Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors' budget requests for precollegiate education and final action by legislatures on education-related matters.


Governor: Joan Finney (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $3.35 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.545 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.655 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +7.1 percent


  • Legislature approved a pilot program that will allow as many as 15 state-regulated charter schools to open across the state.
  • State will pay 90 percent of the share of districts' costs for special-education students that exceed regular per-pupil expenditures, up from 82 percent.


Governor: Ned McWherter (D)

FY 1995 state budget: $12.570 billion
FY 1995 K-12 budget: $1.834 billion
FY 1994 K-12 budget: $1.759 billion
Percent change K-12 budget: +4.3 percent


  • Budget figures do not include a 4 percent raise for state employees, including teachers, that was contingent on sufficient state revenues. The raise brings the average teacher salary to just over $32,000.
  • Since the 21st Century Schools program was adopted in 1992, education funding has risen from 52 percent to 55 percent of the state's general-fund expenditures, for a total increase of $560 million.
  • Under a new law, judges may fine parents or guardians $50 or require them to perform five hours of community service when children in kindergarten through 6th grade miss five or more school days without an excuse.
  • Legislature also enacted a law requiring parents teaching high-school-age children at home to have a high school diploma or equivalency diploma. The children must take achievement tests.
  • Another new law bars students from carrying weapons to school.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 1995, gubernatorial appointments to the state school board must alternate between female and male members until the proportion on the 12-member board matches that of the general population. The new law also applies to the state's Board of Regents, Board of Trust, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Vol. 14, Issue 10

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