Legislative Update

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The following are summaries of governors' budget requests for schools and highlights of proposals on the state education agendas. Budget totals for K-12 education include money for state education administration, but do not include federal flow-through dollars.


Jane Dee Hull (R)

FY 1999 proposed state budget:
$5.7 billion
FY 1999 proposed K-12 budget:
$2.2 billion
FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.1 billion
Percent change K-12 budget:
+5.7 percent
Estimated enrollment:


  • Governor proposes $125 million to go toward solving state's capital-finance crisis. Proposed sum is considered a starting point to close gap between rich and poor districts. State supreme court ruled current school finance system unconstitutional in 1994.
  • Budget includes proposal to change finance formula so that more dollars flow to early-childhood education. If change is approved, early-childhood programs would receive additional $30.6 million for 1999. Districts and charter schools could use the extra dollars to lower class sizes, improve classroom technology, or target teacher training in grades K-4.
  • Budget includes $6.2 million to devise statewide student-achievement test and new graduation test.


Paul Cellucci (R)

FY 1999 proposed state budget:
$19.1 billion
FY 1999 proposed K-12 budget:
$3.2 billion
FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$2.9 billion
Percent change K-12 budget:
+13 percent
Estimated enrollment:


  • Budget includes $269 million to fully fund sixth year of state's Education Reform Act and would require that 90 percent of reform dollars be spent on classroom resources.
  • Plan calls for $15 million to reimburse districts for tuition for students in charter schools.
  • Governor seeks $800,000 for teen-dating violence-prevention program and $200,000 for professional-development programs for teachers.
  • Budget allots $40 million to hire new teachers
  • Budget also includes $2 million for audits of local school spending.
  • Governor would set aside $25 million for school construction projects and $8 million for after-school programs in 15 neighborhoods.
  • Proposal also includes $300 million to provide health coverage for poor children.


George E. Pataki (R)

FY 1999-2000 proposed biennial state budget:
$36.2 billion
FY 1999-2000 proposed biennial K-12 budget:
$11.5 billion
FY 1997-1998 K-12 biennial budget:
$10.9 billion
Percent change K-12 budget:
4.8 percent
Estimated enrollment:
2.8 million


  • With projected $1.8 billion budget surplus, governor proposes increasing state aid to districts by $518 million, to nearly $11.5 billion.
  • Funding for local facilities projects would rise by $151 million, to $908 million.
  • Budget sets aside $50 million for expanded preschool; $14.4 million for full-day kindergarten; and $1 million to help plan after-school programs.
  • Governor's proposal also includes $9 million for computers and other educational technology and $5 million more for textbooks.
  • Governor wants to help districts lower class sizes in grades K-3 to no more than 20 students, starting with $75 million in 1999-2000 and rising to $225 million by 2001-02.
  • Also kicking off in 1999 would be $45 million program to underwrite summer school for low-scoring 4th graders and another $20 million for English-immersion classes over summer.
  • Mr. Pataki also plans to push bill authorizing state's first charter schools, following unsuccessful effort last year to win passage of the bill.


Ben Nelson (D)

FY 1999 proposed state budget:
$2.1 billion
FY 1999 proposed K-12 budget:
$724.3 million
FY 1998 K-12 budget:
$594.2 million
Percent change K-12 budget:
Estimated enrollment:


  • In light of new school finance formula that adds $110 million to state aid to districts this year, governor proposes 2.5 percent annual growth limit on school district and other local government spending.
  • Budget earmarks $5.5 million in state money to provide health insurance for low-income children.
  • Budget includes $521,000 to allow Nebraska State Patrol to continue Drug and Alcohol Resistance, or DARE, program.

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