costs. Supports public school choice and charter schools but not private school vouchers. Calls for increased spending on computers for schools, reduced class size in early grades.

Rhode Island

Lincoln C. Almond (R)

Supports revamping the state's funding formula to achieve greater equity, but opposes the "guaranteed student entitlement," a measure debated in the legislature last year that would have provided property-tax relief by setting a uniform tax rate. Specifically opposes statewide teacher contract and state curriculum mandates.

State Sen. Myrth York (D)

Supported "guaranteed student entitlement." Supports performance standards for students and schools, school-based decisionmaking, expanded professional development for teachers, increased business involvement in education.

South Carolina

David Beasley (R)

Former chairman of the House education committee. Opposes legalized gambling, including the proposed education lottery. Supports private school vouchers. Calls for requiring voter approval of tax increases.

Lt. Gov. Nick Theodore

Proposes a ballot referendum on a state lottery that would help fund education, including scholarships for every child with good grades. Veteran state lawmaker was a key supporter of education-finance revision. Opposes private school vouchers.

South Dakota

Jim Beddow (D)

Supports property-tax reform, increasing state's share of school funding to 40 percent. Opposes use of video-lottery proceeds to fund education and other state programs; suggests that it be devoted to property-tax relief if voters agree to retain the lottery. Supports open enrollment in public schools.

William J.Janklow

Former Governor proposes that the state pay 60 percent of the cost of basic academic programs. Says schools should cut administrative costs. Supports property-tax relief and would devote lottery funds to special projects. Pledges to cut state spending and send the savings to schools and local governments.


Phil Bredesen (D)

Nashville mayor proposes full funding over three years of formula to equalize school funding and tougher state standards for students. Opposes private school vouchers and privatization of schools, although had once suggested that his local school board experiment with private management.

U.S. Rep. Don Sundquist (R)

Pledges to create an education-reform program that would encourage site-based management and provide grants for local initiatives. Calls for expanding teacher training and establishing resource centers, decreasing class sizes, expanding preschool programs, and replicating successful programs.


Gov. Ann W. Richards (D)

During her tenure, legislature adopted court-ordered school-finance reforms that shift property-tax funds from wealthy districts to poor ones, and pared the state education agency's staff and regulations. Supports site-based management, charter schools, public school choice, school-performance reports. Failed to deliver promised increase in teacher salaries.

George W. Bush (R)

Proposes "home rule" districts free of state rules, while still being subject to performance standards. Pledges to veto unfunded mandates, further curb the state education agency's authority, and pump more state funding into the school-finance-equalization program by cutting other programs. Calls for devoting all lottery revenue to schools, boot camps for young offenders.


Gov. Howard Dean (D)

Proposes a school-finance overhaul centered on a statewide minimum property tax. The state would take on more of the school-funding burden; most towns would be guaranteed an annual 3 percent increase in school funds while poor districts could get more. The plan would also reduce the state income tax slightly.

David F. Kelley (R)

Promises to make education his top priority. Proposes charter schools, a voucher plan that would allow high school students to take vocational and college courses, a major expansion of distance learning and educational technology. A new college-aid program would trade loan forgiveness for time spent training K-12 teachers and students to use new technology.


Gov. Tommy G. Thompson (R)

Supported law that caps property taxes and commits the legislature to increasing state educaton funding. Proposes making its spending limits permanent, creating an equity fund to aid poorer districts. Supports public school choice and also the Milwaukee choice program that allows some low-income students to spend public funds at nonsectarian private schools. Supports regulatory waivers.

State Sen. Charles Chvala (D)

Proposes gradually phasing out the use of property taxes to fund education, beginning with a $2.8 billion cut financed by increases in cigarette taxes, real-estate taxes, and income taxes for wealthy individuals. Pledges to increase school-finance equity. Supports public school choice; opposes private-school-voucher programs. Supports regulatory waivers, increased spending on technology.


Jim Geringer (R)

Proposes increased spending on teacher education and educational technology, making schools "community resources" by using facilities for multiple purposes.

Secretary of State Kathy Karpan (D)

Proposes greater use of telecommunications and other educational technology. Pledges to seek more stable school funding by encouraging the growth of small business in a state where a mineral-dependent economy causes tax revenue to fluctuate.

Vol. 14, Issue 09

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories